Mindfulness, Self-care, and Avoiding Burnout

Mindfulness, Self-care, and Avoiding Burnout (feat. guest writer Elizabeth Whelan)


It is a fact that individuals who engage in mindfulness are better equipped to deal with the stresses and strains of professional and personal life; they are more productive, and are ready for anything that life today brings.

Elizabeth Whelan, Zestivo

Executive Assistants, PAs and office support professionals are no strangers to stress who demonstrate the epitome of keeping calm under pressure, juggling several tasks at once, and striving to keep things running without a hitch. With the added strain of trying to cope during a global pandemic and lockdown, it’s no wonder many of us are feeling particularly tense at the moment.

Stress can be a help and a hindrance to our work. It can be a driving force, encouraging us to complete things on time and to the best of our ability. However, it often works to our detriment, causing us to procrastinate, lose focus, and sometimes we can experience adverse effects on our health.

While work-related stress does take its toll on plenty of people, there are some professionals out there that are able to take it in their stride. This may be because certain personalities are simply more suited to pressure-filled situations. Another possible reason is that these employees have an effective toolkit that enables them to handle the heat well.

And that’s the key when it comes to addressing the stress in our life. Unfortunately, it’s near impossible to eradicate it completely, but the good news is, there are plenty of ways to manage it effectively. What’s more, there are experts out there who can help.

This week we spoke with health and wellbeing expert, Elizabeth Whelan of Zestivo, who provided us with advice on how to cope with stress, implement mindfulness and self-care into our routine, and key steps to avoid burnout.

Elizabeth Whelan

Elizabeth is an avid advocate for mindfulness, which is an important aspect of managing stress. “Mindfulness has been around for a long time”, she says, “but has developed far greater importance over the last few months as a result of the fear, anxiety, and uncertainty generated by Covid 19. As we know the role of Executive PA’s and support colleagues is challenging in itself, but with the development of working from home, greater reliance on technology, and changing work environments, these challenges are ever greater. It is important therefore that we develop coping techniques to assist us in our daily routines, and mindfulness can play a significant part in this journey.”

So how exactly do we ensure that we approach work (and life in general) in a mindful way? According to Elizabeth, “mindfulness is about maintaining a moment by moment awareness of your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and the surrounding environment through a gentle nurturing lead. At Zestivo, we promote 10 principles of Mindful Living www.zestivo.com. These are easy ways to incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine. “

The improvements that mindfulness brings to peoples’ lives speak for themselves. “It is a fact that individuals who engage in mindfulness are better equipped to deal with the stresses and strains of professional and personal life; they are more productive, and are ready for anything that life today brings.”

Self-care is “crucial” as we are faced with new circumstances and attempt to reconcile this “against an ever-changing environment”. It is the foundation of maintaining good health, mentally and physically. It involves giving ourselves sufficient nurture and respect in order to foster a healthy mindset.

Elizabeth outlines her steps to incorporating self-care into your routine as follows:


Elizabeth outlines her steps to incorporating self-care into your routine as follows:

Elizabeth’s Key Advice

“Mindfulness can assist this key component of your life by adopting a number of simple steps:

(A) Positive thinking

Your thoughts are a real force and energy and are having an effect on your life. You need to constantly be aware of your thoughts. When negative thoughts appear use the cancel, clear, and delete principle and replace these thoughts with positive alternatives. Remember you have a lot of positives in your life and by concentrating on these it will increase your productivity and your overall ability to achieve.

(B) Create a structure around your day

A win in the morning is a win for the day! Having a good morning routine is key to a successful day. Where possible start your day with positive thoughts, 10 minutes of mindful meditation, exercise, and a healthy nurturing breakfast. Structure your day if you are working from home, keep to a schedule with breaks every 30 minutes. Be focused on work goals, avoid the kitchen or other distractions until lunch or tea breaks. Have boundaries with family to avoid any conflicts or confusion and very importantly be clear what your work tasks are for the day.

