Between us we have over 40 years experience working in the highly demanding banking and corporate sector. Therefore, we understand only to well the detrimental and serious impact of poor mental health in the work place.
Through our personal experiences of work place stress, as well as observing those of our former colleagues, we believe most of us have experienced this to some extent. Which we tolerate without much question and commonly take home with us.
We both had exciting and financially rewarding roles that provided amazing life styles, especially as single working parents. We were accepting of the environment which entailed long hours, crazy deadlines and increasing demands due to the re-numeration that came with it. It was culturally accepted that stress and anxiety just ‘went with the territory’ but overtime acceptance of this no longer outweighed the impact and we would often wake up feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.
We both recognised that we needed to take a step back and acknowledge that leaving burn out unchecked was having serious consequences for our health. Between us we came up with ideas that were as simple as talking openly with trusted colleagues and other working parents to identify potential ways to make our days easier.
We considered and implemented smarter ways of working and it soon became apparent that changes didn’t need to big or complicated to work. Focusing on our environment and how we spent our time was key. When we felt screened out, especially when working from home, we would take intentioned breaks throughout the day. This would rest our minds, helping us feel less digitized in our headspace and less stressed out.
This ultimately led to the creation of Self Hack.
How I remember this specific time in my life was basically how bad I felt; quickly becoming irritable at small things that would make me feel hostile and angry. This created a sense of detachment from my work and I started to cut corners, doing the bare minimum to get my day done and get out. Overtime I started to experience regular negative self talk and started questioning my own competence. I had low morale and reduced productivity. I was at a point that my stress had peaked, had become chronic and was taking a toll on my mental and physical health.
I knew I could no longer put this down to the inevitable consequence of a busy, hectic lifestyle anymore. I began to focus my attention towards my productivity levels throughout the day. By doing this I had a much better feel for my emotions and energy and would know when to take a constructive pause. With a growing awareness of what was working for me, I decided I wanted to make a difference not just to improve my life but to those of others by sharing the effective changes that were beginning to have a significant positive effect on my life. This drove my interest to better understand the cause and effect of stress and anxiety, especially in relation to the work place. This led me to train as a corporate mental health facilitator.
I had been signed off with stress on more than one occasion during my work life, with one episode being acute which created a significant break in my career. Over the years I experienced further periods of absence through not being able to face the increasing pressure, relentless work stack and often unrealistic expectations day in day out. As a senior leader and manager of people, I also witnessed many members of my own team finding themselves in the same position despite the heartfelt support of our managers.
Consequentially I was only too aware of the impacts on both the individual, the team and our performance and conscious that not all aspects of poor mental health were captured by the frameworks in place. Burnt out, drowning, desperate and unhappy I began to explore practical ways to ease the crippling strain that I was, at my worst, experiencing all day every day. Key to improving my mental health were meditation and mindfulness techniques, both intrinsic to Self Hack’s offering. By integrating a meditation practice into my daily routine, I quickly saw huge benefits allowing me to control the downward spiral of negative talk that leads to stress and anxiety. Embedding a daily meditation practice has truly turned my life around. Meditation provided the clarity, inspiration and focus that led me to eventually train as a meditation teacher and corporate mental health facilitator in order to share these empowering tools with others.
We are both passionate in our vision to change the culture and understanding towards mental health and we want to amplify this message with the education and tooling we provide at Self Hack.
Angie is a fully qualified counsellor (CPCAB) and a member of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP).
Her counselling modality is a person-centred approach. Placing the individual at the centre of the service in order to support them in achieving their goals. Sessions are tailored to suit each individual's needs and unique circumstances.
Angie has extensive experience in bereavement and addiction therapy and also children's counselling. She has successfully helped individuals with stress, anxiety and eating disorders, through her confidential, empathetic and non-judgemental approach.
Leah is a qualified yoga teacher and is accomplished in various styles of yoga at an advanced teaching level.
In 2016 she completed Ashtanga Vinyasa practice and travelled to Bali to
undertake advanced teacher training program in Bali for therapeutic yoga.
This is where she realised her true vocation; to teach the practice of yoga
and its benefits to others.
Leah also instructs Yin yoga, which targets the meridians in the body to help remove blockages that could lead to certain ailments.
Today she mostly works with office/desk-based companies to help improve their posture and reduce stress and burnout. Working with them on optimal postural alignment using a combination of simple exercises and breathing techniques, Leah has seen tremendous and long-lasting results for her clients.
Leah is deeply passionate about helping people implement and maintain the yoga techniques she has taught them, to create healthier balance and positive sense of wellbeing.