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The Spotlight Podcast
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In this episode of The Spotlight Podcast, we focus on self-care including tips for managing anxiety and stress.

We’re joined by Bea Grist, Spotlight’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Manager who shares practical self-care tips and information about how you can sign up for The Wellbeing Series, which is available to members.

45 minute listen or a full transcript of the episode can be found below.

All episodes of the Spotlight Podcast.


Episode Transcript

Kristyn Coutts: Hello, and welcome to The Spotlight Podcast. We’re aware it’s been a little while since we’ve done one of these. I hope you’re all taking care of yourselves and keeping well, considering the current circumstances. With that in mind, in today’s episode, we’re going to be talking to Bea Grist. Bea is Spotlight’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Manager. It’s a new position, but Bea has been at the company for quite a while. So, we’ll be discussing a bit more about her and her mental health journey, about life coaching, what that is, how you can benefit from it, some tips with dealing with stress and anxiety, which is particularly useful in these times. And then also, how members can get support and benefit from some of the workshops that Bea has set up.

Hi, Bea, and welcome to the podcast.

Bea Grist: Hi, Kristyn! It’s lovely to be here.

Kristyn Coutts: Thank you so much for joining us today. I’ve explained a little bit in the intro about what we’ll be discussing today. But I wondered, in your own words, if you could tell us a bit about yourself.

Bea Grist: Yeah. I feel like that’s always quite a loaded question. Isn’t it? To know where to begin. Yeah. So, my name’s Bea. I am the Mental Health and Wellbeing Manager at Spotlight, and I have a real passion for mental health in our industry. I’m going to be talking a lot more about that today, to you guys.

What can I say about myself? I am the partner of an actor. So, I have a personal understanding of the challenges of what it’s like to make a living in this profession. I guess I’m looking forward to talking a bit more about what I’ve been doing at Spotlight in my new role and also the opportunities that are out there for you guys, who are listening, our members.

Kristyn Coutts: So, can you explain a bit about how the Mental Health and Wellbeing Manager role came about? Your history with Spotlight, and then how your role evolved into that new position?

Bea Grist: Yeah. Sure. So, it’s quite a long story, really, but I’m going to try and condense it. So, I’ve been working at Spotlight for about three, well, three and a half years. I was originally working at Spotlight in more of a marketing role, actually, because my background is that I’ve worked mainly in theatre, actually in London and Nottingham, are the main places I worked, marketing theatre. I guess I love the industry. I’ve always been very passionate about working in the performing arts, and I really like being around creative people, as well.

I got to a point, prior to my role at Spotlight, where I hit a bit of a brick wall, really. I was working at an advertising agency, and my mental health really wasn’t great. I think I experienced what you’d call burnout. I didn’t really know what the signs were, to look for. I allowed things to … They went too far, really, I think. It got to a point where I was experiencing a lot of physical symptoms. So, physically, feeling very unwell, as well as mentally, obviously, not in a good place. So, that was a bit of a wakeup call for me. I call it a breakthrough rather than a breakdown because it was a really empowering point for me. From there, I essentially chose to move into a different career, and I realised that I wanted to really make a difference and support people who worked in the performing arts.

So, that’s what I did. I began my training as a coach, as a life coach. Then I began coaching people. I found that there was this lovely synergy with the world that I knew so well, the performing arts, and my new purpose, really, around coaching and wellbeing. Because I feel so strongly that we need to create more awareness around wellbeing.

Kristyn Coutts: Absolutely.

Bea Grist: This was something which I began talking to Spotlight about. So, within that, I’ve been coaching a number of actors. Really enjoying working with different actors, different members of Spotlight. Then we began discussions about what more we could do at Spotlight to support members. This was before, obviously, COVID and the pandemic hitting in March last year. At that point, it felt very straightforward in terms of what we needed to do. I guess I thought, “Well, what is it that I know how to do? How can I support people?” I knew how to coach people. I knew, also, working at Spotlight that we had access to all of you guys, all of our members. I knew lots of other coaches so, I reached out to all of the coaches that I knew, and basically said, “Would you be willing to offer some free coaching?” Because it felt like that was the right thing to do, at that time. Because, really, the purpose behind that project, the free coaching that we were offering, was around making people feel, making our members feel, that they weren’t alone, and also, that sense of permission to just be however you’re feeling right now, and know that’s okay, and that you’ve got someone that is going to be there for you. So, it was quite a simple purpose, really.

