We’re living in an era where the average person likes to eat smarter, live cleaner and exercise more so they can enjoy the benefits of a healthier life. On a day-to-day basis, people are becoming more aware of the benefits of wellness, but usually only when they have the time and, most importantly, are not surrounded by hundreds of delegates and a team of stressed clients. Experienced event industry folk will know the physical and mental toll that managing events can take; the long hours, the stressful moments and the unhealthy eating choices late at night when room service is your only real option. All of this adds up and can lead to high levels of fatigue, stress, tiredness and even, in the long-run, illness.
With the rapid growth of apps, gadgets and technology designed to continually help us monitor and improve our wellbeing, it has become a given that a healthy lifestyle can be implemented, maintained and measured from the click of a button or the power of the mind. Exercise is not only important for your body’s health, it also helps your brain stay sharp, awake and alert throughout the day. Research shows that exercising for as little as 20 minutes every day facilitates more efficient information processing and better memory functionality. Exercise not only spikes the brain but prepares you for the mental stresses of every day, producing better reactions to complex situations.
Once we step foot onto an aircraft to our event destination, we essentially become luggage and I think it’s safe to say we all have that feeling during or after a long-haul flight to either eat junk food or sugary carbs, have an alcoholic drink, sleep for hours on end or catch up on work. We actually never consider other alternatives on how to help rapid recovery from being thrown through the air in a big steel cannister. Recovery periods, resting in the hotel or relaxing by strolling around your destination is advantageous, as is drinking plenty of water throughout your flight and after landing (keeping hydrated is crucial). Any rigorous exercise works too; you’ll feel better for it and it will also help your body sleep at night.
There’s always time to exercise before you start work, no matter where your destination is, and there are always ways to incorporate wellness into your busy agenda. You probably don’t think you have the time but it’s about making the time. As busy event managers working endlessly and tirelessly whilst on-site, there are mini-wins. Taking the stairs instead of the lift. Have a half-an-hour swim before the day begins to energise all the muscles in the body. Use the benefits of fitness apps to guide you through easy exercises in the space of your hotel room; try press-ups, mountain climbers, squats, lunges, burpees or the plank. Include a workout as such into your daily routine can be done by waking up half-an-hour earlier just to secure that daily benefit to your body and brain.
Another beneficial exercise is yoga, which connects your body, mind and breathing. One of the main benefits of yoga is how it helps a person manage stress, which is known to be a key issue on-site. The relaxation techniques incorporated in yoga can also lessen chronic pain, improve respiration, energy and vitality, help maintain a balanced metabolism, improve athletic performance and build muscle strength and flexibility. The best thing about yoga is that it doesn’t matter about your size, shape or level of fitness because there are modifications for every pose to suit everyone and beginner classes in every style.
Another practical exercise for the mind and body is meditation, which tames disruptive stresses and emotions, leading to inner calm. Choose a convenient time in the morning with a quiet place and start with some light stretching and relaxing, sitting comfortably and taking deep breaths before opening your eyes slowly to become aware of yourself and your surroundings. To experience the benefits of meditation, regular practice is necessary. It only takes a few minutes out of your day, but if you practice regularly you will see huge mental benefits.
To combine wellness into our daily agenda we also need to consider the right choice of food, but also when to eat it. Creating a varied and nutritious diet at your event is one of the easiest ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle whilst on-site. Healthy doesn’t have to mean salad though. Mixing up your diet with vegetables, fish and high-protein meats will prevent you eating a high dose of carbohydrates, such as fries, crisps and sandwiches (the event office staples). Replacing unhealthy items with healthier substitutes can also make a noticeable difference. Try rice cakes instead of crisps, replace biscuits with fruit, switch sweets for lightly-salted popcorn and swap potato for sweet potato. We all experience sugar cravings when our energy levels are low, but giving in to them or bingeing on dense carbohydrates will only have a short-term effect. You could even try going vegetarian, if only for a few days or once-a-week. Protein-packed ingredients like eggs, tofu and beans will keep your energy levels up, help keep your weight down and build stronger bones.
Working long hours on-site at events means we often become tired, but has it ever crossed your mind that drinking so much coffee and tea can have an effect on your hydration levels? Without drinking more than two litres of water a day, the hot drinks we all adore can really decrease your energy levels and attention span. Instead of drinking cups of coffee continuously, replace the caffeine and sugary sweeteners with water to help hydrate the body.
We all manage events because we love what we do. We see pride in the end result, knowing it has been achieved after lots of hard work, grit and determination. By looking after yourself and taking the above into consideration you can maintain a happy, healthy lifestyle throughout the challenges of everyday event planning. It’s just down to one person only to make the changes and choices, and that’s you.
Joe McLoughlin – Ashfield Meetings & Events