Exploring The Importance of Wellness at Events: A Guide

Events are an excellent way to learn new things and meet wonderful people. But they can also be incredibly stressful. Whether you’re at a work event or conference, or attending an event for a hobby, there are usually a lot of things happening around you – and it can be overwhelming. Fortunately, this has been recognised as a solvable issue over the past few years, and has led to the rise of event wellness being taken more seriously at the planning and execution stages.


But how can you incorporate aspects of health and wellbeing into your event? In this article, we’ll take you through some practical tips for wellness events, and some of the main principles guiding these measures.


What is wellness?

But first, let’s take a look at the terminology we’re using – for starters, what exactly is wellness and wellbeing?

According to the UK Department for Health and Social Care, wellbeing is defined as ‘feeling good and functioning well, and comprises an individual’s experience of their life; and a comparison of life circumstances with social norms and values.’ Alternatively, and more simply, the NHS tends to describe wellbeing as ‘the way people feel about themselves and their lives’.

So this is clearly relating to a combination of health factors, outside of simply physical or mental health.

However, we need to draw a clarifying line between the two terms of wellbeing and wellness. While they are both inherently linked, they aren’t entirely the same. Wellbeing is more general, and incorporates ideas about how you feel on the whole (physically, mentally, and emotionally). Whereas wellness is more proactive; this tends to be used when you’re actively working towards improving your wellbeing, either by completing wellness activities, or practising mindfulness.

So, when it comes to planning an event, wellness should be your focus as this will feed into the wellbeing of your attendees.  

How to incorporate wellness into event planning:

When it comes to prioritising wellness into your events planning, there are loads of simple but highly rewarding activities and small changes you can put in place that will have a big impact. Below, we’ve pulled together a selection of our top practical methods for improving event health and wellness, and why they’re useful for any event.

Use mindfulness techniques

Mindfulness has been touted as one of the best ways to reduce stress, and become more present in the moment. And this isn’t just a corporate buzzword, or new age way of thinking. Mindfulness activities are a useful, holistic way to improve wellness, and they’re incredibly easy to slot into an event schedule.

We recommend choosing from some of the activities below that will match the needs of your attendees, and the mood of the event.

  • Yoga: yoga is much more than stretching. This is a practice dating back centuries that focuses on a combination of movement, breathing, and introspection that can reduce stress and anxiety, and leave practitioners feeling grounded and refreshed.
  • Meditation: guided meditation is a wonderful way to help attendees take time for themselves and stay present. This can be done seated, standing, or lying down (according to preference), allowing for many people to take part at once. 

Top tip: if there’s room in your budget, why not bring in an experienced mediation leader to host classes? Alternatively, there are excellent apps and resources available for you to use for valuable but more budget-friendly options (like Headspace).

  • Breathing exercises: similarly to meditation, guided breathing exercises are a fantastic way to encourage wellness, and don’t have the space requirements of a yoga session. 
  • Mindfulness colouring: adult colouring books have become more popular as a way for people to take some time for a mental break during a conference or event. The repetitive movements are soothing, and allow people to practise mindfulness in their own way.
  • Crafting activities: crafts are another way to get people engaged in a relaxing way, as they’re concentrating on low-stakes activities. Try including space in your event schedule for a tie dye or bracelet making station for example – and this also gives people a memento of their event experience.

Head outside

Another easy way to encourage wellness at your event is to plan in some outside time. This could be through offering a range of outdoor sporting activities, like rounders and five-aside football, or something with a lower bodily impact, like tai chi. You could also coordinate optional morning runs to allow attendees to meet whilst still fitting in some daily exercise.

Or, take advantage of the local culture and partner with a local tour organisation to help your attendees explore more of the event area. Here at ACC Liverpool for example, we’re perfectly placed for guests to explore places of interest and local history along the dockside, and we think a walking tour is a wonderful way for people to explore our fantastic city and see what it has to offer.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a less strenuous way to get people enjoying the outdoors, you could organise an outdoor breakfast, or picnic at lunchtime. These are casual, more relaxed ways to encourage attendees to get some fresh air, and have conversations with those around. 