Kristyn Coutts: I think a lot of the feedback that we’ve seen, is that it’s gone down really well, and there’s been an amazing take up. Full credit to you, Bea, for that.

Bea Grist: Yeah. It’s been lovely to get that feedback through and to really see the impact of the coaching. I was doing it alongside, I think there was about 85 of us in total, 85 coaches from across the world.

Kristyn Coutts: It’s amazing. Isn’t it?

Bea Grist: From four different continents, which is the beauty. I mean, a bit like now, obviously, Kristyn, you’re up in Scotland, and I’m just north of London. We’re not close to each other, but this is the beauty, and I’m very grateful that this pandemic has happened at a time when we have this technology to be so connected.

Kristyn Coutts: That’s a very good point. What would we be without Zoom, eh?

Bea Grist: I know. Although, I am getting a little sick of it.

Kristyn Coutts: I’m so sick of it.

Bea Grist: I’m sure everyone’s feeling that: The Zoom fatigue.

Kristyn Coutts: Yes. The endless quizzes that people organise.

Bea Grist: Yeah.

Kristyn Coutts: What exactly does your new role involve?

Bea Grist: Well, I mean, it’s a new role so I’m still finding my way a little bit. But essentially, what my role involves is putting together a comprehensive programme of wellbeing events, content, support, essentially, for our members. So, at the moment, the programme that I’m putting together is only available to our performer members, but we’re hoping that will branch out into other membership groups, like our graduate members and our young performers, as well.

There’s a number of things that I’ve been looking at. Some of these things are already out and already available. Things like our wellbeing webinars, so that is a partnership with the Wellbeing Project, where about once a month, we have a webinar, which will explore a different area of wellbeing and mental health. We did one in January, which was all around resilience, which went down really well. We’ve also done one on mindfulness. I’m just looking at the next webinars that we’ll programme for the rest of the year, really. That’s something to look out for.

Kristyn Coutts: How would people find out about it?

Bea Grist: So, that will be through our email. So, if you are … Do make sure you are opted in to receive our emails. You can do that, I think, just by signing into your account, and then going to privacy settings. There’s an option to just sign up to the newsletters. So, if you do that, you’ll ensure that you get that information about those.

Then there are lots of other things, really. Something else that I’d like to talk about is the actor’s circles that we’ve been running. So, we’ve done two so far. That is really an online space to connect, and to share, and to grow together. It’s a chance to meet other actors, and to just be in conversation. I think so much of this sense of isolation, that’s one of the things that is so challenging about this period. I think, certainly for actors, some of the feedback we’ve been having is having that space where you can actually connect with other actors and other creatives. I think that’s really helping people right now.

Kristyn Coutts: I think building a sense of community, as well. That’s really helpful.

Bea Grist: Yes. Yeah. Absolutely. The other part of that is that we’re looking at something which we’ve not actually put out yet, but I’ll just talk a little bit about that, which is … It’s going to be, probably, some mindfulness sessions. So, ideally, we’ll be running them once or twice a week. Actually, no. Not twice a week. I should probably be careful not to commit. Can’t commit too much! But I think at least once a week, we’re hoping to offer some mindfulness sessions. So, that will essentially be some space to pause, really, and to meditate. Then there’ll be some reflection time, as well. So, that is more for people who want to take a breath. It’s more of a solo experience. It’s not so much about being in discussion or conversation, but just about taking a moment. So, we’re hoping to roll those out soon, as well.

Kristyn Coutts: I know you’ve been doing them weekly for us Spotlighters, as well, and I for sure have found them so beneficial.

Bea Grist: Aw!

Kristyn Coutts: Just having a half hour just to not necessarily think about anything or just be with your thoughts. Yeah. I’ve found it’s the highlight of my week, Bea.

Bea Grist: Aw, that’s lovely to hear, Kristyn. Yeah. I think it’s so interesting, isn’t it? Whenever I talk to people about this idea of just stopping and taking a moment, I think it’s something …

Kristyn Coutts: It feels like a luxury to be able to stop and take a moment doesn’t it?

Bea Grist: Yeah, It’s so interesting, I think. I have a Post-It, actually, on my desk that says, ‘Get still to move’. Because I have to remind myself how important it is to just take, even if it’s just 10 minutes, to breathe, and to just notice how I’m feeling, and what I need. I just think there’s something … Actually, mindfulness, is something we might touch on later, but mindfulness and being in the moment, just connecting to our breath, or, perhaps to how our body’s feeling. It’s like a reset almost. It can have a really powerful effect on our wellbeing.

