Yoga class on Alabama's beaches

Maintaining Work-Life Balance As Meeting Professionals

It is no shocker that the meeting professional job can be quite stressful.

We have to manage everything from speakers to hotel management to having the right foods for the right people at the right time. Lots of moving parts! The key thing is that you can’t be effective if you are stressed and overwhelmed, so let’s start there.

Salad bowl from Picnic Beach in Gulf Shores, AL

Maintaining Sanity for You!

As a meeting professional, one of the most difficult words to get comfortable with is…NO. I know how hard this can be as you dedicate so much of your life to your groups and events, but if you don’t take the time to take care of you, there won’t be any of you left to help them!

Here are two steps to consider:

  1. Schedule a self-care day monthly (or a half-day if you feel too guilty) and turn off the phone and computer. Do something that re-energizes YOU (e.g. massage, spa day, lunch with friends…). Think of this like plugging your phone in to charge it – you are re-charging YOU!
  2. Protect this time on your calendar! It’s one thing to schedule this time for you, and another to make sure it takes priority when the inevitable conflict occurs.

Hydration…Yes, Again

From a personal health perspective, you already know how important staying hydrated is, but are you doing it? The typical water target of half your body weight in ounces is a great place to start, but the key is to implement this so that you are drinking water throughout your day. Make sure that you are drinking purified water, as you want to help your body to detoxify. You either use a filter or your body will become the filter. Luckily, most venues are now offering bottled water, so this is a little bit easier.

Proper Breathing Techniques

Proper breathing means that you are breathing deeply, down below your belly button (you might put your hand there as you practice), while keeping your chest relatively still. Try inhaling for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds and exhale for 4 seconds. This will help to activate the calming side of your nervous system (called the parasympathetic nervous system) and reduce stress in a big way. In fact, all of the best stress reduction systems (e.g. Tai Chi, Yoga, Qi Gong…) have deep breathing at their core.

Use The Best Fuel Possible

Most people that own an expensive car would never think of putting the cheapest fuel in it. Your body is WAY more valuable than any car, so make sure you are giving it the best fuel possible. I understand there are times when it makes sense to cheat and eat the not-so-good-for-you foods, and that’s OK…as long as it’s in moderation. Shoot for the 80/20 rule (80% of the time eating as healthy as you can). 

What does that look like given our culture’s fascination with the diet trend of the month? In general, eat things that grow. My recommendation is the Mediterranean diet as it’s stood the test of time. The trick is to eat:

  1. Good quality fruits and vegetables (organic where possible)
  2. Whole grains (very small amounts, if any) 
  3. Healthy fats (natural ones – coconut oil, avocado, olive oil, walnuts, macadamia nuts…). Also make sure to get your Omega 3 essential fatty acids from fish, flax or other sources. Whenever you see the word essential with regard to nutrition, it means your body can’t make it on its own…you have to eat it. These fats are crucial to building healthy cells in your body.
  4. We really don’t need as much protein as you might think (depending on your lifestyle), so add some in the form of beans, nuts, lentils (if vegetarian) and/or good quality meats (organic, grass-fed) or eggs.
Relaxing night on beach in Orange Beach, AL

Stress Management Tips

The reality is we cannot control what happens to us, but we do have a big say in how we respond. Your first go-to response to any major stressors should be to breathe deeply. This will go a long way in helping your body process whatever is going on. Each of us has a favorite activity (or non-activity) that helps us to release stress. Examples include yoga, cooking, running, reading, etc. The key is to make sure you have this activity scheduled on your calendar and keep the commitment, as this is a priority, especially these days!

While I list cooking and reading as possible stress reduction activities, please know movement is a requirement for true stress reduction. While it’s great to rest your brain with these types of activities, your body really wants to move. This doesn’t mean you have to schedule an hour at the gym (though there are definitely benefits to weightlifting, aerobic exercise…), as simply walking can be all you need to help with stress reduction. Many events already give us this option as we are walking quite a bit! 

The other factor to consider about stress is technology. Yes, there are the typical social media challenges around looking at other people’s highlight reels that can move you toward frustration with your life, but I’m talking about something else. The EMFs (Electromagnetic Frequencies) that are invisible yet have a HUGE impact on your body. 

Our bodies are way more electrical/energetic than we know and are sensitive to the constant barrage of these waves (think Wi-Fi, cell signals, cordless phones…). Your best approach is to keep your phone away from you as much as possible, and if you must keep it in your pocket, put it in airplane mode. This especially applies at night, where you’ll want to put your phone in airplane mode and keep it at least six feet away from your head. This one thing alone can improve your sleep.

Another great way to balance EMFs and help your body to recharge is to get outside into the sun, with bare feet on the earth. I know this might sound a little strange at first, but there is significant science that shows we need the frequencies from the planet to function at our best. Give it a try and let me know…just 15 minutes a day can go a long way in helping you balance challenges such as anxiety or inflammation. You might consider doing this at a break when you are at the event. And, for maximum support, getting in an ocean (or Gulf – like in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach) is at the top of the list, as you are not only earthing, but also getting the minerals and energy from the water.

Clean Your Filters

Your body is designed to filter out the toxins you encounter in your everyday world. However, your body was NEVER designed to deal with the unbelievable amount of toxicity on our planet today. The main sources of toxicity are from:

  1. The food we eat – pesticides, herbicides, GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), heavy metals, additives, preservatives, etc.
  2. The air we breathe – pollution, huge increase in pollen, mold, artificial scents (think plug-ins, candles…), etc.
  3. The water we drink – prescription drug residues, heavy metals, chlorine, fluoride, etc.
  4. Prescription drugs – these are often stored in your body for longer than you know

Your body is always trying to cleanse itself, but when it gets overloaded, it can result in issues with your organs of detox (liver, kidneys, colon…). 

Consider working with a natural health practitioner to begin a detox program to kick off your new year. This is a fabulous way to get things started on the road to better wellness.

Travel Tips To Maintain Energy Throughout The Day

When you travel for your events, it’s not uncommon for the days to be VERY long. Travel adds a new level of stress to what we’ve already covered and requires a few more healthy choices. You must plan ahead to reduce as many travel stressors as possible. Some examples include:

  1. Bring food/water with you if you can – especially when driving. This helps with the inevitable roadside stops, which can result in purchasing unhealthy snacks.
  2. Be sure to pack some “just in case” supplements that you might need to help with issues around sleep, illness and digestive challenges.
  3. If you are driving, consider getting a bottle of good quality peppermint essential oil. This can be very helpful to smell if you start to feel drowsy when driving.

Your body is always trying to heal itself…all the time! We should all strive to make life choices that will support this and give it what it needs (nutrition, air, water, movement…) and take away things that are hurting it (low-quality foods, shallow breathing, sitting all day, dehydration). 

When you care for yourself, you are not only looking out for your own health, but you’re also putting yourself in a position to perform best for your team, customers and the overall event success.

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