C) Boost your immunity

Our immune system is our last line of defense against any illness and especially this virus. Fuelling your body with the good stuff, immune-boosting life energy foods is essential. Selecting tasty nourishing foods you love and using them to create mouth-watering meals. Cut down on your sugar intake; as sugar is an enemy of your immune system, it will zap your energies and can interfere with the way your body fights disease.

You need to put in place a regular eating routine ensuring you are eating a good breakfast, taking a healthy mid-day break, and consuming a nutritious evening meal. Drinking at least 6 to 8 glasses of water every day will hydrate the body and increase your energy. Beware of binge eating, overconsumption of fizzy drinks and overeating as these will drain the body’s energies. Meditating will boost your immune system, taking 10 to 20 minutes every day to relax the mind and connect.

(D) Protect yourself against negativity

While we can all take advantage of today’s amazing technology, we have access to, we need to keep it in perspective. Constantly watching and listening to news feeds on the COVID-19 virus development or economic recession can push individuals into fear and panic causing stress and anxiety. So, my advice is to minimize your exposure to news bulletins and reduce your viewing to once or twice a day.

(E) Togetherness

No matter what at the end of the day we all need one another. It is essential that we have daily contact over the phone or skype with friends, family and work colleagues to keep morale going. Although physical connections are limited, these can be easily substituted with other forms of interconnectivity to help us through each day.”

Elizabeth also highlights the side effects of experiencing extreme fatigue in response to new stressors that we are encountering. “With working at home now in vogue and increased pressures on Executive Assistants and PAs, you could be vulnerable to burnout. Burnout is a state of emotional physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.”


It goes without saying that you need to be able to recognise that you are burned out in order to start taking steps to recover. Elizabeth gives some key symptoms to look out for:

  • Every day is a bad day
  • Frustration with work and home life
  • Exhausted all the time
  • You feel nothing makes a difference
  • You feel not appreciated and have low self-esteem

So, you’ve ticked the boxes and concluded that your symptoms are more than those of just regular, everyday stress. What happens next?

“The main actions you need to take to address this serious condition are:

  • Recognise: Look out for the worrying signs.
  • Reverse: Undo the damage, maybe seeking support and manage your state.
  • Resilience: Build your resilience by following the Zestivo principles and self-care steps.
  • Remember to succeed: You can turn to others for help and most essential of all – have a positive mindset.”

Elizabeth also advises staying present as much as possible and taking a “day by day approach”, in order to stave off any anxiety that this situation is causing. “We are living in unprecedented times and the best way to get through it is to live your life in a more mindful way by taking each day as it comes. This gives you a sense of control over your daily life and the lives of those around you.”

“Make the rest of your life the best of your life”

Divine health, light, love and abundant blessings.

Elizabeth Whelan will be delivering her workshop ‘How to Avoid Burnout’ at the Executive PA Forum 2020 on Wednesday, November 4th. More details here.

Working from Home Can Work

Working from Home Can Work!

Note from Jackie:

2020 and beyond!  I am sure you will agree that we are in a changing world and nothing nor no one could have predicted where we are today. However, it is so important that we continue to connect, support and motivate each other during these unprecedented times. Be that change agent and continue to learn. Thank you Fiona and Aisling for this opportunity. You have been at the heart of Ireland’s platform in supporting Office Managers, PA’s, VA’s and business support professionals.

Working from Home

Background on Jackie

Company: Link Group, Belfast (Financial Services Industry – Banking and Credit Management)

Role: Office Manager 3 years in April 2017. I am first point of contact with overall responsibility for the safety, health and environmental (SH&E) well-being of 70 staff in the Belfast office and part of the wider facilities team based in Dublin and  Maynooth. I view my role as a three pronged approach: People First: with day to day HR duties, processing leave, training, travel and expenses, diary management. Systems and processes: updating various management information systems including eFinance / Epurchasing, IT support, corporate communications/ events management Facilities: carry out all risk assessments, monthly SH&E checks regarding office facilities. I am also the Qualified Display Screen Equipment (DSE) escalation assessor, Fire Warden and First Aid representative

Speaking from your own perspective, how have you adjusted to life working from home?

