by Laila Datoo
We all experience different levels of mental health during our life. As we spend so much of our day at work, it's inevitable that work can affect our mental health - with statistics showing three out of five employees have experienced mental health issues where work was a contributing factor.* In events, this number increases – with the events profession being cited as the fifth most stressful industry to work in.**
Why? The pressure we face in events is likened to that of emergency services, with high pressure situations, tight deadlines, demands for precision and outstanding quality, and tight budgets.
So how can we create a culture of wellbeing to our events, creating mindful moments and keeping our stress levels running low while our adrenaline is running high?
Our mindful tips
Here are some top tips and in true event-planning fashion, it starts long before the event. In the run up to the event, there are many ways we neglect our physical and emotional health in the name of pre-event madness - thinking we can cope. Then on-site a lack of sleep, poor nutrition and increased stress levels compounds the physical stress. The best way we can look after our wellbeing on-site is to create good habits before we go.
1. Keep your routine in place
Before the event, maintain a regular routine - eat well, leave the office at a decent hour as much as possible, and don’t neglect that yoga or gym class you love that keeps you sane. All of these habits will mean you arrive at the event well rested, with good energy levels and a positive mental state. So you’re going in strong!
And when you’re on-site, hold on to as many of your regular good habits as possible – eating well and regularly, getting out for a walk or a run or doing some yoga or stretching in your hotel room.
2. Create an event wellness plan
Just like you create an event plan, make a wellbeing plan with your on-site team. Regular check ins that everyone is okay, taking breaks and eating properly as well as starting your morning meeting with a mindful moment will have a powerful effect on how you perform on-site. You’re there to support each other so check in with them – do they need help/water/a break? And they will do the same for you!
3. Have a mental health first aider on site
If you have a trained MHFA in the business, it’s ideal to have them at the event. If this isn’t possible, you can pair people up as wellness buddies to keep an eye on each other.
There are now mental health first aiding training courses available for employees to better equip themselves with the skills to support themselves and their colleagues in challenging times.
4. Find time for small pauses
Stepping outside the event space for few minutes to take three deep breaths or calling a loved one can boost your mood and clear your mind.
You can use a grounding tool, such as the one on NHS website, to focus your mind on your five senses, allowing you to connect with your breath and body. This exercise takes no more than five minutes.
5. Nourish your body
We know how easy it is to snack constantly at events when there is so much sugary goodness available. Make the intention to eat well on-site, with small regular meals and as much water as possible.
Sleep is also key as early starts and late finishes are part of event operations. Can you grab a power nap in the gaps - after the event and before a networking dinner?
6. Celebrate the successes
Recognising the hard work of your colleagues and teams can boost morale and motivation. When employees feel valued and rewarded, they work harder and are more loyal. It doesn’t need to be an established reward scheme or a monthly prize – a team well done email, offering to get a colleague a coffee, or taking the team out for lunch when you’re back in the office can go a long way in making someone feel ‘seen’.
7. Be aware of your choices
How will that make you feel? Will it help you feel calmer / refreshed/ brighter? And breathe. Taking a few minutes to breathe will reset, reframe and refocus your mind and allow you to approach any last-minute hiccup with confidence.
Being on-site is the culmination of months of hard work and can be so rewarding. By approaching it with a positive mindset and some good habits, you can enjoy the experience and not spend it overworked and overwhelmed.
*Taken from the "2017 Mental Health at Work Report" commissioned by Business in the Community & YouGov.
**2017 & 2018 Career Cast survey.