With recent research showing that 76% of professionals are experiencing moderate to high levels of stress – an increase of 13% compared to 2022 – wellbeing is arguably more important now than at any time in recent years.
Having spent most of my career in direct marketing/CRM and insight, I recently retrained as a wellbeing practitioner and the two areas are more related than you might think.
In my previous career I was helping my employers and clients to focus on their customers’ needs, and now I am still focusing on others’ needs, only now it is with individuals or teams.
Many people have concerns and wishes for changes in their lives, whether improving their health or relationships, career progression or work/life balance. Like in my previous career, they too have to face structural barriers to making the changes they want to see, only now these involve their families, the pressures on their time, the bills they have to pay, rather than the demands of the market, regulatory pressures etc faced by companies.
I first became interested in wellbeing when I suddenly became ill about ten years ago. I had always prided myself on my health and fitness but developed a cough, a struggle to breathe and other symptoms which I could not shake off. I felt lethargic and wanted to sleep a lot – not ideal when you are a senior consultant within a large data consultancy with a long daily commute and a family.
I consulted my GP, who sent me for a range of tests, but these came back inconclusive. Researching online, I discovered Buteyko breathing treatment and invested in a course of private therapy. I was transformed by the experience. The physical symptoms I had been experiencing disappeared and I felt better than ever. I lost weight and found my sporting performance improved – even now at my ripe old age I still play semi-competitive football once a week, including with youngsters a third of my age!
I was so impressed that I had brought about these changes just by learning to breathe better, I ended up training in breathing therapy myself. I learned to meditate – not always as simple as just sitting still, especially for those of us with a constantly-spinning mind – and I trained in the Japanese art of Forest Bathing, which involves mindfully exploring nature.
I also trained in life coaching, with a particular emphasis on helping people in the corporate world still find time for family, friends, hobbies etc.
There are plenty of things we can all do at home to help our own physical and mental health; if there is one thing I have learned over the past decade, it is that it’s never too late to tackle your own wellbeing.
Nigel Grimes, formerly head of insight at BT, Centrica, Air Miles and RBS Insurance, is now a wellbeing practitioner. Find out more here> and here>