Merging Work & Wellness

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work and live.

From my standpoint, as a yoga teacher, I am seeing burnout and stress on the rise since the onset of the pandemic, fuelled in large part by the need to juggle work demands with competing life responsibilities (parenting, caretaking, health issues, or otherwise).

The situation has led some to consider what they really want in a job and how that fits into their whole life.

This is a very different place to where things were when I entered the workforce as an Admin Assistant at the Scottish Government in 2008. First of all, merely having a job was a blessing and my primary objective was to hang on to it because Britain and much the rest of the world was going through a financial crisis. I was recently graduated and didn't feel I had enough worth to be picky and certainly didn't have the confidence to speak out about effects of overworking on my health and wellbeing.

As I became more qualified, my confidence in expressing my needs and being honest about mental health didn't improve (this is partly due to personal life long questions such as 'am I good enough?') but I still feel there are a lot of people out there would agree with my sentiments. I felt that telling my employer that I am suffering from burnout wouldn't get me far at work... that I would be seen as lacking resilience.

We had options for anonymous counselling sessions but to merely find their number on our outdated HR Intranet was impossible - its like it was designed not to be found. I do wonder, if I expressed what was really going on with my mental health if I would have progressed in my workplace as much as I did? Some of the characteristics always celebrated in me by my employers was the fact that I was dependable and resilient.

During the pandemic, especially the first year throughout 2020, I was approached by 5 companies to hold either a one off yoga workshop or a series of classes as part of their mental health awareness drive. That didn't stop. If anything, I feel by 2021 even more awareness had been generated for the need to take care of mentally exhausted workforce. With employers aware of this dynamic, they have no choice now but to listen to employees signalling that mental health support is an important benefit to them.

We are living in a unique time where more and more employers are becoming aware of the fact that corporate health and employee well-being have never been more important. The resilience of their workforce affects their performance, and they can no longer separate profits, productivity, and collective health and well-being.

So in amongst all this change and new found awareness amongst many forward thinking companies, let's think about how good you are as an individual, at taking care of yourself? Do you know what you need to help you thrive? Do you consistently check in with what you need to help you perform better at work and in life? Now check-ins are one you act on this? Unfortunately a lot of people don't!!! I believe this is where we need to start. Before anyone can help you, you need to be clear on what help you require to thrive so that you can ASK for that help.

I realise that there are a myriad of circumstances and some people simply do not have the luxury to dedicate an hour to yoga, but hear me out. In early 2020 there was a series of Deepak Chopra Meditations on 21 Days of Abundance. Clearly designed to suit a modern human -  you received the recording daily by WhatsApp, the recording was 20 mins long and the point was to stay consistent with it for 21 days. I led so many of these at the start of the year, carried on throughout the pandemic and then began to create my own. I offered this as a free add on to corporate clients where I was a resident yoga teacher.

This was in response to people constantly ASKING ME to create a manageable container where they can learn to meditate daily because they believed this would help their mental health. The meditations I created were actually 10 minutes long so literally no excuse to say 'I have no time'. Do you want to guess how many people stuck around to the end of the 21 day programme?........That's right, most of the time none AND those rare people who did stick around are still meditating or practicing yoga with me 2 years on.

Meditation is only one example... some people NEED to go for a run in the middle of the day, others need to do yoga and others need to be able to check out of work consistently at a certain time to make time for socialising or family. Whatever you need to recharge and be better in life and work you need to first identify it and only then you can build strategies to implement them into your life, and one of those strategies is being able to communicate them to your employer.

I am so excited to be living in an age of change and innovation. Despite the challenges we are facing in our world right now - pandemic and war to name top 2 - our ancestors have faced these difficulties again and again, so we can too. What we do with the lessons that these challenges hold for us is really the key for growth and maybe even spiritual transcendence. Whenever I go through a difficult time and things feel absolutely impossible I ask myself... is this experience going to be my superpower one day or will it be my downfall? As long as there is a spark in my eye, I choose superpower every day.

So my message to you is to take time to listen to what you need to thrive in life. Only when you listen you can learn to express your needs to the people around you and the people you work with. A simple 'no I cannot take on this project at the moment because I have a lot on right now' - will not cost you a promotion. Instead you will be able to dedicate your creativity and do a great job on the work at hand without spreading thin. This might set an example for others around you to be able to communicate their needs. Next thing you know, you have began a revolution!

If you have any yoga related questions and considered yogic practices as a way to nourish yourself and find equilibrium then reach out to me with questions/comments. I can direct you to books, resources, apps, yoga studios and teachers who might be able to inspire you to learn more.

Remember, I still offer one to one classes and corporate classes (online) - I might be super pregnant but I am still strong and passionate about holding space for my peeps!

Below are a few resources on my site which you might consider looking into, as well as my fortnightly timetable of live zoom classes.

One simple step can make a huge difference!

Resources on Yoga With Sabina Podia Site:

 Cultivating Resilience in Mind & Body £19.99 - This course is broken down into 3 sections - Breath, Body, Mind & Emotions. You can practice at your own pace, learn about ancient yogic practices and how they can help you - a modern human - to live a better, more balanced life. There are some longer practices and some very short ones to help you fit this course into your life conveniently.

Yoga Nidra - A Four Part Journey FREE - This free course offers an introduction to Yoga Nidra (Yogic Sleep) and comes with short essays explaining the 'science' behind how this ancient and healing practice can help you recharge, help with insomnia, anxiety and be an anchor through a difficult time.

Mindful Meditations £19.99 - This sections contains all the meditations I have created and shared with you in the past and more. They are all organised in one space - 10 Day Elevated Emotions Meditation, 10 Day Mudra Meditation, 7 Part Chakra Meditation, 8 Phase Meditation (inspired by my meditation teacher Jambo) and more. 

The Yoke Wellness Ambassador,

Sabina Ahmadov

Want to learn more about how you can Feel The Best You've Ever Felt? Click here to subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

Heather from London says, "I have improved my life so much from it - my favourite newsletter of the week!"

Leave a comment