Note: getting your attendees outside is obviously weather dependent. If you can’t head fully outside, try to plan for covered areas where your attendees can still get some fresh air while remaining protected from the elements.

Allow for flexible scheduling

Nine times out of 10, your attendees are adults. As such, they should be allowed to have a say in their own sessions and conference schedules. This can help to improve their impression of your event, and means they can fully engage with the content they wish without spending time in areas they’re not interested in.

Rather than dictating a strict schedule to your attendees, try to allow for a certain amount of choice. This could be through letting them pick which breakout sessions they want to attend or creating topic pathways that can be held concurrently to help attendees make the best use of their time. This also reduces the chances of event burnout, as your attendees can make time for additional breaks, or more casual activities.

Additionally, having flexible scheduling could help to prevent bottlenecks during peak times. Staggering talks, breaks, and lunches can help people make the best choices for themselves, and protect their mental wellbeing – and reduce the wait times for different services and amenities, like queuing for the toilets, or getting a hot drink.

Top tip: diluting crowds can make your event more accessible for people with different access needs.

Communicate well in advance

Alongside allowing for more bespoke scheduling, you should make sure to communicate the plans for the event well in advance. This reduces event stress and anxiety because your attendees can prepare themselves for the event – they can figure out where they’re going, how they’re getting there, and arrange any pet sitting, childcare, or cover for any responsibilities within plenty of time.

This also helps any neurodivergent attendees, or those with additional needs, make any arrangements they need to ensure they can reduce their stress on the day(s).

Provide quiet areas

Designing your floor plan is a key part of organising an event or conference. You need to make sure you have enough space for sponsor and/or event booths, a variety of room sizes to suit your talk schedule, and enough space for catering. Plus, your attendees need to be able to move around between sessions, or stop for a chat whilst they’re networking.

All of this footfall can be quite overwhelming when the event comes around. Fortunately, there is something you can do at the planning stages to mitigate this – and that’s incorporate quiet spaces into your event floor plan.

Quiet spaces are designated areas where people can take some time for themselves, away from the main concourse of your event. Wherever possible, you should make sure there is soft lighting in these spaces, and plenty of comfortable seating. You should also try to make these rooms reasonably soundproofed to reduce noise pollution, and to allow attendees to fully separate themselves from the event and look after their mental health.

Note: make sure you choose a venue that has the capability to support your floor plan. Here at ACC Liverpool for example, we’re able to create quiet areas for your event upon request, helping you prioritise the wellbeing of your attendees.

Incorporate gamification

Gamification feels like a corporate buzzword, but it’s actually a lot more than that. Gamification refers to the idea of applying aspects of playing a game to other activities – like points scoring, competition between participants, a set of rules, and even rewards or prizes for ‘winning’.

At your event, you can incorporate gamification through a variety of ways. More overt ways include having games booths that have prizes like stickers, t-shirts, and other branded merchandise. Or, you could assign points to different activities like networking, or filling in a feedback form. These can then be totalled up at the end of the event and shout-outs or rewards given to the top 3 ‘players’.

Using a variety of gamification methods is a great way to add moments of fun and levity into the schedule to prevent people from getting burnt out by the event. It also allows people to choose their level of participation, which stops it from feeling patronising or too childish.

Remember accessibility

Everyone has a different definition of what wellness at events means for them. For some attendees, having quiet spaces and areas with fewer people can have a big impact on their enjoyment of the conference. For others, part of supporting their wellbeing is ensuring they can attend the event in the first place.

That’s why accessibility is absolutely vital when it comes to wellness events. From including closed captions and written transcripts of talks and videos to those with visual impairments, to creating hearing loops and having sign language interpreters available for deaf or hard of hearing attendees, there are a lot of measures you can implement to promote attendee wellbeing.

You should also make sure any pathways throughout your event are wide enough for wheelchair users, or those with mobility aids, to pass through comfortably.

Learn more about How to Make Your Event Accessible and Inclusive to All with ACC Liverpool.

