This article features a collection of tips and exercise routines to keep you healthy while planning events.
The traditional image of the event professional is that of a person constantly on the phone, drinking coffee, running around fixing problems and making sure everything goes to plan.
The levels of stress an event professional has to suffer are incredible. In 2012 CareerCast made it the 6th most stressful job of the year.
Stress levels this high are not good for you. I tried to give some help with your soul and the response was overwhelming.
I decided to further investigate the topic. I did a search on Twitter with a few keywords and got further confirmation of an alarming phenomenon.
It is very common to find event professional complaining from being tired, delegating nutrition to energy drinks and coffee for days or spending hours behind a computer planning their event.
Why Is Nobody Talking About It?
While everybody in the industry (me included) seems concentrated on giving you more things to do, read or plan, nobody seems to care about the body that keeps everything going.
The objective of this article is of course to give you some tips on where to start improving your food intake and exercise while planning events.
Another important objective is to stimulate the discussion of this topic in the industry. I want to see the same level of articles talking about improving working lifestyle as those discussing social media for events.
Who Will Give You Advice?
I am possibly the last person on earth entitled to write an article of such importance and delicacy.
I asked Dani Stevens of Fitness, Food and Style to write it for me. She is a blogger on the topic, full time mum of 4 and shares her passion for healthy heating and lifestyle on her amazing blog. She also managed to get the attention of Sir Richard Branson to raise awareness on the initiative The Ride to Conquer Cancer.
I am sure we can all relate to what Dani does and are willing to listen to what she has to say. I asked her to give us targeted advice depending on different times of the usual event planning and management cycle.
Before we start I also want to make sure that you take the next article as a stimulus to further investigate the topic.
You need to consult your doctor if you feel something is not working with your lifestyle and before modifying your diet or starting exercise practice.
If this article will help you to have that conversation then mission will be accomplished.
I'll pass the keyboard to Dani, so she can inspire you to improve your working lifestyle.
Dani’s Healthy Lifestyle tips for Event Professionals
It’s super imperative to be prepared and arm yourself with healthy snacks when attending certain events (or travelling). You won’t be tempted to snack on those “junk food” type of foods or lollies being served during the event.
I was a sucker eating those minties or skittles! Preparation is key to anything, like you plan your event you need to plan your food for the day. Here’s just an example of what I take to events (I also bring my small cooler bag and utilize any near by grocery stores if I am travelling interstate).
Staying Overnight in a Hotel
Breakfast – Always opt for the fresh fruit salad and muesli range. Avoid the greasy bacon, hashbrowns and pastries buffet.
Morning snack – pack a handful of almonds and a piece of your favorite fruit (or dried fruits) and stay clear of those pastries (loaded with trans fat and sugar) platters.
Lunch – Opt for the salads, meats and fresh fruit platters
Afternoon snack – stick to your fresh fruit & vegetables platters
Dinner – Steamed fish or grilled chicken with a salad or vegetables
Leaving From Home to the Event
Breakfast – Green smoothie on the go (whizz a handful of spinach, 1 banana, preferred milk & protein powder add a drizzle of honey with 1 tsp chia seeds)
Morning snack – pack a handful of almonds and a piece of your favorite fruit (or dried fruits). Snack on the fruit platters at the event or bring a small cooler bag to stock up your snacks
Lunch – Stick to your fresh sandwich and fruit & vegetable platters
Afternoon snack – plain yogurt with fresh fruit
Dinner – Your choice of a protein meat, chicken or fish served with vegetables and salad
Being healthy takes a lot of commitment and if you can’t pack your snacks or a cooler bag then you will be like I used to be and suffer from a junk food hangover after each event!
Having said that you are also entitled to indulge, so do it in moderation when it comes to sweets and alcohol. We are human after all.
I know from my personal experience of working 15 years in the corporate space, running around and scheduling customer meetings, sitting at my desk, presenting at forums and attending presentations etc… it gave me poor posture and the long periods of sitting and standing increased my risk of pain, fatigue and a range of health problems. We need to pay more attention to the way we sit and stand for how long to reduce this likelihood.
Things we need to avoid are slouching shoulders whilst sitting, soft/squashy chairs and always ensure our spine is in neutral position, no slouching and have your back against the support of your chair. Make sure your chair is at the right height to allow your thighs to be at the right angles to your body.
When standing for an entire day, try and sit when you can if not ensure you take time to do a few lunges and squats (maybe when you are in the bathroom so you don’t have the entire events crew checking you out!) better still tell everyone to join in!!! ☺
I have recently found a passion with Yoga. You will be able to incorporate these moves when you and your team need to step away from your busy day and do a few simply stretches and recharge. You will be amazed how a little deep breathing and muscle movement can completely re-invent your mood.
1. Square Breathing: Shake off anxiety and clear your head.
With my busy day running around 4 kids I can easily get short of breath. Once you get the knack of this breathing technique, your relaxation mode will kick in and it’s like hitting a restart button, which restores and keeps your mind clear.
To begin square breathing, sit in a comfortable, upright position on the floor or in a chair. Inhale through your nose for four counts (1, 2, 3, 4). Hold that breath in for four counts. Exhale through your nose for four counts. Hold that breath out for four counts. That’s one cycle.
Repeat 10 times, going at your own pace: Inhale 2, 3, 4. Hold 2, 3, 4. Exhale, 2, 3 4. Hold, 2, 3, 4.
2. Shoulder stretch: Release neck and shoulder tension.
Interlace your fingers, and raise your arms above your head, with your palms facing upwards. Try to keep your arms in line with your ears, while you look straight ahead and relax your shoulder blades down your back (don’t shrug them up!) Hold for five full breaths in and out through your nose. Let your arms fall down to your sides, roll your shoulders backwards and forwards a few times, then repeat the stretch, holding for five full breaths.
I suggest downloading this great little free app to have on your smart phone -> Yoga Fitness Poses
Whatever your choice may be when it comes to fitness, my recommendation is to be consistent. Make it a practice to move your body everyday. Set aside time specifically for that run, a quick tabata session or a walk with a colleague.
Otherwise come join my monthly fitness challenges at Fitness Food And Style for some inspiration and motivation.
Currently we are training and doing a 15 week Freeletics transformation challenge. You don’t need a gym or any equipment, just your body and you can exercise at home, at the office or get everyone to do it an your next event!!!
handful of chopped spinach and parsley leaves
1 diced red onion
handful of kalamata olives
1/2 cup of crumbled feta cheese
(use whatever vegetables you have in your fridge eg: mushrooms, capsicums etc…)
Step by step (prep, chop & cook)
Gently fry onions, tomato, spinach and olives. Then quickly beat up the eggs, add the crumbled feta and pour on top of mixture. Then place under the grill until cooked. Real fast, super simple and extremely flavoursome.
I just use whatever ingredients I have left over in the fridge. You can use your imagination and put whatever ingredients!
Oatmeal pancakes recipe and steps found in the link.
I believe this great article by Dani will help you to kickstart a better lifestyle while planning amazing events.
If you have any questions, you can either comment here on the blog or get in touch with Dani on Facebook or Twitter.