Kristyn Coutts: There’s so much science to back it up now, the claims about rewiring your brain. I just think it’s a really fascinating area.

Bea Grist: Yeah. It really is. Like you say, the science behind it is incredible. Actually, mindfulness is something which the NHS do, you know, it’s on the NHS as something which is prescribed to help with things like depression and anxiety. So, it really is a proven technique, which can be so supportive, particularly at this time, with everything that we’re all facing.

Kristyn Coutts: I want to talk a little bit more about life coaching because I know that we have questions, that people still aren’t necessarily sure exactly what life coaching is. Do you think you can shed some light on that?

Bea Grist: Yeah. Yeah. Thank you for asking, as well. I think a lot of people don’t have that clarity around exactly what coaching is. I know before I discovered it, or before I had a coach, which was how I first came to coaching, I started working with a coach. But yeah, I didn’t really get the difference between coaching and therapy or coaching and mentoring. So, yeah. I’m very happy to talk a bit about that.

So, coaching is essentially … It’s very much about where you are, and where you’d like to get to. So, it’s quite forward-looking. Whereas, for example, something like therapy is more about looking back to understand how it might be affecting you now.

Coaching is really great if you want to make a change in your life. That can be absolutely anything. So, I work with people to … It could be something like wanting to make a change in your career, wanting to reach a specific goal. That can be quite a common one that people come to coaching for. It can be something to do with just looking at thought patterns. So, noticing, perhaps, that there are some blocks, some certain thinking or behaviours that you’re aware of, but maybe aren’t serving you in the way that you want them to. So, it can be about just maybe getting a new perspective on something.

When you work with a coach, the power is in the fact that you have somebody who is impartial. It’s a non-judgemental discussion. It’s a safe place where you can bring anything that you want to work on with your coach. Obviously, I’m a passionate advocate for it, understandably, but certainly, reading through some of the comments that we got from the coaching initiative, it was really, really heartening to see just how much of an impact coaching made for the members.

I would say if you’re, maybe, at a crossroads in your life, or there’s something which is, perhaps, just not working as you want it to, and you just think, “You know what? Actually, it might help to just explore this a little bit with somebody. Maybe there’s a different way of looking at it, and maybe there’s something more here for me,” working with a coach can be really beneficial at just unravelling whatever it is that’s there.

I guess the difference, just to touch on mentoring, because sometimes there is, obviously, a crossover between therapy, coaching, and mentoring. So, therapy tends to be more to do with … has an emphasis on the healing and understanding. Therapy can be very good if there’s something that’s happened that, perhaps, is traumatic. So, working through a trauma, therapy is a much better place to explore that.

Mentoring is much more about somebody who, perhaps, is an expert, or has a lot of experience in a specific area, and they then help you to move forward with whatever it is. So, they’re drawing on their expertise in that specific area to help you to get to where you want to.

Coaching is … You don’t need to have experience in a certain area, necessarily. So, for example, some of the coaches that we had on the initiative, their background wasn’t in the performing arts. And actually, that was okay, because often, as a coach, your strength can come in not having that baggage of knowing the industry. You have access to much cleaner questions. In a way, more non-judgemental, because you might ask a question that could seem very obvious. Sometimes that can just spark a new way of thinking or a new perspective and that can be very powerful.

Kristyn Coutts: So, just around the idea of time commitment, I suppose, to life coaching. Are there some scenarios where it could be, maybe, resolved in a session? Is it an ongoing thing, that you should have a regular catch up? Does it very much depend on the situation?

Bea Grist: Great question. Yeah. I mean, obviously, every coaching relationship is different, and what each person needs or wants will be different. What I would say is that I think to get the most benefit from coaching, normally, I would say work with a coach for at least a period of three to six months. Because when you’re working with a coach, you’re forming a new relationship. Obviously, good relationships take time. So, your coach is your ally. They’re your champion. So, some of the work that you do at the beginning of a coaching process will be just in establishing a really strong rapport, a really strong relationship with your coach.

I would say, ideally, work with a coach for three to six months, as a minimum. Then it just depends. I mean, I have some clients that I’ve worked with for years, actually. They find it very helpful to just have a session once a month. They use it a bit like a sort of check-in. Just to share where they are, talk a bit about, perhaps, where they would like to be, and what is the gap between that? It’s very individual.