Offer healthy food options

Looking after your attendees’ wellness isn’t just mental – it’s physical too. That means they need the right nourishment to make it through the event.

So, if you’re planning an event, try to ensure you choose healthy food options for your guests. Sticking with seasonal suppliers is a great way to maximise this, as you’ll have access to a wide range of fresh produce to design your menu with and ensure you can offer guests the best catering options.

One way outside of a fully catered event to offer healthy foods is to set up a juice bar. This is a place where attendees can create and customise their own smoothies or juice blends, and is a fun and engaging way to get people interested in healthy foods.

Alternatively, you could also set up healthy snack stands. These would provide your attendees the opportunity to pick up a piece of fruit or something similar in between sessions – and is also the perfect way to remind them to take breaks as they eat.

Top tip: just because you’re focusing on healthy food, this doesn’t mean you can’t (or shouldn’t) offer biscuits or small sweet snacks to your attendees. These provide a useful energy boost, and can help perk people up on a long day.

Install hydration stations

Alongside designing a majority healthy menu, you should also make sure your guests are drinking enough water to keep hydrated and refreshed – especially in the summer. That’s where ‘hydration stations’ can come in handy.

Setting up multiple stalls with jugs of water and cups helps to prevent long queues at the bar or water fountain. Plus, this can act as a visual reminder for people, and encourage them to drink more water throughout the event.

Top tip: why not offer branded reusable water bottles to your attendees upon entry? This is both functional and promotional.

Offer health screenings

One of the more popular trends to promote health is for event organisers to offer health screenings as part of activities at an event. These screenings tend to focus on more routine, regular aspects of a check-up – like taking blood pressure, checking blood sugar levels, and checking cholesterol.

If you’re a business that offers medical care to your employees, you could see if you can partner with your provider to offer this service at your events. This is an easy way for you to encourage attendees to consider their physical health – at events and outside of them. Or, for mental health, you could arrange for a selection of mental health professionals to attend your event and allow attendees to make appointments at a time that suits them.

Why is event wellness an important consideration?

As we’ve mentioned throughout this article, events are stressful. They can be amazing opportunities to have fun and make friends and important connections, but there’s no denying that they can also be mentally and physically draining.

This is where wellness comes in. Taking some time away from the main hustle and bustle of a conference, or attending a wellness event can have a marked impact on the wellbeing of your attendees. Some of the advantages of incorporating event wellness into your planning include:

  • Encouraging better networking opportunities: positive and happy attendees are more likely to have an easier time at networking events, and will put more of an effort into meeting and connecting with new people. 
  • Fostering better communication between attendees: alongside improving networking opportunities, prioritising wellness at events helps to create better lines of communication between attendees – both with other attendees, but also with event staff.
  • Improve attendee engagement: if attendees feel well-cared for, they’re more likely to engage with your content, contributing to the success of your event. They’re also more likely to leave valuable feedback and important zero-party data, which can help when it comes to planning future events.
  • Maintain a comfortable, supportive, and pleasant event environment: prioritising wellness makes your event a more positive and comfortable experience for everyone. Confident and happy attendees will have more fun, and improve the overall ‘vibe’ of your event.
  • Positive experiences encourage future attendance: with all this in mind, it’s unsurprising that attendees are more likely to attend future events if they have a positive experience at a previous one. Making sure to centre wellness helps attendees enjoy their time at a conference or event, and plan to do so again when the opportunity arises.

Taking a minute away from all the practicalities, let’s look at wellness events in simple terms. As an event organiser, you want your attendees to have a positive and enjoyable experience. Incorporating wellness activities into your schedule is a simple but effective way to ensure attendees have a good time, and go away talking about it.


Plan your next conference or event with ACC Liverpool

With plenty of experience hosting a wide variety of events and conferences under our belt, make sure you contact the team at ACC Liverpool. We have an exceptional range of tools to help you organise the best event for your attendees, including a Virtual Tour of our venue, and an Inclusivity Toolkit to help you make the best choices for all of your attendees.

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