Prioritising wellness

Emily BaldwinEmily Baldwin
  16 September 2021

After a tough 2020 and no sign of let-up to the COVID-19 lockdown situation as the majority of us rung in 2021 still separated from friends and family, EJR-Quartz brightened up one dreary Monday in January with a surprise email in our inbox gifting us a “wellness bonus”. We read on with curiosity as we learned it should be spent on something good for our mental or physical wellness, perhaps to help manage our stress levels and provide some relief in such gloomy days. There was a caveat, though: we weren’t to spend it entirely on chocolate!

From aromatherapy oils and bikes, to home massages, psychology sessions and yoga classes, here’s how some of our team have been inspired with this encouraging initiative this year.

“I used my wellness bonus for yoga classes – working on defying gravity in a slightly different way!”
– Elly, Editor

“Like many people, I spent much of 2020 in lockdown brushing up on my cooking skills including making pizzas, lasagne, fajitas and curries. This ultimately led to me putting on a few extra kg, so I decided to use the wellness voucher to get in shape! So far I have bought running shoes for my 10Ks, a Fitbit to track my steps, a new digital scale and yoga mat for stretching.”
– Romina, Earth Observation Editor

“I bought a new bike so that I can explore more of the Netherlands whilst not being able to travel abroad. I’m also taking ‘RockFit’ classes, which are
good exercise AND great fun!”
– Nicole, Science editor

“I bought a new hiking backpack I’ve been using for trips, including one where I hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon! Getting out of the city into nature is one of the things that recharges me the most – the wilder the better! But I hadn’t bought a new hiking backpack in a long time and needed one that was more comfortable and fit me better in order to make those wild adventures more enjoyable. After its big adventure in the US I have my eye on some hiking closer to home, including the new Dutch Mountain Trail.”
– Sarah, Science editor

“I’m spending my voucher on an osteopath who is
making the pain in my back and arm go away.”
– Karina, EJR-Quartz operations manager

“The best things I have bought so far are a bike helmet and shorts, which have brought me to some nice adventures this summer. I use the workouts as an excuse for some me-time!”

– Chiara, social media editor

“I bought a treadmill. Running always improves my mood and creativity, but it’s been challenging to always find time with a small baby at home, and especially when we are all in lockdown. Now I can get a workout in even when he is sleeping, or simply if the weather is totally uninspiring to go out.”

– Emily, Space science editor

“Hearing that Emily bought a treadmill made me think I could actually create my own gym at home! I already had a spin bike and online gym subscription, but was a bit nervous about an actual gym subscription if COVID cases rose again. I have since invested in a rowing machine and I’m really happy. I can squeeze a few minutes in at lunchtime or go for a longer session after work and I’m finding that regular exercise, even if it is at home, is super helpful in improving my general mood and productivity.”
– Ally, Human and robotic space exploration editor

I’ve been exploring aromatherapy oils. It has helped me with my mental and physical well-being, from using different oils in diffuser and inhaling the scents to also making oil mixtures and using topically to help with muscle pains and headaches. As the oils are organic high grade they can also be taken orally, so occasionally I’ll add a drop of lemon oil to water for a refreshing drink (peppermint is also revitalising!). I am enjoying the benefits of the essential oils so much that I have now become a Wellness Advocate for DoTERRA!”
– Beverley, Office manager

“I bought roller skates to go skating with my six year old round our neighbourhood. I’m loving doing this activity with her and reliving my 80s childhood! I’ve also subscribed to a fitness website and yoga classes – which I totally intend to get back into after the summer ice cream eating season is over..!”
– Georgie, Editor for internal communications

In what has certainly been a strange and challenging 18 months, with so many of us being expats far away from family with no clear idea as to when we might see each other again, it is the little things like this that make a big difference in feeling supported and appreciated while the world is upside down. A big thank you from all of us to our lovely bosses for this thoughtful initiative!