I think you touched on the commitment in your question, Kristyn, and that is really important. I think to get the most from coaching, you really need to be committed to the process, because, essentially, you are doing the work. Your coach is there, and they’re supporting you and championing you, but really, you get out what you put in. I know it’s an old adage, but it’s very true. If you’re hungry to make change, and if you’re committed to doing the work and putting the time in, then you can see really, really incredible results.

Kristyn Coutts: So, I suppose there’s a lot … If it’s developing a new relationship, I suppose you have to make sure that the life coach that you pick is the right one for you, and maybe not necessarily being afraid to look for a new one if, perhaps, that relationship isn’t quite working out for you?

Bea Grist: Yeah. Absolutely. I would say … Because when we did the initiative, it was tricky because I was matching the members with their coach. Of course, there isn’t an exact science to that. I mean, I knew all the coaches, because I’d spoken to them all, and some of them I knew very well because they were people that I’d trained with. People that are friends. So, that was okay. But, obviously, on the member side, I didn’t know the members. So, some of it is just pure gut intuition. Some of those partnerships, I think, worked really well, and others, I appreciate, perhaps, I matched a member with a coach who, perhaps, wasn’t the right fit for them.

So, again, I would say if you’re seeking out coaching privately then absolutely speak to a number of coaches. So, all coaches, or most coaches, will offer free taster sessions. So, that’s where you can speak to a coach for something like half an hour, maybe up to an hour. It’s for free. They offer that because it’s a chance to just test the chemistry and see whether that coach is the right fit for you. Ideally, I would say, talk to maybe three coaches, as a minimum, just to get a sense. Because each coach will have a different style. You’ll know what the right fit is for you. So, at least it just gives you a chance to experience different coaching with different coaches.

Kristyn Coutts: That’s a great tip, thank you. So, obviously, it’s been a very difficult time, a very challenging time, for many people in many different ways, and may potentially be for a couple of months yet, at least. So, do you have any practical tips for dealing with anxiety, dealing with stress?

Bea Grist: Yeah. I mean, it’s just … It’s extraordinary. Isn’t it? This period that we’re in. I don’t know. I mean, back when it all started, I think I just was thinking, “Well, this will be for a few months.”

Kristyn Coutts: I know.

Bea Grist: So, it feels quite strange that we’re here, and it’s almost a year since we left the office, since we left Spotlight’s office. It feels quite strange to be still in this situation. Of course, things have moved on, and we’re not in the same situation we were, but we are still dealing with so much that is unknown. Yeah. I think, certainly, that sense of the unknown, it’s something which, I think as human beings we struggle with that, not knowing. I’m noticing how, actually, I can be with the unknown a bit more easily now, because I’m having to be in this situation where I can’t plan. We are living day-to-day.

Actually, it feels like there is a gift in that because when you can’t plan, and when it is very much about now, today, in a way, we can take that as an invitation, I think, to be mindful, to practise mindfulness. So, that’s certainly something which, I think, can be very helpful at this time. When I say mindfulness, I mean just noticing, “Okay, well how do I feel today? How does my body feel?” If you go out for a walk, just noticing what’s around you. So often, we are in our heads. We operate a lot of our lives in our heads, and we forget that, actually, we have a whole body. Just noticing what’s around you, how you’re feeling. “What is it that I need today?” Knowing that each day, that thing may be different, and that’s okay.

I think it might be helpful just to touch on the stress, and what stress is, because I think sometimes when we understand a little bit about … We just say that word, stress, and even me saying that might create a reaction if you’re listening to this. But stress is actually a natural reaction to a circumstance or an event. So, really, what we have is we have stressors, which are the things that activate the stress response. So, this is things like work, COVID, It could be a family situation. Anything that you might deem to be stressful. Then we have the stress itself, which is what is happening in the body. Essentially, it’s a chemical reaction to the stressor. It’s there because it’s designed to help us to survive, really. So, when we think of it like that, it might help to just give a different perspective to stress, because really, it’s like our body is trying to help us to face something. There is a threat. That’s what is going on. There’s a threat there. Stress is a way of just drawing us to deal with that. Of course, the problem happens when the stress becomes too much. Then it can tip into overwhelm or burnout. There’s also the physical response that has in the body.

Anxiety is actually a reaction to stress. So, anxiety, again, it’s a natural human response when we perceive that we’re under threat. We experience it through thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations.

