Deadlines. The word itself conjures a sinister image, as though to miss this crucial time window would put your life at immediate risk. For the events industry, it’s a word that workers are all too familiar with. The constant pressure to meet clients’ requirements within narrow time windows, the sustained high-stress work and post-event lows make event jobs some of the most stressful jobs (voted 5th most stressful in America by a 2014 study). In reality, much, or at least part of this stress is an inevitable byproduct of the job description. However, recent years have seen a surge in the wellness trend across online platforms – is there something more event professionals can do to alleviate the toll of their work?
Meditation and acquiring Zen
When it comes to health, the western approach is largely retroactive. Problem X arises, then we diagnose the issue and take steps to address it. For workers in high-stress environments like the events industry, this approach is a recipe for burnout. Preventative measures are what’s needed to strike a long-term, functional balance between work life and mental health. Meditation is one such measure – the practice of clearing mental fog, withholding the urge to latch onto thoughts and anxieties, and sitting quietly as an observer within your own mind. It can be done anywhere at any time but alone in a quiet room is possibly the best setting. Some prefer meditative guides to usher them along, others simply sit still in complete silence. Ultimately, though, meditation is not a pastime, a practice that one does in isolated situations and then forgets about for the rest of the day. The benefits of meditation are best reaped when the individual views their entire day as an opportunity to meditate, to let the noise filter out so that lucidity and single-mindedness can re-enter the frame.
Don’t forget to breathe
Up until recently, the general public would have laughed at the phrase ‘correct breathing technique’. Technique for breathing? In and out, it’s that simple – why complicate things? We now know the foolishness of this perspective. More and more studies are linking incorrect breathing to bad health, lack of fitness, respiratory problems and even more serious illnesses. And while there are many pundits out on YouTube and everywhere else with their own doctrines for proper breathing, the undeniable facts are that a) mouth breathing is bad (very bad) and nasal breathing is much more efficient, and b) that good breathing is longer and slower, not faster. It used to be common to hear the advice ‘in through your mouth, out through your nose’ for sports and athletics. This is false, and will limit the level of fitness you can reach. James Nestor is one individual who became fascinated with this topic, and embarked upon a rather frightening study to test his hypothesis. He blocked his nostrils, forcing himself to breathe exclusively through his mouth for 10 days (whilst being supervised by Stanford experts). His sleep habits turn south. His blood pressure skyrockets and he gains weight. In the next phase of the experiment, he tries exclusive nasal breathing for another 10 days, which reverses all of the problems and adds a number of health benefits.
One fitness blogger who tried Nestor’s nasal breathing approach describes her experience in a lengthy post. She writes that when she first tried running with her mouth firmly shut, it felt like being ‘waterboarded’, but after four months of consistent practice, her resting heart dropped 5-8 points (a very good change), she set multiple personal records in run times, and felt more energetic and vibrant throughout the day. Nestor also describes how nasal breathing changes the structure of an individual’s face, giving them stronger jawlines with more pronounced, symmetrical faces. All in all, keep your mouth closed – it’s the simplest way to improve your health and looks.
It’s all very well implementing these changes by yourself, but many people find it easier to make progress when they coordinate their efforts with others. ‘Large-scale group events aren’t just a recreational phenomenon. Many people find that the team environment fosters an atmosphere of general positivity, which can aid in fitness, learning, wellness and plenty of other activities.’ Especially given that the events landscape is set to open up, now is a good time to look at wellness events as an opportunity to develop the techniques that keep stress at bay. The following is a list of wellness events scheduled in the relatively near future in the UK:
10-11 July 2021
Hosted in Richmond Park, this festival is Europe’s largest outdoor health and wellness event, assembling thousands of individuals (majority women) to exercise and practice wellness in a huge, coordinated group.
Boost your energy! The Ultimate Scientific Energy Diet
10 July 2021
This free event will offer out a host of information on eating well and promoting wellness through diet. There is a lot of confusion and debate about what the correct diet looks like and which format works the best, but ultimately it is something each individual must ascertain for themselves. Head over to this event to help make that decision.
Kent Wellness Festival
7 Aug 2021
This festival is a 2-day opportunity to attend talks, classes and workshops on all aspects of wellness, including yoga, meditation, fitness, nutrition and self-improvement. Wellness industry professionals will be offering their time and expertise to help educate attendees on the pillars of wellbeing.
There is a limit to how much an individual can learn from the experience of others. Each person has a unique situation and will need to develop their own set of techniques and rules for personal wellness. A diet that works wonders for some could cause myriad problems in others, and an exercise regimen that transforms one person’s life could bring about injury in another. Having said that, given the demands placed upon many professionals in the events industry, it is likely that some are falling behind on certain aspects, becoming overburdened with stress and losing level-headedness. Alan Jenkins of exhibition contractor Quadrant2Design remarks: ‘Professionals in the industry are notoriously bad at maintaining personal wellbeing. They put their job before many aspects of their life, which eventually comes back to bite them after years of stress and fatigue. Now, at least, we know much more about health and wellbeing than we used to, and event workers need to strike a healthier balance or else risk burning out.’ It’s a stressful (and at times thankless) job, but the public has realized this past year how much we need event workers. So do us a favor – grab yourself a green tea, put the phone down and work on your wellbeing.