Our Wellbeing Top Tips | Pause with Pracedo
This week we wanted to highlight wellbeing for the Pracedo team and our customers. The global pandemic has created personal and emotional challenges for everyone over the last year. Our wellbeing week is our way of saying thank you to our team for the hard work they’ve done over the last year and create moments of rest and relaxation for them.
Below are some of the top tips our team use for managing their wellbeing.
Running with Ellie Copp
Like all relationships, there are times when I am besotted with running, and others when I need to take a break. I hated running when I was at school, and we used to have to do the dreaded “Loop” at secondary school, running round the park in purple gym knickers with go-faster racing stripes down the side, diving into bushes to hide with friends in an attempt to fool the teachers into thinking we had ran the whole thing. It wasn’t until I went to university that I decided I actually quite liked it, and moreover, I was quite good at it. I couldn’t run a mile without stopping in the beginning, but moving to Barcelona in my third year I found myself running miles along the shoreline and soon I was doing 10K and half marathon events for fun.
Over the years I’ve gone through periods of time where I would think nothing of spending my Sundays running 20k all over London, and periods where I go months on end without even a light jog. The second half of 2019 was one of those times, and I had probably spent about 6 months without any meaningful distance in the run-up to March 2020.
As we entered lockdown in March last year, I decided to go home to Liverpool and stay with my parents, ostensibly to help them look after my 6-year-old nephew who they foster, but really it was so I could take advantage of Mum’s cooking. It was there that I picked my running back up because it’s something that I always do with my dad. He is a big runner – he has completed many marathons and was livid that he couldn’t run another last year as he jumped into the over 70 categories and was convinced he would be the fastest in his age group. As someone who spent 2 months trying to keep up with him, I’m inclined to agree. It started off with short distances, but by the end of the first lockdown, we were doing long sections of the old railway, locally known as the Ralla, which is a 10 mile stretch of path near to my parents’ house.
That was the beginning of a lockdown obsession for me. I ran 50km in May, I ran 100km in June and decided I might as well run 100 miles (160km) in July. A stress fracture in September put a pause to my escapades, else I think I would have ended up in Forrest Gump territory. I’m back to it now and am loving it. The best thing about running for me is that it gives me different levels of mental clarity. If I’m stuck with something with work, I will go out for a run, stick some music on and think it through. The change of scene and the distraction can help me to focus more. On the flip side of that, I can also use it as a complete holiday from my thoughts. In those scenarios, I put on a great podcast or an audiobook and get completely wrapped up in what I’m listening to. I’m not a fan of a treadmill, so I have my regular routes, but lockdown running forced me to try new ones. This led to me exploring South East London more than I ever had before, finding new bakeries and coffee shops, and new parks and rivers that I hadn’t visited in the 7 years I’ve lived here.
Running in the winter is such an ordeal, from all the layers you need to pile on (and at some point peel off whilst somehow keeping on your person as you warm up) to worrying, as a woman, when you can fit a run in, whether you have time to run before it gets dark, or whether you can plan a route that is well lit and will have a good number of people around. During the winter just gone, I would block time out in my calendar, go for a run in the daytime and then catch up on work later into the evening, which I had the freedom to do working from home. I am really looking forward to the summer evenings, as you can go for hours in the cooler evening air but it isn’t too dark and there are still plenty of people around.
For anyone looking to get into running, I would say don’t put any pressure on yourself. The best thing about running is that it requires minimal investment, and is therefore really accessible as a sport. You just need a half-decent pair of trainers and you’re away. If you are starting out, I wouldn’t have a distance or expectation in mind. Find a park you like, and run a bit. If you have to walk, then walk a bit. Next time you go out, try and run a bit further and walk a bit less. Nobody goes out into their first run and smashes a 5k, so be kind to yourself, find a good podcast, and just put one foot in front of the other!
Eating well with Jess Thompson
‘Eating well’ can mean so many different things. To one person, it may mean eating enough. To another, it might mean eating healthy. We all have different ideas around what it is to ‘eat well’. But there is one thing that we can all agree on – food is health. For so many of us, it’s been a challenge to maintain physical and mental fitness over the last year. For me, food has always been central to my sanity. Not only does cooking keep me busy, but it also gives me a great sense of reward and recognition. It’s no wonder baking soared as Britain sought to beat lockdown. More than half of the population spent more time with their ovens.
The key to eating well is enjoying the food you make and the process of making it. This way, not only your body benefits – your mind can benefit too. Often, our bodies tell us what they need. Food cravings can mean your body lacks certain nutrients, needs to balance hormones or comfort your emotional state. It’s essential to pay attention to these signals and look at your body and mind’s broader benefits when deciding whether to act on them.
Food has and always will find a way to heal us. So with every meal, an opportunity presents itself. If eating is something we need to do each day, why wouldn’t we make the most out of it?
Here are three of my favourite recipes:
Yoga with Kristin Schutz
Prior to Covid, I would attend yoga sessions as my local rec centre about once a week. And it has been one of the few things I’ve been able to carry on doing during lockdown thanks to our instructor offering live, online sessions. I was sceptical about online classes – why pay for a class when I can watch a video online? But having a live instructor to see how I’m doing, or for me to ask questions to is invaluable to me. I recognise that not everyone can afford to pay for yoga sessions, and wellness is a privilege. Just watching a video once a week will do wonders for your body and mind.
Continuing my practice has been so important this past year. While working from home it’s hard to have a work-life balance; in other words, it’s easy to continue working through the evening without the commute to break up the day. The online yoga sessions have brought balance to my life; every Thursday evening I have a reason to step away from work and engage with the cross-section of the physical and spiritual.
Even before Covid, yoga was important to my mental and spiritual health. The thoughtful focus on breath during the sessions is a skill I carried into my daily life when I would feel anxiety rising. It gave me the chance to step away from the chaos of everyday life and into a dim, incense-filled room where nothing mattered but the movement of my body and breath.
Yoga is an ancient Indian practice. We must be conscious of this, respect its origins, and make space for all to practice. When choosing a video to watch or an instructor, be sure that they have studied the tradition and live its values. You may find these resources helpful in your yoga journey:
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