Putting the We Into Wellness

Wellness session with a group of women doing yoga on a deck outside a building

Skift Take

When it comes to meetings and events, wellness must encompass the entire group, not just a few individuals.

David T. Stevens is the co-founder of Olympian Meeting, a company specializing in mindfulness and wellness for meetings and events.

“Wellness isn’t a siloed approach,” says Stevens. “You can’t lift your way to a positive mindset or meditate your cholesterol down.”

Stevens’ approach involves the design of the agenda, food that is served, including some sort of movement, setting the room in a way that keeps attendees in mind, and the timing of things.

Dami Kim, director of Body and Brain Corporate Wellness, focuses on the body and brain connection and how that works.  

A principle she incorporates into the events she helps facilitate is, “Water Up, Fire Down.” When you have good energy flow according to Water Up, Fire Down, you’re in harmony with nature’s balance and your own natural healing ability.

Stevens and Kim are sharing their insights on wellness at the Skift Meetings’ Future of the Events Industry 2024 virtual summit on February 28.

Wellness Washing

Both Kim and Stevens question the intent of challenges. “Competing to be well is not beneficial,” says Kim. For instance, sleep is overlooked, says Stevens. “Why isn’t sleep part of all these wellness challenges,” he asks.

Many companies preach the benefits but don’t implement practices to help. Stevens calls this “wellness washing.”

“If the agenda goes from 8 a.m. until midnight, the only wellness activity is yoga at 6 a.m., and the ‘healthy’ options are smoothies loaded with sugar and fried tofu, this is wellness theater,” says Stevens. “Wellness with no intention is checking a box.”

Evolving Event Practices

According to Stevens, events should take into account the circadian rhythms of attendees. Also, they plan for a postprandial somnolence, or energy dip, about two hours after lunch. This is the opportune time to plan a hands-on activity with attendees up and moving around.

“We have so much science about wellness, but our events haven’t evolved,” says Stevens.

Caesars Entertainment has tapped into Kim’s expertise and created a new meetings wellness menu incorporating far more than just healthy food and beverages. 

One of the options offered is EFT tapping, a mind-body technique that utilizes acupuncture points on the hands, face, and body. It helps relieve stress by stimulating the nervous system and is one of Kim’s favorite ways to kick off a meeting.