As event well-being week EventWell18 (17-21 September) kicks off, EN meets EventWell managing director Helen Moon to learn more about what the industry is doing to tackle strains on mental, emotional and physical health.
What is EventWell and how did it start (and what is your role)?
EventWell started in 2017 with the first official event wellbeing week campaign, #EventWell17 taking place in September of that year. The reaction and engagement from the industry in regard to the campaign so was high that the co-founders decided to launch a wellbeing resource for the industry and hence EventWell Ltd was born. EventWell is the first and official wellbeing resource for event professionals and a point of call for anyone seeking advice, knowledge or support on anything related to overall health and wellbeing.
Does it cover both physical and mental wellbeing?
It covers all manners of health and wellbeing so yes, physical health, mental health and emotional health, as all are intrinsically linked and of equal importance, no precedence should be given to one over the other.
Do you think the event industry has a worse relationship with wellbeing than other industries? What are some danger areas?
I think that event professionals suffer similar pressures in the workplace that other industries do, and research that we have carried out at EventWell indicates the same; pressure from the boss, relationships at work etc. However, as an industry we are great at looking after our stakeholders and attendees but fall down massively when it comes to taking care of ourselves; learning to rest and recuperate, getting enough sleep, eating well, or simply just saying no.
There are complex biological reasons for this as well as we work in pressured environments and things happen in the body when this is a constant that can become a detriment to your overall health. Working on any type of event is a highly charged and pressured environment, you need the ability to think fast on your feet, trust your instincts, make big decisions and manage peoples expectations. That level of sustained pressure can weigh heavy on your shoulders and the biggest danger is that if you are not setting boundaries for yourself or implementing self-care then eventually the inevitable can happen… you burn out.
What was the thinking behind the event well-being week and how did it get started?
The thinking behind last year’s campaign was simply to start an initiative for they industry that would get people talking.
Career Cast cited event co-ordination as the fifth most stressful career in 2016, and that had the positive impact of getting the industry talking and thinking about the reasons why.
Historically industry attitude had always been this is how things were just get on with it, and it’s this attitude that has resulted in the industry losing some great talent due to ill health.
So a group of eight incredibly passionate event professionals all got together and decided to launch the first wellbeing campaign with the #timeforaction hashtag, with an objective to get the industry talking and seriously thinking about the impacts of their business on not just their teams and stakeholders health but also their own.
How would you suggest event profs celebrate/support the week?
It’s important to remember that just like physical health everyone has mental health, and emotional health. It’s important to ensure that you are looking after your overall health and wellbeing and that starts with self-care.
Your own personal health is not the responsibility of your boss, your family, your friends, it’s your responsibility, self-care begins and ends with you. If you are taking care of yourself then you are much better positioned to be taking care of others, so there’s nothing selfish about this either, in fact it’s the exact opposite – not taking care of yourself could be perceived as selfish.
That’s the theme for this year’s campaign ‘Looking after YOU and YOURS’ and that’s how individuals can get involved; start looking at areas of their lives that could do with a tweak or a bit of self-love, and share it with us under the hashtag and #EventWell18 umbrella.
People can also take their time to hug more that week! Research has proved that hugging and close human contact relaxes muscles, reduces stress, boosts immune systems, reduces anxiety, is a pain reliever and can even protect against heart disease.
We’re asking all event professionals to take images of shared hugs with their colleagues, friends, family (with permission of course) and then share on social media using the hashtag #huganeventprof, lets see if we can break the internet with hugs!
Do you have any advice for employers who are interested in what they can do to support their employees?
Take the Stress Matters pledge! Stress Matters guides employers and businesses on how they can take action to reduce the stress they have knowingly or unknowingly put their team under, in order to make tangible change to an industry that has a culture of stress.
A change that involves us all coming together, individuals and organisations, so it is no longer inevitable but managed and minimised. You can find details of the stress matters pledge on eventwell.org.