On Mental Health Awareness Week, it’s important to take a step back from the spreadsheets, put down the registration apps, and give yourself time to slow down. Give your mind some much needed time. With event management being the 5th most stressful profession, it's vital that event professionals take care of their health and wellbeing. Here are 5 ways to take a step back and get mindful:
1. Enjoy the great outdoors
According to the latest research by Frontiers, taking at least 20 minutes out of your day to get outside in nature and connect with the great outdoors will significantly lower your stress hormone levels. Not only that but physical activity encourages the production of endorphins, commonly called the feel-good hormone, in the brain. Feeling good will help you feel more inspired when it comes to your personal and work life too, so it’s a win-win situation. Whether it’s going for a long walk or jog at the start or end of the day or on your lunch hour, or doing a spot of morning yoga, make time to connect with nature and feel the lasting benefits personally and professionally.
2. Put pen to paper
According to the University of Oregon, journaling and writing down things you’re grateful for, helps to maintain good health. Next time life is getting on top of you, go and buy yourself a nice journal or writing pad and make a list of all the things you’re grateful for. Recognising the things you are thankful for, writing them down and reading them back will increase your feel good chemicals and boost your mood.
3. Get your zzz’s in
A study by the University of South Florida has shown that shaving just 16 minutes off your regular sleep routine can dramatically impact job performance the next day and lead to feelings of more stress and anxiety. The study shows that a slight dip of sleep causes workers to have poor judgement and fall off-task which leads to a vicious cycle of stress and anxiety leading to another poor night’s sleep. Get into a good night time routine, whether it’s taking a relaxing bath, chamomile or mint tea or a good book. Be mindful of scrolling on social media before you sleep. Focus on relaxing your mind not over-stimulating it.
4. And…. breathe it out
Checking your breath and working on your breathing can dramatically improve feelings of stress and anxiety and really ground you. A quick fix breathing technique if you’re feeling overwhelmed and bogged down with stress or anxiety is the 7/11 technique. Breathe in for 7 and slowly out for 11, focusing on your breath and how it feels to release it fully. Not only will this help you feel calmer and reduce feelings of stress, but according to Trinity College Dublin, breath focused practices strengthen our ability to focus on tasks. There’s a scientifically proven neurophysiological link between breathing and attention, so not only will breathing work help you feel more positive but it can also dramatically improve your work life too!
5. Stop scrolling
We are all well versed in how bad social media is for our mental health. Whether it’s comparison, being the thief of joy, FOMO or winding yourself up stalking an ex’s profile; social media and good mental health rarely go hand in hand. According to a study carried out by The University of Pennsylvania and published in The Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, participants who only spent 10 minutes a day scrolling on social media felt mentally much healthier after the study. As the researchers expected, people who limited their social media use to 30 minutes felt significantly better after the three-week period, even reporting reduced loneliness and depression and much less anxiety. Set yourself a time period to go online and when your time is up, it’s up! Live your life on your own big screen not viewing other people’s lives through a tiny screen…
It is essential that we, as humans, take the time to reset and recharge. Practicing mindfulness helps to manage stress and the hectic lifestyles we all have. To put it simply, mindfulness is maintaining an awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surroundings. Try it, it might change your life.
By Lucy Saxton
Lucy Saxton is a journalist, content creator, social media advisor and broadcaster. Studying Criminology at Leicester Uni and completing an MA In print Journalism at The University of Sheffield, Lucy had ambitions of becoming the next female Morse but the pull of teen girls magazines saw her starting her career as Features Editor of the popular teen girls magazine, MIZZ Mag. Her highlights over ten years at MIZZ included a pub lock in with Westlife and turning up to an interview wearing the same outfit as Tom Jones. More recently, Lucy has worked for Cosmopolitan Magazine and Seventeen Magazine where her favourite features shoot included five 12 week old kittens. She sadly never got to work on the naked male centrefold. Lucy was previously a Journalist at M&IT Magazine which saw her travelling all around the world Judith Chalmers style and launching several social media channels for CAT MEDIA- it’s ALL about the hashtag. Lucy is a regular travel correspondent on BBC radio where her cackle of a laugh is particularly popular with listeners.More articles by Lucy Saxton