In a way, everything comes back to the thoughts that we have. So, one technique, which I certainly find quite helpful, is what is called ABC of resilient thinking. So, this is basically an idea that you take the adversity … This is the A. You take the adversity or the event, and then the B is, “Well, what beliefs do I have about the event or the adversity?” Then C is, “Well, what’s the consequence when I have those beliefs about the event or the adversity?”

So, what we’re doing here is we’re just unpicking it a little bit and noticing, “What are the thoughts and feelings that I’m associating to this event?” So, for example, with COVID or lockdown, it might be that we have thoughts, and feelings, or beliefs that, “I feel trapped”, or “I can’t do this.” Then we notice, “Okay, what are the consequences when I have those beliefs, or those thoughts, around that event, or that thing?” The final part is the D part. There’s actually a D part to this, which is disputes. What it means is, it means challenge. So, there’s an opportunity now to just challenge, “Okay, are these beliefs true?” And “What happens when I believe that?”

So, what we do is we’re just creating a little bit of separation between the thoughts and ourselves, because we are not our thoughts. I think so often, we get caught up in this cycle where our thoughts just become so overwhelming that we can’t separate them from ourselves.

Another technique that can be really helpful for that is naming how we feel. So, this technique gives a little bit more control. So, very often, we might say, “I’m angry.” What I often say to clients is, “You’re angry, or you feel angry?” Because, again, by saying, “I feel angry,” what we’re doing is we’re just creating a little bit of a distinction between the feeling and ourselves, because we are not the anger. The anger is just a response. It’s just something that’s happening within us. Then, again, “Is it anger, or is it something else?” Because by naming the feeling, it really allows us to have a sense of control over what we’re experiencing. So, that can be another helpful tip. A place to come back to.

Very often, when we have stress and anxiety, what accompanies it is low mood. The place to look is the thoughts and the feelings around what’s caused that low mood. So, there will have been triggers. There will have been things, events, that have happened, and then thoughts that have come with that. So, it’s just noticing, “Ah, okay. I was feeling alright this morning. Now, I’m noticing that I’m really irritated. What was the trigger that moved me into that way of thinking?”

There’s a very useful thing called Larry Senn’s Mood Elevator. What it is, it’s a list of different moods. At the top, it’s got grateful, wise, creative, resourceful. Then in the middle, it’s got curious. Then underneath curious, it’s got what we would deem to be more, perhaps, negative moods, like irritated, impatient, stressed, angry. It can be a very helpful tool because what you can do is you can look at this … It’s almost like an elevator, if you imagine a lift. You can just notice by looking at it, “Okay, which are the levels that I seem to stop at more frequently? Which are the levels that I, maybe, get stuck at? Also, which level is an early warning sign that my mood is dropping?”

So, for me, I know that once I get irritable, I can either go one way or the other. But actually, a way to activate good quality thinking is to just bring yourself up to the curious level. So, when you notice that your mood is dipping, whatever you’re feeling, whatever comes with that for you, a place to come back to is this curious place. It’s almost like a gateway into more positive thinking, because when we’re curious, we’re not judging. We’re just noticing. We’ll share that visual with the podcast, but I think that can be a very helpful tool to use, because you can just notice, “Okay, when am I starting to tip into low-quality thinking?”

Kristyn Coutts: I think you have lots of great tips there. Thank you, Bea. Can you talk a bit about the steps actors can take to look after themselves?

Bea Grist: Yeah. I mean, I think it’s interesting. Isn’t it? Because I think I had an assumption going into this period that I would deal with it better than my partner, who is an actor. Actually, in many ways, he’s dealt with it better than me! I’m reminded that, for actors, actually, having periods of downtime is quite common, really. Actors are really quite resilient. That’s something I always notice when I work with my clients. I also see it with my partner, this steeliness, and being able to draw on … There is a real resilience with actors. So, that was just something I wanted to say. I continue to just be inspired by that.

I think in terms of tips for actors to look after themselves, I mean, obviously, unpredictability, again, is something which actors are very familiar with. So, that’s something which we’re all having to deal with, that sense of not knowing what’s around the corner. So, I’m sure most actors will have a sense of how they normally deal with that, in this industry that throws so much at actors. It’s a tongue twister, at actors. I think something which can be helpful is focusing on what you can control. So, noticing, “Okay, well, what are the things that sit within my control? What are the things that I can’t control?” There’s this phrase that I’ve heard a few people say, about how we’re all experiencing the same storm, but we’re in different boats.

