Fall can be perceived as both a time of great beauty and degeneration – a necessary process for renewal and a metaphor for the world today. Nature starts its annual retreat and humans adjust, too. But those in the meetings industry know that fall has another personality trait. It is a time to create—it’s conference time. As the newly opened schedule begins to take shape for in-person meetings, this fall feels a bit different. It is not a place of busi- ness as usual; we will never be that way again. However, I see this shift as a positive evolution, no matter how bumpy it gets with virus variants and mandates. Out of this chaos a new era of liberated harmony will arise.
Wellness Resources: Read More Articles by Lee Papa
Our collective experiences of 2020-2021 have changed us all. Not all of us in the same ways, but there is a thread that is the same. You see, this thread connects the souls of each one of us. We have ALL lived through this shared experience and continue to ride the wave—which sometimes feels more like a tsunami—and will develop our future together. That big-wave ride can feel tumultuous, but we must learn from the great surfers to be patient and flexible.
There are some event professionals that cannot wait to get back on the “longboard” of in-person meetings at any cost. There are those who have lost their jobs in the industry and miss the hustle of this profession, and now dealing with their next chapter. There are still others that have stress-induced emotional “dis-ease” around the proposition of live events that mimics PTSD.
These stressors can have many faces, but the emotional unrest is the common denominator and it can’t be ignored. Usual discussions around the topic loop around to individuals who have rearranged their lives to adapt to the forced home-life/work environment, and found, after the initial shock of it, it fulfills them. They have adjusted and found a rhythm that suits their wellbeing, and they want to keep it. They don’t want to be pulled away from a familial safety zone that has been created with their adjusted work situation. There is a psychological impact of “being taken away” from their families. The last couple of years has allowed some folks to get better connected to their core values and the importance of their self care.
So, as we move into the fall meetings season, it is imperative for meetings and events professionals to make the emotional care of their attendees—and themselves—the top priority.
Back in the Saddle
As of the writing of this article, I am preparing to attend my first, since March 2020, of many scheduled in-person events. It will be exciting to see old friends and meet new ones as I partner once again with Maritz Global Events.
Maritz WellBeing Leader Rachael Riggs is spearheading this forward-facing wellness theme for the meeting under the umbrella of “Curriculum of You,” and has designated an entire floor of the Hyatt Regency Seattle for guests to take time for themselves and explore these offerings.
I am grateful to offer the Mindfulness Lounge™ via the Maritz’s NEXT& Event, where attendees will have access to a soft place to land, and also offer mindfulness training to help them navigate back to in-person meet- ings with more ease and grace.
Wellness Techniques for Your Return
Here are three things you can do to ease your way back to meetings in a gentler way:
- Set intention. Have a clear vision of what you want the experience to hold. Choose positive, love-based visioning in lieu of anticipatory, fear-based outcomes.
- Stay the course with your wellbeing routine: meditation, exercise, supplements, nighttime routine, etc. Skip the excess [caffeine, sugar, alcohol, etc.].
- Be gentle with yourself and others. We are here to serve and support each other, but don’t forget to nourish yourself mindfully and give from the overflow.
Here are three things event professionals can provide to support the emotional health of attendees and staff and create a gentler environment:
- Budget and prioritize wellbeing offerings in their meetings and events not as a nice to have, but as a necessary element of attendee participant support.
- Provide virtual wellbeing content to ease their way back.
- Gift self-care packages, meditations and digital downloads.
If you would like additional support around any of these emotional health topics, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Article originally published in the September 2021 Edition of Meetings Today Magazine