I’m not one to meditate, but I can get lost in a heavy guitar riff

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Sophie Shepherd, AAT’s Head of Human Resources, set up a wellbeing group so employees could share their approaches to wellbeing, mental health and resilience. Here she shares what helps her.

Why did you volunteer to be a wellbeing champion?

The quick answer: because I set up the group…

The real answer: Wellbeing wasn’t something I actively thought about until a few years ago when I experienced a lot of grief and loss over a short period of time. I exercised because I enjoyed it but otherwise hadn’t given consideration to the fuller side of my own wellbeing. Going through a transformative period in my life meant I learnt a lot more about how to look after myself and I want to help other people whether that is by sharing information or being someone to talk to.

How does work potentially affect your wellbeing?

For me I can find it hard to switch off unless I am on top of my to-do list: I find myself thinking about work when I shouldn’t be. It’s therefore important for me not to procrastinate on the tasks I least want to do and prioritise my workload; just get it done rather than let it play on your mind!

How do you try to maintain your own good health during the working week?

For me I make sure I get outside before I start my working day, even if it’s pouring with rain and I’m working from home. I also enjoy an after-dinner walk to get the metabolism going, I’m grateful for the sunny evenings so I can get away from pavement pounding and into greenery. I also try to fit in yoga a couple of times a week – I wouldn’t have believed the physical and mental strength it builds. I have a couple of nights without TV, all I do is fall asleep on the sofa anyway (but maybe I’m watching the wrong programmes!).

What do you like to do in your free time that helps support your overall wellbeing?

I love listening to music and can find myself getting lost in a heavy guitar riff. I also try to spend as much time outside as possible, and if I can combine that with seeing family and friends all the better. I’ve never been one to meditate, but I find when I am outside my mind relaxes. I also really find yoga beneficial, although I only tend to notice the benefit if I’ve missed a few sessions.

If you could offer up one piece of advice, what would it be?

When things start to feel a bit much, take a step back and don’t be too hard on yourself. Talking to others about what you are thinking can often really help, when you say things out loud it releases them from your mind and can feel a whole lot more manageable.

AAT Comment offers news and opinion on the world of business and finance from the Association of Accounting Technicians.

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