Under normal circumstances I have always had a positive attitude to change – a real change agent who adjusts and can focus on other people and their interactions however this is not normal circumstances so it has taken some time to adjust to home working.

No commute! Gone is the early morning 2000 step count made up by a brisk walk to the Park and Ride for Public Transport and in its place 30 paces down stairs to my home working station. During my 30 minute journey into the city centre I would check out Twitter / LinkedIn or read my book or have a chat.

What has been the biggest challenge for you?

There are 5 adults and one teenager at home, and all but one (front line worker) was jockeying for a work space! Prioritisation, delegation, time management and conflict resolution skills were put to the test to find a resolution that met everyone’s needs!

How do you organise your time and space in the home , home v office?

At first, I didn’t take regular breaks including lunch. I had a real case of presenteeism ( that is a word?) I had to be accountable and reachable. I didn’t want to miss a call, I had to be at my PC, or checking my phone. Now I am more settled and realistic in terms of flexibility. I go for a walk at lunchtime and now when I am on the phone I get up from my PC and walk around the house or the garden. I am going reaching my 10,000 step target which to me is important. I read Niamh Smithers’ interview and bought a white board so I can visually keep my ‘to do list’ up to date.

I really miss the social interaction with my colleagues, waiting on a response or resolving IT issues

What opportunities have you seen?

Working from home can work. Keeping in contact with conference calls, Zoom calls for both staff and family is important especially for people who are self-isolating at home alone. The difference between lone working and working alone. Knowing your colleagues and providing support even if it is a call. Not everyone is IT savvy! Continuing with Belfast PA Forum committee meetings via Zoom.

What positives have you seen?

We will all be impacted on in some way or another from Covid 19 whether is working from home, family working on the front line, job chances etc.. Be careful with what you absorb. Feed yourself with positivity and know that this is short term.

I am now seeing all of my family together (mum, brothers and sisters 8 of us) on a weekly zoom on Monday evening, Bingo on a Friday evening and then my own family, husband, 3 sons and 1 daughter take part in the Bara Best’s (UTV weather man) Quiz on Sunday evening. On our virtual coffee morning we get to see families, pets, etc.

Another positive I am noticing is that my children can see and hear me in work mode and appreciate that I ‘work and work hard’. I didn’t realise I had a telephone voice! Although they still expect me to come out of the office and into the kitchen. No commute time!

Can you tell us a couple of things that you are doing to improve staff morale?

Five for Friday –

  • good news stories,
  • office updates,
  • share webinar links,
  • posturite tips,
  • Virtual coffee mornings via zoom.

I share all webinar links with staff.

Any recommendations for any of the following (in terms of apps/programmes/software that are free / good value / only if you have budget

For teams Microsoft teamsFor tasks/to-do lists (personal and/or professionals): White boardFor video conferencing Zoom.us

Recommended webinars?

Lilly Shippen Homeworking – Managing your well-being

Lily Shippen – Prepare for normality after lockdown

Learning from Covid 19. Driving large scale cultural change around mental health from Unmind

Consensa MS Excel Webinar – Pivot Tables

Tips for a positive mindset?

“Guard the door to our mind”. Transform negative self – talk into positive self-talk and be your personal best.

Anything else that you’re finding really helpful/cannot live without?

Alexa! Not only do I listen to the radio every day but set reminders.

Any TV series/Netflix recommendations?

SAS Celebrity Who Dares Wins ( My son and I were due to see Ant Middleton’s Mind Over Muscle tour in November!

Note from the editor: Over the coming weeks, we’ll be interviewing a number or Ireland’s EAs, PAs and Officer Managers. If you would like to share your experiences with your peers then please get in touch. Email Aisling on aisling@zoomin.ie.


Working From Home? Structure is King!

