Behavioral health activities make your meetings THE place to be

Meeting professionals and the attendees at their events have a high level of responsibility. Naturally, their demanding positions can cause stress. By making efforts to pay attention to their mental health and manage it through activities that relieve stress, these professionals can be more resilient and successful despite the pressure they face in their careers.

Attention to wellness continues to rise. With it comes more attention to mental health and strategies to improve it. It’s common to hear people discussing burnout and overwhelm as common and fixable human experiences. Nearly anywhere you host your meeting, there are bound to be numerous activities that help your attendees take steps to improve their mental and behavioral health—and these activities go above and beyond.

How Behavioral Health Fits into Meetings

How do we handle stress? Are we able to roll with sudden changes and stay positive? Having good behavioral health helps people perform better in their work and successfully handle any ups and downs.

headshot of Victoria MateySmart Meetings spoke with event psychology advisor, Victoria Matey, co-founder of Matey Events, to learn more about how we can improve our mental and behavioral health and what team building and wellness activities can do for meetings. She says, “Behavioral health is all about how our emotions, thoughts, habits and behavior affect our well-being. When our behavioral health is good, we feel calm and happy. When its not so good, we feel stressed, sad and anxious and it makes us less productive.”

She explained that the three most important elements contributing to good mental and behavioral health are all personal habits. Make sure you are taking care of your body, developing and maintaining quality relationships with people in your life and implementing strategies that make your workload more manageable.

Read More: Hey, Busy Meeting Planner, You Feeling Stressed?

Beyond the personal habits necessary for good mental and behavioral health, certain activities can have major positive benefits. One activity won’t change a person’s life, but it can make one day better, or even inspire changes down the line. Some hotels and organizations offer unique activities that aim to do just this.

Meeting Activities Designed for Positive Mental Health                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Goat Yoga at Crystal Springs Resort

Guests at Crystal Springs Resort have the opportunity to participate in a one-hour yoga class suited for experience level. Yoga itself is a fantastic way to nurture your body and calm your mind. It is known to improve cardiac and respiratory health, increase flexibility, build strength and reduce stress.

Goat yoga for mental health
Goat Yoga at Crystal Springs Resort

Here’s the catch: in this yoga class, participants are joined by friendly goats! These goats bring an extra level of joy and fun to an already highly therapeutic exercise. After the yoga class, participants enjoy a 30-minute meet-and-greet with the goats they just exercised with. Spending time with animals also reduces stress and can even alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Goats are friendly, joyful animals who love to playfully interact with humans. Goat yoga has become a popular activity in recent years as people recognize the combined benefits of yoga and animal interaction. For only $49 per person, goat yoga at Crystal Springs Resort is certain to leave your attendees smiling, happy and connected.

Read More: Beat the Burnout with Our Stress-Less Strategies

Forest Bathing at Crystal Springs Resort

Forest bathing emerged in Japan in the 1980s as shinrin-yoku, meaning “taking in the forest atmosphere.” It offers an eco-antidote to people who feel overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of their daily lives as they take some time to practice mindfulness and appreciate nature. Research supports the idea that spending time in nature improves both physiological and mental health.

Forest bathing mental health activity
Forest Bathing at Crystal Springs Resort

At Crystal Springs Resort, guests can participate in a forest bathing session. An expert will lead participants on a guided walk through the forest and encourage them to focus on expanding their sensory awareness with sight, sound, scent and breath exercises. The walk concludes with a ten-minute guided meditation focused on connecting to the earth. This activity helps guests to slow down by deepening their connection to nature and their own senses. Afterwards, they return to their meeting feeling refreshed and calm.

In addition to Forest Bathing and Goat Yoga, Crystal Springs Resort offers many other incredible experiences, including guided hikes, botanical foraging, a sound bowl experience and bee box building.

The resort is just an hour outside of New York City, nestled along the edge of the Appalachian Mountains. With its two award-winning spas and host of rejuvenating activities, it is known for being a leading wellness destination. Across two hotel buildings, there is over 100,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor venue space.

Meditative Sound Baths at The Opus Westchester

meditative sound bath
Meditative Sound Bath

A “sound bath” is a meditative experience where participants are immersed in ambient sound. It allows people the opportunity to tune into one sense—hearing. A selected collection of sounds produced by gongs, chimes, percussion, rattles and more create a resonance that washes over listeners to help improve focus and creativity and allow the mind to relax. The part of our brain that processes sound also processes emotions, so certain sounds can be tailored to help people feel happier and more at ease.

The Opus Westchester offers meditative sound baths for groups, before or after a meeting or during breaks. This unique activity will help participants to unwind and feel more in tune with their minds and bodies, so they return to their meetings feeling uplifted.

Read More: Four Quick Ways to De-Stress During Meeting Crunch Time

The word “Opus” refers to both a musical composition and a large-scale artwork. True to its namesake, creativity, art and music are woven throughout all dimensions of the hotel. Located in the heart of Westchester, New York, the hotel offers ten different meeting spaces across 10,000 sq. ft., including multiple breakout rooms as well as large ballrooms.

Mixology Mixer

Mixology Mixer is a woman-owned company that offers unique hands-on mixology and cooking experiences for both in-person and virtual groups. At in-person events, they incorporate a specialty cocktail or spirit-tasting bar alongside mixology classes and culinary workshops. These activities are guided by professional mixologists, skilled in spirit and wine tasting, flair bartending and mixology.

Mixology Mixer cocktail package
Mixology Mixer Cocktail Package

Mixology Mixer has mastered the translation of their activities to virtual events. They will ship all the essential items—spirits, mixers, garnishes, recipe cards and a five-piece bar tool set—directly to each participant to make the experience as interactive as possible. The same professional mixologists guide participants digitally through mixing and sipping three unique craft cocktails.

Their mixology workshops are a delightful, unique interactive activity. By embarking on the memorable experience of crafting cocktails and sharing stories, your team is certain to have fun, foster connections and nurture strong camaraderie.

Happy Attendees Make All-Star Meetings

Matey makes the important point that company team building starts with the company culture. “If there’s nothing to build a connection on through a team building activity, it won’t do much for the people involved. But if people feel like they belong, have common goals and a shared identity, then the team building event will strengthen that connection.” She says that the most substantial and beneficial ways of helping your team manage stress require considering what kinds of emotions your team feels and then providing them with tools to help them manage stress in the long run.

And once again, one activity won’t alleviate anyone’s stress for good if they aren’t working to manage their mental health through sustainable, long-term personal habits. However, activities like these can help people set aside time to feel well-rested, happy and connected. These activities will give attendees a chance to re-set their minds and engage with their meetings on another level.

Read More: Work Smart: Mental Health Checklist