Personal needs often play second fiddle to running a conference, meeting or event. That is why, planners say, it is important to allow time for post-event self-care. Although wellness should always be a priority, meeting days are long. For planners, there’s little or no time for breaks, and they often are on their feet all day taking care of their clients’ and attendees’ needs.
“When a meeting ends, making time for self-care is essential,” said Kim Bercovitz, Ph.D. (“Dr. Kim”), health behavior scientist and owner of Byte-Size Wellness Academy, an online wellness self-coaching program.
Self-care means something different things to different people,” noted Dr. Kim. “The most important thing is to carve out time to take care of yourself in the ways that work best for you.”
Here are 10 real-life examples of how planners wind down from the intensity of their events:
- Yoga, dance, power walks. For Dr. Kim, self-care takes two forms: exercise and down-time. “I can’t squeeze in as much time for my workouts as I’d like when I’m on the road, so when I get home, catching up on my exercise routine, yoga, dance, power walking is my solace, as is having quiet time.”
- Dog days. The first thing that Lori W. Hedrick, MHA, CMM, CMP, CSEP, meeting professional, Burroughs Wellcome Fund, does when she gets home after a meeting is sit in her recliner and take a nap.”I usually wake up to find my three dachshunds asleep on top of me. “They are more than pets; they’re like a comedy team, so just watching them is entertaining.
- Getting creative. Hedrick is “a big doll collector.” She says that her Barbie collection is the most fun. “I have vintage outfits so there is always some sequins or rickrack trim to restore and the creativity is fun and relaxing.”
- Soaking in silence. “Back home, a hot soaking bath, often with lavender-scented Epsom salts and candles helps me wind down. No music. No TV. Just quiet,” said Kinyetta Alexander, learning experience manager, CGB Enterprises. “I let my thoughts flow through me in a meditative way, the goodness of what went right, ideas for improvement, and whatever else.”
- Catching up with family. A wife and mom, Alexander also looks forward to spending time with her family and catching up on what they missed in each other’s lives. “It feels good to be with them, whether we go out for dinner or watch a movie at home.”
- Deep sleep. “Whatever the request, my job is to make it happen and I am not done until the last attendee is on their way home,” said Janice Quals, divisional assistant vice president, Great American Custom Insurance, a division of Great American Insurance. “At that point, my stress level naturally drops to zero and I relax completely. In fact, I literally sleep for 24 hours after each program.
- The Gift of Time. Since Quals usually work the entire weekend during a program, she gets two days of comp time. “Even more important, I am lucky to work for an organization that appreciates and supports work-life balance and family time. They understand that those two days off allow me to return to work refreshed and ready for the next challenge.”
- Spa day or home retreat. A day at a spa, or at the very least, a deep tissue massage- is the favorite wind-down for Edie I. Leibman, CIS, principal, LPC Consulting. At home, she usually indulges in a hot salted bath followed by moisturizer. “Then I get into sweats and socks, curl up on my couch with healthy snacks to watch a great movie, and in winter, add a warm fire, that usually does the trick.”
- Massage and Sit-Down Meal. After a complex, multi-day event, Meghan M. Schilt, CMP, likes to book a massage, said the associate director of events at King & Spalding. “I also have a leisurely sit-down meal with vegetables, drink lots of water with added electrolytes (my current favorite is grape-flavored Ultima Replenisher) and get a good night’s sleep.
- Celebrate success. After one-day meetings, Schilt usually invites the onsite staff to dinner to let them know that their efforts are appreciated. “Managing a small team that is often asked to go above and beyond, I want to make sure we all take a pause to appreciate the success of each event before moving on.”
Byte-Size Wellness Academy can be accessed here.