As we embrace this new way of working, we find ourselves in this mandatory situation. For many, the absence of a commute and having more family time is a blessing. Speaking to many of you over the last few weeks, there was also a sense of wondering how to manage without the structure and discipline of a workplace.

Speaking with Lisa Sheil of Equinix, she has created their own structure that allows her 6km walks, virtual coffee mornings and ticking off the ever-growing to-do list! She was generous enough to share her experience with us, and really taking control of your time as much as possible is the biggest lesson here. Lisa is an Executive Assistant to the MD and is with the company nearly 2 years.

Lisa Sheil Equinox

What is your schedule like now?

“The first few weeks of this new normal were tough, I didn’t have any structure to my day so I was working longer hours and feeling very tired.” I am finding this structure really helps me to get my work done but also helps me feel better in myself, I feel a lot more productive.

My daily routine nowadays is I get up at 7.30am and I walk the dog, I come home, shower, have breakfast and I’m ready to logon at 8.30am.

I’ll take the dog for a quick walk around 11am and have a cuppa too. At lunchtime, I head out for a 6km walk and have a quick lunch so that I’m back on the laptop for the afternoon.

At the end of each day, I do my “to do list” for the following day so I try to stay on top of things as much as possible.

I also get the dog out for a walk when I finish work so that helps to close off the work day.

What has mainly changed for you on your work day?

This new way of working has pros and cons to be honest.

The cons are:

My boss is less accessible as I’m not in front of him and having our normal face to face chats
We do have scheduled catch up calls but I find face to face catch ups can be more productive long term
Another con is that I miss the social interaction of seeing my colleagues in the office.
The pros would be:

I am getting through “my own to-do list” much quicker as I am less accessible to the general office for random asks.
Another big thing is I am getting through so many things that have been on the long finger for so long as there are now a lot less distractions.

What is the one thing you’d got around to do that

I am on top of all quarter one expenses which is fantastic and I am staying on top of them now as I am prioritising these for myself.
I also have had the time to go through all PO’s which I raised over the last few months, I have followed up on issues with suppliers and our accounts departments.

How do you separate your work space from your home space?

I am lucky in that I am home by myself (and dog) each day as my husband is still working. I was also able to collect some equipment from the office (monitors, keyboard, headset etc.) which really helps have a workplace at home.

I am based in our dining room so I put as much stuff away as I can when I finish work and then I go for a walk to close out the work day.

Any recommendations for any of the following (in terms of apps/programmes/software that are free / good value / only if you have budget

I have been very lucky as my employer has been fantastic in helping the employees get through this difficult time;

We use Zoom and Teams for all our meetings now (and we encourage everyone to use the video so we can see each other)
We also have virtual coffee calls just to catch up with each other
We have regular All Hands calls to stay connected
We also have the option to join virtual yoga and meditation classes
For safely sharing documents, we use Box.

Any positive mindset things to do?

As I said earlier, I find getting out walking is a game changer for me and taking breaks too. It’s very easy to stay at the laptop all day long but I really think it is counter productive in the long run.

I am also trying out meditating in the mornings, I’ve heard it is great and sets you up for the day, I am currently trying out the Calm app.

Anything else that you’re finding really helpful/cannot live without?

I never have the TV on when I’m working from home, I find it too distracting but I do like having music on low or listening to a podcast can also help.

And finally… what has been a great watch on Netflix and why ? 🙂

Another good thing of not being able to get out and about is we have watched so much TV. Here are a few things I have watched recently:

  • Save me (Season 1) and Save me too (Season 2)
  • Ozark
  • Stranger
  • Safe
  • The Loudest Voice

Note from the editor: Over the coming weeks, we’ll be interviewing a number or Ireland’s EAs, PAs and Officer Managers. If you would like to share your experiences with your peers then please get in touch. Email Aisling on aisling@zoomin.ie.

Niamh Smithers

How are Ireland’s EAs, PAs, and Office Managers Managing Working From Home?

