Wellness-oriented activities for audiences have become quite common at events. And with event management placing in the top 10 stressful jobs year after year, these wellness activities, when done right, can also be relaxing for event planners. From corporate and B2B events to product launches and conferences, there’s been a conscious effort to incorporate a culture of wellness into events. This last year also saw the trend being incorporated in virtual events with short wellness breaks designed to get rid of virtual event fatigue, among other things.
Here, we talk about seven easy ways you can incorporate wellness into your next event to ensure a happy and stress-free attendee experience.
Focus on location and atmosphere
For years, psychologists have been studying the impact a person’s environment has on their temperament and behavior. It’s believed that colors, shapes, smells, and even texture can influence the ambiance of a place. That’s why it’s important for event planners to choose a venue and destination that promotes wellness. Once you’ve chosen an ideal venue, you can then work on the decor, style, and aesthetics to make it fit the mood of your event. Even something as simple as pleasant-smelling essential oils or more plants can make a huge difference in your attendees’ moods.
Go for food that’s healthy
There’s a reason we associate food with health and wellness. After all, it influences everything we do—from how we act to how we feel and even how we sleep. Healthy food will nourish your attendees, which means they’ll be fresh, active, and alert. They’ll get more out of your event and so will you. Here’s what you can do:
Open a smoothie and juice bar where attendees can create their own varieties
Have water stations around the venue so attendees can stay hydrated
Partner with the local community for locally grown, farm-to-table options
Include snacks that are healthy and high in protein
If alcohol is included in the menu, serve healthier versions like gluten-free wine and soda mixes
Finally, remember to keep food diverse, inclusive, and, most importantly, delicious. Healthy food doesn’t have to be bland and tasteless. Creative chefs can make something exotic and intriguing out of the most commonplace food items, even if it’s just carrots and potatoes. Make-your-own stations are another easy way to ensure food is both healthy and to your attendees’ liking. This works especially well with salads and pasta where people can build the dishes just the way they prefer.
Set up recharge zones
The truth is even the most interesting and well-meaning events can get tiring. Maybe it’s someone overwhelmed by the networking, exhausted from all the walking around, or just dealing with a post-lunch slump. All of them would benefit from a recharge zone that’ll allow them to recover their energy for the rest of your event. Your recharge zones can be anything from a lounge area where attendees can charge their devices while reading a magazine or doing a crossword to a dedicated zen den complete with soothing music, soft lighting, chair massages, and even aromatherapy. Another thing you can do is mark certain areas of your event as “no-screen zones.” Too much screen-time can also lead to fatigue.
Include wellness breaks
While sessions are one of the biggest attractions at most events, filling up your event’s schedule with them would mean attendees rushing from hall to hall, which would eventually tire them out. Instead, include a few wellness breaks to slow down the pace of an otherwise hectic day. It’ll also help your attendees loosen up. Some ideas for a wellness break include:
Meditation and mindfulness
One thing you can do is make your event location work for you. If there’s a hiking trail nearby, you can include hikes, or if there’s a beach, offer diving or snorkeling lessons.
Partner with organizations
There are a lot of not-for-profit and government organizations that work towards improving the quality of people’s lives. You can work with them to help attendees learn important life skills. Be it personality development, soft skills, or just plain interviews with people who’ve succeeded against impossible odds, they can all encourage and motivate your attendees.
Another type of organization you can partner with is a charity—there's nothing like giving back to the community to make you feel better. You can host activities—even something as simple as an auction—and donate the money to a local organization.
Move part of the event outside
Heading outdoors is a great way to help people really de-stress. That’s why you should have at least one or two outdoor activities at your event. You could move dinner outside, host a walking meeting, or something similar—the idea here is to get people moving.
Apple does this really well with their photo walks. Attendees are taken on a guided tour with an Apple employee and taught how to take better photos with their iPhones. The organizers cover all their bases here—the activity is educative, engaging, and healthy.
Promote mental wellness
This last decade has seen more and more people understanding the importance of mental health and spreading awareness about it. Mental wellbeing is as important as physical wellbeing. You can bring in experts to talk about how mental and emotional well-being and why it’s important to treat illnesses holistically. The wellness activities we mentioned above like yoga and meditation can also leave a positive impact on people’s mental health. If your budget doesn’t cover hiring experts, you could use apps like Headspace for short guided meditation breaks. This works rather well with virtual events.
Wellness initiatives at events can improve your attendees’ mood, making them happier and more open to new ideas and experiences. Of course, these ideas aren’t just for your events and attendees. You can also use them for your next team get-together to boost their morale, improve team-bonding, and help them unwind after a hectic event. After all, your event is only as good as your team.
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