Kristyn Coutts: Yes.

Bea Grist: It’s a sense of, on any day, we’ll be feeling different, and noticing what are the things that we can control? So, for example … Actually, you can do this as an exercise. This is quite a nice exercise to do. I’ll just explain it briefly. What you can do is you can draw two circles. Get an A4 piece of paper. You can draw two circles. Above one circle, you can write ‘My World’. Above the other circle, you can write ‘The World’. The idea of the exercise is to just give you a sense of, “Well, what is within my control in this situation that I’m in right now?” In My World, you can put in things you can control. So, it might be, for example, the time I go to bed, what I eat, how much I exercise, whether I call a friend tonight. All those things that are within our control. Whether I watch another thing on Netflix, for example.

Kristyn Coutts: Whether I put down your phone and stop scrolling the news.

Bea Grist: Yes. Exactly. How much news I choose to consume. Again, that’s within our control. How much I go on social media. Is that going to really serve me right now, with how I’m feeling? You can put all of that into your circle that says ‘My World’. Then in ‘The World’, you put all the things that are actually not within your control. So, this could be things like lockdown restrictions. It could be things like my partner’s behaviour. It could be things like what the weather’s doing. So, just notice what are the things that sit outside of your control. There’ll also be some things where you have an influence. So, there might be the odd thing that sits within the two, where you could, perhaps, influence a little bit. Most things will fall into one of two places.

That can just be a really lovely way to see what you can control. Then it’s about giving yourself permission to let go of the things that you can’t control. I think that can be a really helpful exercise.

Another thing is to focus on what matters to you. So, focus on the things that are important, and a portal into this can be getting really clear about what your values are, on what your purpose is. So, for example, you might have a really strong value of connection, and then it’s about asking yourself, “Well, if connection is really important to me, how can I honour that?” So, for one person, it might be calling a friend that they haven’t spoken to in a while. For another person, it could be having a lovely meal with their partner, or perhaps joining a workshop that they’re really interested in.

So, it’s just getting clear on, “What are my values? What are the things that are really important to me in my life?” Freedom, for example, I have a really strong value of freedom. Sometimes I tell myself, “Oh, I can’t honour that value.” Then I think, “Well, actually, I can go outside, and I can be in nature, and I can feel the air in my lungs.” That gives me a sense of freedom. So, it’s just noticing what is it for you that is really important? How can you honour it?

One more tip, which is just to take a different perspective. I know some people are probably listening to this, thinking, “How? What? Is it that easy?” Yeah. I mean, I think taking a different perspective is just finding a different way to look at something. So, an obvious example of this is gratitude. So, some of you may have a gratitude diary, or a gratitude journal, which is where you write, at the end of the day, three things that you’re grateful for, or three things that have gone really well for you. So, when we focus on gratitude, or what we really appreciate about our lives, it’s actually proven to generate feelings of wellbeing.

So, if you’re finding that you’re thinking is that you’re in a place that is not serving how you’re looking at something, that is just a little indicator, to you, to maybe just take a step back, and just ask yourself, “How I’m looking at this, is this really serving me?” If it’s not, then just notice if there might be another way of looking at something.

Kristyn Coutts: I think the noting things that you’re grateful for, that’s definitely something that my partner and I have started doing at the dinner table, just as a conversation starter.

Bea Grist: Oh, nice.

Kristyn Coutts: Because you’re in each other’s company for so long. We’re both working from opposite sides of a desk. So, it’s just one thing that’s quite nice to connect over. But I suppose if you’re living alone, that could be a phone call, or it could be talking to your dog, talk to your cat, your plant, whatever works for you.

Bea Grist: Yeah.

Kristyn Coutts: But I definitely thought it was cheesy when I first started doing it, but now I quite like it and I look for those moments in my day.

Bea Grist: Yeah. That’s the difference, I think. It’s when we start a practice like that, we do start to look for those things. There is a rewiring going on. We talked about that briefly before, this idea of when we choose to look at things in a certain way, we are actually rewiring the kind of … I don’t know what the correct term is for it, but we’re … Something happens in the brain, where we’re creating new neuro-pathways. Yeah, it’s like anything, if you do it enough, then it can really shift your thinking and your sense of wellbeing. It’s powerful.

Kristyn Coutts: Definitely. I mean, I think give it a go. If it’s useful to you, then brilliant. If not, find something else that works for you. I mean, you’ve given so many tips here. Pick and choose what works for you, I guess.