Without a doubt, one of the most important roles in any organisation, the role of the Executive Assistant is a multi-faceted, multi-functional, and multi-tasked!

This week I spoke to Executive Assistant in eShopWorld Niamh Smithers. Niamh is taking working from home in her stride and was good enough to take some time to chat through her routine with us.

Niamh Smithers

From Niamh,

Before I get into about me I hope you and your families are safe and well. To the Executive Assistants who are supporting those on the frontline, thank you for what you are doing.

I’m an Executive Assistant 14 years now – wow, I had to count that one out twice to make sure I was right, seems too long! I’ve worked in a few different industries but it was with Ulster Bank that began my career as an Executive Assistant but I’ve also had experience in Insurance, Telecommunications, TV, and now in Technology.

I’m based in Dublin and lucky for me I’ve only a 10-minute commute to work (currently it’s a two-second walk down the hall!!) after so many years of travelling into the city centre, further afield to Belfast, London, and Edinburgh.

My role in eShopWorld is primarily to support the Chief Operating Officer but I work with probably another three to four executives all having different needs so the role is varied as well as ensuring our office of 300+ is working and functioning.

Some refer to me as the concierge of eShopWorld or a living Alexa as I’ll do what I can to help or direct you to who you need to speak. The role is busy, it’s demanding, it’s interesting and varied but that’s what I enjoy so much about it.

What is your schedule like now?

I get up at roughly the same time, (maybe a walk) and dress in my work clothes. Maybe not the heels, but psychologically I am in a more focused headspace when I do as much of my regular routine as possible. So when normality is restored I’d like to think not as much will have changed.

How are you staying physically active?

Well as we are only allowed one form of exercise a day outside, I’ll vary when I go for a walk so it might be first thing in the morning, lunchtime or late evening. The other option then is to do a work out at home. There is so much online that you can really pick and choose what you want to do.

What has mainly changed for you on your work day?

How I engage with the executives and my general engagement with my colleagues. Being physically present you’re able to read someone’s mood, eye contact so you can understand how they’re feeling but with the no ‘Water Cooler’ chats going on, it’s hard to get a gauge of how people are feeling or what’s going on in the business without having to be in a meeting. So it’s trying to find a balance of keeping engagement with people.

How do you separate your work space from your home space?

I live in an apartment and although I’ve a spare room, there is no desk so I had to get creative around my work space. I’ve a dining table that flips out to sit eight people so as you can see in the photo, I’ve split half for work and half for sitting. So my living space has become three spaces now.

  • Living Room
  • Dining Room
  • Home office

Niamh Smithers


Any recommendations for any of the following (in terms of apps/programmes/software that are free / good value / only if you have budget

  • For communicating – Skype, Slack, WhatsApp, Phone
  • For safely sharing docs – OneDrive but if sharing with external parties I would recommend password protecting documents or confidential documents internal. During these current times, scammers/hackers do take advantage.
  • For organising your day/your Exec’s day – My two weekly catch-ups with the COO have now moved to Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for 15 mins to keep the engagement as well as when needed with text messages or email. I still have a weekly catch-up with others. However, I’ll just plough ahead when needed e.g. I’ll just go in and manage the conflicts. That’s the role of an EA to manage the schedule so the Executives don’t need to and being a step ahead. Taking the initiative.
  • To make sure my day is organised I schedule reminders/block my schedule in the morning for a walk/breakfast, lunch so I remember to look up from my desk and then a reminder to finish work by 6 pm -otherwise I won’t. During these times you can very easily get caught up when at home and forget to look at the clock as you’re not running from one meeting to another or looking to get home by a certain time.
  • For teams – Zoom or Skype with the video’s on, Slack channels
  • For tasks/to-do lists (personal and/or professionals) – I have to say I’m old school on this. I’ve a to-do list which is broken into Top 3 priorities today, to do and then break out of am/pm and then a To-Do book for the longer-term To do’s.
  • I am finding though my new whiteboard desk very handy for jotting down things as they come into my head or for a constant reminder. There was one I used with a previous executive Remember the Milk (the pro version you can share to-do lists with others and see when things are done or updated with notes)
  • For video conferencing – Zoom currently as Skype is feeling the effects of the demand on its platform. With video but remember your Video etiquette 🙂
  • For engagement with others – Having more regular and shorter catch-ups with your executives. Make a list of people in work to call or message at the start of the week to just check in to see how they are.
  • For getting involved – Look at areas where your strengths are which could be communications, activities to get people together, pulling information together for other areas. Even if it’s not your area, put a hand up and say you’ll help. This is a time where your skillset as an EA is adaptable. Just send an email saying I’m here to help they may not need it now but they will remember when they do.
  • For taking the opportunity – although it’s a time that is of uncertainty and keeping ourselves and family safe. Being there for each other as this is time for opportunities to reach out to friends you haven’t seen or spoken too.

