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COMMUNITY UPDATE

Criticaleye's Community Updates are read each week by Members, registered users, and subscribers globally. Click on any of the topics below to see the corresponding newsletter. If you would like to comment further on any of these topics, write to us via info@criticaleye.com.






The pressure on people and performance is mounting, especially as the cracks start to appear in working purely via videocalls and emails. It’s a time where senior executives must remember to prioritise mental health and wellbeing, checking in not only on the people they lead, but also themselves. 
 
Criticaleye asked members of its Community how they are boosting their resilience.

This is what they said:
 

Michele Faull, Former CFO, Coventry Building Society
 
How do you look after your own mental health and wellbeing?
 
I try to get out and walk every day. It’s as much about being outside as it is about exercising – I’ve really made a conscious effort with this since lockdown. I also do mindfulness exercises and meditation. I pack away all my work things when I finish for the day, so they’re out of sight. This has become more important since being in one place all the time. Finally, I make sure I do something each day that I really want to do.
 
2020 forced many people to dig deep on their emotional reserves. How have you maintained your resilience?
 
A personal coach once told me to be really clear on why I’m doing what I’m doing, and what is in it for me, and that’s even more relevant now. It’s recognising that even in these circumstances we have a choice about how we spend our time and why we do what we do. A real driver for me in my personal and professional life has been to know that what I do is making a difference. 
 
Do you recommend any resources on maintaining good health?
 
I use the Calm app for my morning meditation and if I’m struggling to sleep at night. I’m also a big believer 
in The Real Deal, which is a very useful personal leadership tool from PEAK Practice. It teaches you to sort out what is really important to you and what isn’t.
 

 
Tea Colaianni, SID, Watches of Switzerland, and Board Mentor, Criticaleye
 
How do you look after your own mental health and wellbeing? 

I try to stick to a daily routine, so I get some fresh air and movement and I also start and finish the day doing the same things – everything else can be fluid. I also make sure I speak to a friend or relative. My self-care includes home-made facials and reading, so something for the body and something for the soul. I manage my intake of news and social media to not feel overwhelmed by negativity – I look for positive, feel-good news.
 
How have you maintained your resilience? 

It has been really difficult at times. I consider myself lucky as I had a good break with my family in Italy in the summer. That rebuilt my emotional reserve. I have also started a new project which has given me huge energy and focus. 
 
Do you recommend any resources on maintaining good health?

I’m following Suki Thompson at Let’s Reset. They have great resources, including podcasts on wellbeing and resilience and support for mental health. 



Wasil Haroon, Senior Relationship Manager, Criticaleye
 
How do you look after your own mental health and wellbeing?

I practise the Chinese martial art Wing Chun and also do strength training sessions with free weights and resistance bands three times a week. A morning routine is essential and includes drinking lemon water, going for a brisk walk, praying, some mindfulness meditation, and having a bowl of porridge with a cup of strong black coffee. That really kickstarts my day while a good night’s sleep, taking frequent breaks while working from home and listening to uplifting music also keep me energised and focused.
 
How have you maintained your resilience? 

The support of family and friends, being positive, having fun and collaborating with colleagues. Remember to laugh every day – as Lord Byron said, “it is cheap medicine”.

Do you recommend any resources on maintaining good health?
 
I use the Calm app for meditation and Blinkist to read books on topics including health and wellbeing. I also like listening to TED Health & Savvy Psychologist podcasts.
 
 

Richard Shoylekov, Board Mentor, Criticaleye
 
How do you look after your own mental health and wellbeing? 

The pandemic changed the emphasis on many things that were already part of our lives, such as online shopping and e-conferencing. Perhaps the same applied for aspects of our personal lives. I already had a decent fitness regime and was reasonably good at managing stress through careful time management and mixing up activities. However, I found sitting glued to a screen for many hours really tedious, so I scheduled more breaks.
 
How have you maintained your resilience? 

I stay focused on the work and do it the best way possible in the circumstances – address the particular problem and what I can actually do. Generally, I think if you can’t change the situation, see if you can change your response to it. 
 
Do you recommend any resources on maintaining good health?
 
Joe Wicks' online fitness workouts have been a fantastic discovery – clear, no-nonsense and very effective.
 
 

Louise Chaplin, Partner & Head of Board Practice, Eton Bridge Partners
 
How do you look after your own mental health and wellbeing?  

I enjoy the outdoors and fresh air – it’s a key part of creating a balanced mindset for the day. This usually means an early start and either running or cycling, depending on the season. Physically it’s good and mentally it gives me the space to process what’s in my day ahead. It’s the time of day that I devote to just me.
 
How have you maintained your resilience? 

My early career was in the British Army, with tours in Bosnia and Northern Ireland that are reminiscent of lockdown. I had a headquarters role, so every day followed the same routine – it felt like Groundhog Day. What was different with lockdown initially was there was no end date. That was hard to process at first, so I drew on my military experiences to support my emotional resilience.
 
Do you recommend any resources on maintaining good health?

I enjoy reading inspiring books about physical achievements because often these stories come with mental and physical challenges. One was about Israel Hilario who had his leg amputated up near the hip and went on to be part of the Peruvian Paralympic cycling team. Everybody looks at lockdown through different lenses and it’s important when thinking about our situation to remember the bigger challenges others face.
 
 

Gareth Llewellyn, NED, Harwich Haven and former Chief Executive, DVSA
 
How do you look after your own mental health and wellbeing?   

A 5k run every weekend is good for the soul and learning to code in Python invigorates the mind – even at my age.
 
Do you recommend any resources on maintaining good health? 

Early in my career I worked in Africa and keeping in mind the poverty I saw then reminds me I am very fortunate – even in a pandemic.
 
Do you recommend any resources on maintaining good health? 

Escapism! I find books that take me to a very different place are great for my mental health – books by Matthew Reilly work wonders for me.
 

 
The next Community Update will look at how CFOs are prioritising news skills as they transform their organisations.