Every passing year brings a renewed focus on our mental health. 2020 is no different.
You may be committing to a New Year’s plan yourself – treating your mind & body better and learning to take some downtime when you need it. But the quest for self-care doesn’t stop there. You can actively ensure your next event or conference looks after the welfare of its guests, helping delegates to feel calmer, focused and more content.
Wellbeing isn’t just a keynote topic. Try these 10 additions to your conference, product launch, gala dinner or wedding party, and put theory into practice.
1. Consider no-phone rules
Does everyone have to be constantly tweeting, texting and taking pictures? Maybe not. Of course, your event may want to generate hype on the day – a fashion show, for example, needs the publicity. But other events (including conferences, which will likely include takeaway media packs) can afford phone-free periods.
2. Offer healthy meals and snacks
Berries, beans and nuts lower cholesterol and improve your guests’ mood. Fish and lean meats are a welcome source of protein – invaluable for hits of serotonin. And avocados aren’t just a millennial staple; they’re good for our brainpower. Adding those superfoods into your event menu is a great way to get your guests feeling on top form. Our delegate menus have been created to offer healthy, yet filling and energising options.
3. Use the outdoors
Fresh air can do wonders for our body. Instead of confining people to a stuffy atmosphere indoors, think about where the event can literally break out on to the venue grounds. A technology trade show, for example, might demo drones and driverless cars in action. Performance art in the outdoor area or mezzanine, meanwhile, adds flavour to any party. Simply placing street-food options with a count yard is a brilliant way to let your guests get some fresh air mid conference.
4. Host creative activity breaks
When we’re asked to think creatively, the brain releases dopamine and reduces our levels of stress hormones. So lead lightning rounds of group Pictionary. Build Lego in teams for 45 minutes. Give them adult colouring books or modelling clay. Quick, hands-on ‘breaks’ in the day can help your audience’s ideas flow more freely and make the overall event more satisfying.
5. Make sure there’s enough water
Many healthcare organisations advise that we drink between six to eight pints of water per day, and many studies show that it has a big impact on our mood. So ensure that every table is well-stocked with H2O, including any panel members if you’re hosting a discussion.
6. Give the venue an artful flourish
Visual stimulation can be integral to our sense of wellbeing. One project saw a 73% drop in depression amongst people who took part in art workshops. While you may not have the scope or time for a class, simply placing pieces around your environment will be enough to stir engagement. Wrap it into your theme if you can – we have a few ideas on this for corporate dining.
7. Save a quiet room
As you’re planning how to use the venue, why not leave a single space free where guests can go for some respite. No music. No loud noises. Just a room for around 15-20 people, perhaps with sofas and beanbags. Anyone can lie back and shut their eyes for a few minutes to recharge their body, or plug in and surf the internet in peace.
8. Bring nature inside
Alternatively – or simultaneously – give the events space a natural touch. Trees, shrubs, vines and flowers tend to soothe the mind, boosting creativity and problem-solving abilities. The more you can tie it back into the ‘look’ you’re aiming for, the more seamless it’ll be.
9. Lead yoga and meditation sessions
Breakout rooms shouldn’t be limited to meetings and Q&As. You could run several meditation events throughout the day too, including right after lunch or dinner. Yoga is another great mood cleanser. Ask our team about putting you in touch with Manchester Yoga Central, based at the venue – they’ll be able to advise you on how you could incorporate yoga classes for your guests.
10. End with a silent disco
It wouldn’t be true Victoria Warehouse advice if we didn’t suggest finishing with a (quiet) bang… More events are going further than the traditional end-of-night DJ set. Silent discos are a fantastic way to make people feel at ease and in the moment. They don’t have to worry about their bad dancing – after all, the whole point of having individual headphone soundtracks is to let everyone loosen up on their own terms. See what can be achieved in a room just off from your main event area.
Put mind and body on the agenda of your next event. The Victoria Warehouse team can discuss, plan and realise much of what we’ve mentioned here. Just give us a call if you’re hoping to host in Greater Manchester.