Do the things you’ve been putting off in work as you haven’t had the time like:

  1. Procedure manuals
  2. Desktop filing or email organising
  3. Getting even more super organised
  4. Creating ‘The what you need to know’ for when you take leave
  5. Taking time out to spend some time on your PDP, reading an article, watching a webinar.
  6. Getting ready for review if you haven’t had it.
  7. Reviewing/adjusting your goals.
  8. Share articles with your executives or webinars or colleagues in general.
  9. Why not look at something that is done in the company that you think could do with some improvement or updating
  10. Ask to sit in on meetings you wouldn’t normally have time to do and learn about a new department or project that is being worked on.

Recommended webinar?

I’ve been on a few internal work webinars that have been arranged via our Learning and Development department which have been beneficial during the current times.

I attended the free conference being hosted by EPAA on Thursday 2nd of April and Friday 3rd of April. They had a lot of great sessions that I found useful and the live recordings can be found by clicking here: https://lnkd.in/dujKBEN

Any positive mindset things to do?

Get out for a walk, call a friend, only follow positive people on Instagram/Twitter, share the good and uplifting stories. There was a tweet around four days ago to say that 925 people in Italy were on the mend than the sad news of those passing. You want to feel good stories. Keep positive thoughts alive than letting them be dulled by the negative people and their thoughts.

Anything else that you’re finding really helpful/cannot live without?

My Alexa keeps me company daily from playing the radio or we may play a quiz or two although I wouldn’t say I’m any good at them but we all love someone who gives’ it a lash (as per quote from our very own President Michael D Higgins). Whatsapp for family engagements, as well as Zoom for catching up with so many friends and family in one go. It lifts everyone’s spirits.

And finally… what has been a great watch on Netflix and why ? 🙂

Oh I kinda just watch what’s in the top 10 or whatever I have put on My List but haven’t got to. The last four movies I watched  A Man on a Ledge, A Fall from Grace, Salt and Broken Edge (with 20mins to the end I only realised that I’d seen it before!)

I had been catching up on a series of programmes, I hadn’t been watching on my TV. So for the moment I think I can safely say I won’t be running out of things to watch!

Oh I kinda just watch what’s in the top 10 or whatever I have put on My List but haven’t got to. The last four movies I watched  A Man on a Ledge, A Fall from Grace, Salt and Broken Edge (with 20mins to the end I only realised that I’d seen it before!)

I had been catching up on a series of programmes, I hadn’t been watching on my TV. So for the moment I think I can safely say I won’t be running out of things to watch!

Note from the editor: Over the coming weeks, we’ll be interviewing a number or Ireland’s EAs, PAs and Officer Managers. If you would like to share your experiences with your peers then please get in touch. Email Aisling on aisling@zoomin.ie.

My Forum Experience

Last week I attended the only event for my profession in Ireland – “The Executive PA Forum” and I now have time to reflect as I’m up in the clouds away from distractions (literally I am but on a plane to sunnier climates).

When I think about last week, I initially think of the number of new people attending the forum and those who I get to see year on year, the support each other has for each other as every year goes on you feel like part of family who have a yearly reunion.


