By Jillian Schranz

For months, we’ve been talking about THE RETURN TO LIVE EVENTS. (If you haven’t attended one of the many sessions I’ve presented in the past year on this topic, or read one of our many blog posts, are you even a fan of #eventlife?) But in all seriousness, what happens when the thing you’ve been working towards, the shift we’ve all been waiting for, suddenly becomes reality?

In a recent Forbes article, David Hessekiel pointed out that “with more than 3 in 5 Americans vaccinated — and restrictions easing — many peer-to-peer programs are moving forward with hybrid events that give supporters the option of gathering in person or virtually.” Did you catch that? He said “gathering in person.

For our Event 360 team, that means going from producing one single, solitary live event in 2020 to over 20 live events this year. Yes, that is incredibly exciting, and yes, we hope to share more in the upcoming months about all of our amazing events, but as the world reopens, it’s also really important to acknowledge that going from zero to sixty after being fortunate enough to make it through a global pandemic is a huge lift.

We know we’re not alone — many non-profit and events professionals are experiencing the same (seismic) shift in workload and opportunity. So, our gift to you is to share some of the ways our team is prioritizing their mental and physical well-being as we gear up for a busy event season.

Janelle Benuska | As we re-emerge into event life, bringing people back together, I plan to incorporate into our pre-event operations meeting(s) an open dialogue about having on-event check-ins with the team to honor any additional space or breaks needed. In our passion, commitment and enthusiasm for events and for our clients, it’s important to take breaks to take care of ourselves physically. So proactively building in mental health breaks and modeling that supportive culture will be just as important.

Jake Geiger | Stretch, stretch, stretch! I will also practice drinking more coffee.

Slade Thompson | Traveling makes it hard to find food that is good for me, so I’ll be spending a little more time seeking out those healthier options.

Kat Thomas | Build a routine! We’re all creatures of habit, right? Even during the busy event season, I do my best to create a travel routine. Once on the ground, you never know what will be thrown at you, so I try to create some normalcy. I treat my body right by eating a healthy breakfast, stop at my go-to coffee spot and even fill my water bottle at the same (coldest) water fountain once through airport security (I know; it’s an odd quirk). While I usually need to work on the flight, I try my best to sit with my eyes closed and have intentional thoughts during take-off and landing. I just spend a few moments where I’m not consuming content.

The best way to come home is a little solo time in the garden, a squeeze from my loved one and cuddles with my pup.

Cyrena Hillyard | Self-care for me post-pandemic is being able to see (vaccinated) friends, family and colleagues in person and not having to worry that one or all of us could get sick. Coming from an introvert, it’s amazing how nice it is to see people live in-person and not through a screen.

Joann Collins | Don’t be afraid to say no. Without the pandemic as an automatic excuse to turn down plans, invitations or requests, you may feel obligated to say “yes” to every opportunity that comes along. Know your limits. With weekdays extra busy with all the new event work coming in, it’s going to be important for me to try to preserve the unstructured, unscheduled weekend time that the pandemic brought, and not dive in headfirst trying to book every free hour with social plans or signing my kids up for every activity available. My self-care is going to be reminding myself that I don’t have to fill up my calendar just because I can.

As we gear back up for a real event season for the first time in over a year, I hope these tips help. We’re thrilled for the return to live events, but doing our best means being at our best, and that will require all of us taking care of ourselves and our team. Let’s go!

Jillian has worn many hats at Event 360 in the past 15 years – from fundraising coach to project manager, to event IT support. She knows our work and our team inside and out. In her current role as Director of Business Development, she can perfectly partner our clients with the services they need and ensure our team delivers flawless event experiences that yield happy participants and stellar results.

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