If you’re not a professional event organiser, finding a suitable venue for your next retreat or religious meeting may feel like a daunting task. Obvious practical priorities will include finding a venue with the right accommodation for your numbers, room capacities and catering options. The logistical aspects such as transport options and ease of access will come into play as well. And if your group is made up of families you will be considering which venue will be safe and welcoming to a variety of ages. So, with all these boxes to tick it’s very easy to forget about your attendees’ personal experience of their stay. In this blog, let’s take a moment to consider that particular aspect and look at one of the most valuable ways of ensuring your guests share a sense of harmony and wellbeing at your event.
Openness and fellowship
As hosts to many faith and spiritual meetings, we at The Venues Collection have discovered the importance of green spaces in setting the tone and mood of an event. Your guests may well arrive tired and stressed from their journey. The location will probably be new to them, which can create stress and anxiety. There will be a need to calm frazzled nerves and foster feelings of openness and fellowship within the group.
What better way to begin a religious retreat than by breathing in fresh air, tuning in to the birdsong and feasting your eyes on myriad shades of green?
Connecting with nature
Our parents and grandparents were more attuned to the natural world; they probably spent more of their childhoods playing in the garden and running in the fields. Today’s urban sprawl and 24/7 digital connectedness has turned much of our focus to concrete and screens. It takes some discipline (or possibly a dog!) to remind us to spend time outdoors.
And yet scientists have been proving in recent years that connecting with nature impacts in so many positive ways on our mental, as well as our physical, health and wellbeing.
In his podcast Just One Thing, Dr Michael Mosley talks about the health benefits of green spaces. He says spending time in nature can reduce your stress. Naturalist Emma Mitchell has written in her book The Wild Remedy about nature as an antidote to anxiety and depression, and the Japanese scientists who have been studying the therapy of Shinrin-yoku, or Forest Bathing, tell us that when we’re surrounded by trees the body enters a state of relaxation by calming the adrenalin and increased heartbeat triggered at times of stress.
A room with a view
If all this seems a step away from the practical responsibilities of organising a retreat, it’s worth simply bearing in mind the value of sourcing a venue that is set in its own parklands or gardens. With no additional work from you, members of your community will easily be able to experience these benefits throughout the duration of their stay.
Studies have shown that as little as 15 minutes surrounded by trees and greenery is good for our mental health. And if the weather is terrible? There are even studies proving that a view of nature from a window can have a positive effect on wellbeing and sleep quality.
Whether your programme is one of contemplation or discussion – or both – offering your group direct access to green spaces, will give the cognitive part of their brains a rest, facilitating mindfulness meditation and also enabling them to focus better when they do return to analytical thought and conversation.
Out of town
And, of course, for family groups the benefits of fresh air and exercise will need no explaining! A venue offering gardens or parkland is essential for children’s enjoyment of the event.
And our experience in catering for faith and spiritual meetings will ensure that we give dedicated personal attention to your specific requests and requirements.
If you’d like to look further into holding a retreat or faith event in one of our properties, please get in touch with our team to discuss: email@example.comGo back to other articles