From a high level view of the speakers who spoke it was interesting that approximately 50% of them had previously been PA/EA and had gone on to others areas like a HR Director and setting up their own businesses. I think there great stories to hear cause it shows that the role of PA/EA gives you a great skill set, makes you ambitious but also makes you appreciate and know your self worth.

… So what did I learn or take away from this years forum which now has me reflecting on my role but also my personal life.

The role is evolving from your standard secretary to one of a leader in the business. Think for a moment what do you do in your role or if there is someone in your office who holds a role like EA/PA. They are the heart beat within a company, they know more than they say, they take in/store a lot of information and they are the links to a lot of what happens in a company.

Look at the diversity balance of the role. It is mostly women holding the support roles but there is a need for individuals to see themselves as leaders in the business, and companies too. The majority don’t see ourselves capable of doing the job that a man may think they can do 100% when in fact it’s 60% but flip those numbers for women when in fact they could do it 100%. Ask yourself what areas do I need to improve on to bring me to be a leader or be seen as a leader in my company?

In saying that, you need to understand your self-worth and the key areas that will keep you true to yourself. How you need to set yourself apart for others and not to fall in line with others. The areas shared were:

  • Positive self esteem
  • You are clear about your values
  • Set yourself apart
  • You believe you are good enough
  • You recognise the skills you bring to any table
  • You engage in work that is exciting and fulfilling

The thing about these six areas are they are all within your control and knowing who you are as a person but also in the role you hold. The people you surround yourself with should contribute to these and not take away from them. If you can answer “YES” then great, but how do you elevate it further and improve, cause there is always room for improvement. If your answer is “NO” then it’s time to re-assess what needs improving, who needs to be in your life and maybe not in your life.

The other focus of the Forum was about well being and looking after yourself in your role but in personal capacity as well. I’ve been a career Executive Assistant 12 years now and I always say anything I do, I do for others that at times you actually forget about yourself cause your focus is on others. There is more days than not where I think I’ve eaten cause I’ve probably gone to get food and got called on; looked up and it’s 3pm or went to go to bathroom but never actually making it cause you’ve been stopped 20 times on the short walk. I can tell a lot of you have nodded to the last part.

What each of the speakers taught me was about taking that time for you! Time to meditate, to bring yourself out of the chaotic zone of every day life, knowing the signs of when it is getting too much but knowing how to step back and hit the reset button. Being able to say ‘No’ to your manager or peers, knowing to deal with those times when things don’t go right and too move on.

But if someone treats you wrongly, know that you can stand up to them! Be very clear on your self worth and as scared as you may be to do that, nothing is scarier then letting someone take it way from you.

Did you every think about how many hours there is in a week? There is 168 hours in a week. Have you thought about what you spend these hours doing? I’m going to guess no for those reading this, so take the time to break it down by:

  • Hours sleeping
  • Hours working
  • Hours spent with family/friends
  • Hours just for you
  • Hours spent on learning, upgrading your knowledge, achieving goals
  • Hours spent on giving back

When you actually sit down to work this out and there is 0 – 4 in an area maybe it’s time to re-look of where you’re energy should be focused. Improve on areas to give yourself balance and the other areas will benefit. Putting more hours into the areas where it’s draining your energy will not have a good out come for you or those around you.

In summary of the day I know there are areas I need to action on and it gave me food for thought as it always does, as I come into mid year review in my company it’s prefect timing to asses where I am in my role, with my goals and as I head away from some downtime to hit the reset button.

I look forward to next years event on November 3rd, 2020 to see how I’ve progressed from this years forum and to see the new faces of this year who will become part of the family reunion and meet new attendees.

Remember to be the change you want and not what others see it to be.

Thanks for reading but remember I’m dyslexic so if it doesn’t read right, missed a word or spelling or grammar isn’t up to par, it’s just who I am #madebydyslexia

E.A. Niamh Smithers