Since workplace wellness is top of the agenda here at EazySAFE, the company kindly sponsored tickets for staff to attend Ireland’s only health, fitness and wellness festival – WellFest. Through this event, EazySAFE hoped to inspire staff to keep fit, to take care of their health through good nutrition and to highlight the link between a strong body and a strong mind. The event took place in Herbert Park and was by all accounts a wonderful day out.
Here are some of the stories, fabulous photos and an awesome little video the team brought back from their trip to WellFest…
“I really enjoyed the visit to Wellfest, as did my companions. Most of the space at the event was given over to the physical aspects of wellness (e.g. Yoga, Pilates, TRX, Bodybuilding), and I was slightly disappointed at the relatively small amount of space afforded to “WellMind”. The organisers should look at making that space bigger next time, as it was hard to get a place inside the tent at some of the talks.
It had me pondering which comes first – a well mind or a well body? It is easier to judge wellness at a surface physical level, but what goes on in the mind is, in my view, even more important to begin with. How and ever, that’s probably an ecumenical matter!
One talk which interested me in particular was about digital distraction/absorption and how to live a more balanced life where technology enhances rather than dominates.
The always-on, instant reply nature of communication today is extremely unhealthy for mind and body. The big culprit in all of this is the mobile phone. It makes it impossible for many to leave their work behind with the ever present pull of the office in the pocket. Companies that allow this culture to develop are in danger of pushing employees to burnout. Nobody wins in those situations. It really takes strong will and determination to bring about change on a personal and business level, but it can start in small ways such as:
- leaving phones off desks at meetings;
- starting every day by opening the curtains and looking at the clouds and sky rather than an electronic device;
- installing an app which disables office mail out of hours;
- leaving phone in a drawer during the day and only check it at specific times.
All of these can contribute to overall wellness and are easy to start with.
Looking forward to WellFest 2018!”
“I should have put a little more time into preparing for our trip to WellFest 2017 … jeans and a shirt were not the attire for the day. The good weather and the good people of WellFest bring out the best in everyone. If you haven’t got a leotard on you look slightly out of place. Pushing yourself too the limit is the name of the game for some. Getting in the zone with some yoga is the order of the day for others.
First area we hit on entering is TRX training, the crew here have the punters puffing and panting, I’m out of breath just looking at them. But they’re finishing the routine with smiles and high fives all round. There is yoga to the right. We join in here and twist ourselves as far our bodies allow, not as strenuous but you feel great shortly after.
I met a guy Mark Lacey, who was involved in my local GAA club Lucan Sarsfields. Mark runs a successful TRX gym in Palmerston. He started out small a few years ago and now has over 500 regular members and 2500 people on his books. This is big business and you can see the attraction for his followers. He’s got the music rocking here and I have a go for a couple of minutes before the sweat breaks out. Time to move on or the shirt will start sticking to me and things could get slightly uncomfortable.
There are numerous stands with healthy snacks and food. We taste the samples and generally accept that healthy food can be as nice as some of the rubbish that we put into our bodies. The day is getting on and sun is still beating down. The atmosphere is both electric and chilled all mixed into one. It’s nearly time to head home and we treat ourselves to an ice cream, naughty for the day that’s in it, but nice all the same.
So I’m standing at the bus stop with my wife Marian waiting for our transport home. In the few minutes that we are waiting, an old man beside us, maybe in his 70s, who was reading the paper, starts doing push ups on the seat then goes on to wiggling his hands and finally finishes with stretching his hands over his head. Men and women walk by with dogs, four young lads on bikes scoot by at speed.
We all could be that old man, we all should be the dog walkers, we all should be the lads on the bikes. Did I learn anything today? You bet – get out there and enjoy life, exercise or go for a walk. It will take all your worries away and when you get home you’ll feel all the better for it, we did!”
“A fantastic day! John Kavanagh (Coach Kavanagh) was the main attraction for me with a Q&A at WellTalk. He was informative and light-hearted (also got my book signed – cheers John!). WellFest itself was great – excellently organised with friendly staff. Food, as you would expect, was delicious and healthy. Looking forward to seeing where they take it next year. ”
“On the second day of the WellFest event, the weather was glorious with blue skies and not a cloud to be seen. Herbert Park was green and clean, spotted with white marquees. Looking at people’s faces you could see the attendees, both children and adults, were happy and energised souls. The organisers too were dressed for the occasion and worked seemingly without effort to keep things going. The speakers/trainers maintained an atmosphere of motivated fun.
This kind of atmosphere does not happen by accident. The organisers found the right people for every task. The people on the gate were confident and eager to help, the speakers were knowledgeable and left a plenty of time for questions from the audience.
There was a great mix of activities but for me there were three sessions that really made the day.
My first full session set the tone for the day. Derek O’Boyle presented “Making your Mind your Best Friend”. Derek broke the audience into pairs and got them to introduce themselves to each other. Then he went through team exercises to help attendees to see how the way you think affects the real world, including your physical wellbeing. So Derek’s messages were to keep thinking about things as if they were the way you would like, this will make exercising easier and your life more positive. And even though we cannot always be active or positive, we should try to do this as often as we can, because we are all amazing, even when we don’t feel like it.
Jenny Keane, in the WellYoga area, light-heartedly guided attendees through the “Meditative Slow Flow” yoga session. I am not a yoga practitioner, but very quickly Jenny made us all feel comfortable. She did not just guide us through the physical movements, Jenny also explained the philosophy behind yoga practice. She made the session feel intimate by liberally discussing her own interpretations, thoughts and experiences. Jenny made this a real treat.
The third session that sparkled for me was in the afternoon in the WellKids area. I did not participate, but my daughter did. Les Mills led the children in dancing and yoga.
Participating in the event made it clear that wellness not just the domain for the motivated, gym-going few. It is a moment to moment choice to be thoughtful and active. And this choice is available to all ages, every day.”
Of course, the workplace is not solely responsible for creating such high levels of mental ill health but the workplace can be a perfect breeding ground for triggers, which instigate or compound mental health difficulties.
Going back to work for the first time after maternity leave can be different for everyone. Some women will be looking forward to it and some will be dreading it, most will be a mix of the two.
For some employees, living the reality of work life balance comes more naturally. For others, it seems far out of their reach. It probably has a lot to do with personality type and how people view their lives and what is really important to them.