Bea Grist: Yeah. Absolutely. I think that’s such an important thing that you just said, Kristyn. Because it is about finding what works for you. There’ll be some things which work well for some people and not others. So, really do check in with yourself around, “What is going to really work for me?” Because ultimately, you’re the expert of your life.

Kristyn Coutts: What is it that works for you, Bea?

Bea Grist: What is it that works for me? Yeah. Good question. I think, I mean, at the moment, I was saying to Kristyn, actually, before we came on air, that I’ve injured my foot from running, which is something that I am struggling with a little bit, at the moment, because running is something that I love to do. Because I find that it honours my value of freedom. I love nature, too. So, I normally get to run out in nature. So, I’m learning patience and learning to surrender, I guess, to the fact that my body needs to heal.

Yoga is great, particularly restorative yoga, actually, which I highly recommend, because it’s a very comforting practise, actually, restorative yoga. It’s very slow. I think anybody could really do it because it’s not strengthening at all. It’s very much about releasing, about just letting the body rest. That is a really important thing to be doing right now, this idea of, we call it rest and digest. It’s different to sleep, but it’s just allowing the body to just release and let go. That can have a really restoring effect on the body and on our wellbeing. So, restorative yoga is wonderful.

Meditation is something which I love, and I really enjoy offering that to others, as well. I find it gives me a lot of pleasure, being able to share that with people. I think, also, every day I try and just check in with myself around, “What is it that I need today?” Then I try to find a way to honour that, which I don’t always, but I have the intention. I try to just really check in with myself, and also check in with my partner. I think that’s another important thing for people who are living with other people, this sense of checking in with each other because I find that sometimes I can be on a different page to my partner. What he needs may be different to me. So, just having that communication, talking to each other, and just sharing how we’re feeling. I think that can be a very helpful thing, as well. Yeah.

And good sleep, which is not always easy when your mind is busy. Trying to go to bed at a reasonable time. Still struggling a little bit with that one.

Kristyn Coutts: I find a hot bath helps.

Bea Grist: Yeah. Baths. Yeah. Actually, baths. I know not everyone is a bath person, but yeah. A nice soak. I find that does help you to sleep. Yeah.

Kristyn Coutts: That’s wonderful. Thank you so much for your time, Bea.

Bea Grist: Aw, you’re welcome.

Kristyn Coutts: Just a little summary. Just to remind everyone, once again, about how they can get involved in the mental health and wellbeing programme, and sign up for those events. Make sure you have your newsletters on. Yeah, please go into more detail, Bea.

Bea Grist: Yeah. Well, it’s pretty straightforward. So, it’s called The Wellbeing Series. So, do keep an eye out for emails from me, which will be coming into your inbox if you are signed up to have the newsletters. We are running events every month, at the moment. So, we’ll notify you once they’re available to book.

I also want to just touch on our mental health and wellbeing hub, which is now available. It’s actually accessible from the homepage, at the moment. Hopefully, it’ll still be when you listen to this, as well. That’s just a place where we share lots of helpful resources. So, links to support, some articles about how to support your mental health and wellbeing. We update it regularly. If you’ve been on there before, do check back from time to time, because we’ve got lots of new content that we’ll be sharing on the hub. It’s just a great place to get a bit more support and some resources just to help you with your wellbeing at this time. And also beyond this time because let’s face it, looking after our wellbeing, it’s an ongoing full-time job, really.

Kristyn Coutts: It should be a priority all the time, I feel.

Bea Grist: Yeah. Exactly. I often joke that looking after my mental health, it is very nearly a full-time job. I think that’s, well, not how it should be, but I just think that’s how … I just think that’s really important. I think, just taking care of ourselves and our mental health is so important.

Kristyn Coutts: Bea, thank you so much for your time.

Bea Grist: You’re welcome. Lovely to talk to you, Kristyn.

Kristyn Coutts: Lovely to talk to you.

Bea Grist: Bye!

Kristyn Coutts: Thanks for listening to today’s episode with me, Kristyn Coutts, and my guest Bea Grist.

If you have any questions about anything you’ve heard in the episode please do get in touch with us via questions@spotlight.com or ask us on Twitter @SpotlightUK. Until next time, take care and goodbye.


  • Producer and host: Kristyn Coutts
  • Production: Nicholas Peel
  • Guest: Bea Grist

Main image by Nathan Fertig.