I shared some great tips with Stress Matters recently for a well-being supplement they produced for C&IT Magazine.
These are some practical tips on how team members can approach being on-site in a way that benefits them rather than piles on the pressure. From movement and sleep to eating and moving our way to a stress-free environment.
These aim to maintain your well-being and lower stress levels during an event. 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 stress in the bodies. So the best way we can look after our well-being on-site is to create good habits before we go.
Pre-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!
Louisa Hooper, Event Manager for Research in Finance adds “Always try to have at least one full day at the venue or location prior to the start in order to make sure everything is in place and to sort out any hiccups prior to the kick off day! Calm before the event should hopefully mean a calm, smooth event!”
Now you’re on-site. What happens when inevitably you’re at the event with 4 hours sleep, surrounded by caffeine and sugary snacks?
This is where the healthy habits kick in. Maintaining the routine you have at home as closely as possible on-site will allow you to take care of your physical and emotional health. This includes:
Eating well and regularly – rotate breaks within the team and make sure everyone gets a proper sit down lunch break.
Create a rota if possible so that start and end times are staggered for the team – even half an hour extra in bed will make a huge difference on-site.
Sleep in the gaps - can you grab a nap after the event and before a networking dinner?
Pause and get outside for some fresh air
Replace caffeine with water.Tim Willoughby, MD for Ocean Media Group recommends this: "I think you need to drink at least 3ltrs of water a day when onsite - more if you've had an intense evening of networking the night before. I start the day with a pint of water and try to drink as often as I can after." He must know a thing or two about on-site events after running them for 20 years!
When it comes to meal times, go for the healthy option and avoid loading up on sugar and carbs which will cause you to feel sleepy and reach for more caffeine and sugar.
Keep an eye on colleagues- you’re there to support each other so check in with them members- do they need help/water/a break? And they will do the same for you!
The most powerful recommendation I can offer is to be aware when making choices – how will that make you feel? 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.
We got some great advice on how to manage your sleep from Risa Gabrielle, London-based sleep therapist.
A sleep cycle is 90 minutes in length, which is good to know when you are busy at an event and potentially can’t get a full night’s sleep. We want to avoid waking up in the middle of a sleep cycle so we can be better rested and feel less drowsy upon waking. On a normal night, 7.5 or 9 hours of sleep is better than the false “golden rule” of eight hours, because you’re not waking up in the middle of a sleep cycle. So when you’re at an event, if you have to get less sleep, think of this 90 min rule and aim to get 6 hours or at a push 4.5 hours, and you won’t be waking up in the middle of a sleep cycle and will feel more refreshed.
If you wake up tired, do a restorative yoga pose in bed. Instead of hitting snooze and just falling back to sleep - because now you know you’ll never get back into a full sleep cycle - it’s much better to do something physically restful for those nine minutes of “snooze.” Try turning around in bed and putting your legs up the wall, or in this case headboard. Your legs should be about hip distance apart, allowing the feet to turn out and feeling held by the wall.
This has similar benefits to an inversion and switches on your circulation. After doing this for five to nine minutes, you will feel more rested and be able to get out bed more than if you had just pressed snooze. Legs up the wall is also a great tool to use when you have three minutes during the day and need a boost.
Finally, supplement for your lack of sleep wherever you can. Yoga nidra (aka yogic sleep) is an amazing tool for this as listening to a 30-minute recording is equivalent to one or two hours of sleep! You can use this when you wake up in the morning if you’re exhausted, and it’s ideal if you have time between day and evening events and need to recharge.
And when you get back from the event it’s just as important to remember your well-being.
Allow yourself to rest! So many of us have a hectic schedule and get back from one event to throw ourselves into the next. Give yourself a day to catch up on life admin, laundry and sleep. It’ll ensure a calmer mind, less overwhelm and a chance to refresh. Many companies offer lieu days for event days worked / a day from home after an event so check in with your manager and see what flexibility they can offer.
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.
We hope you can adopt some of these habits for your next event - wishing you lots of luck!