Stories of our impact

Mind your business

Eliza Thornton has worked at Deloitte for nearly ten years, moving through scholarships and graduate schemes to her current role as a manager in our Financial Advisory business. She experienced a challenging period of illness following a stroke, brain haemorrhage and surgery to remove a brain tumour, and was left with a chronic health condition. She wanted to share the lessons of her recovery and give something back to Deloitte and her colleagues. Here’s her story.

A personal journey

“I wanted to give back to Deloitte for supporting me throughout my career and various periods of ill health. The firm offered me agile working patterns and various new roles so I could continue at work during recovery. Movement, breathwork and mindfulness have had a profound impact on how I manage my pain and stress levels, so I pursued qualifications in yoga, mindfulness and neuroscience to better understand how these can help our brains and nervous systems.

I wanted to use these new skills to benefit my colleagues, so I designed a wellbeing pilot. This was an ambitious project and I did everything from scratch – writing a business plan, gathering research, and organising logistics and design.”

 

Mindfulness in the workplace

“The pilot was made up of three elements: lunchtime sessions teaching relaxation and breathing techniques to reduce stress; lunchtime sessions on movement for computer users to relieve tension and improve wellbeing; and a six-week 'mindfulness for the workplace' programme to give people tools to support both their mental wellbeing and ability to thrive in a corporate setting.

Colleagues told me the sessions gave them some space for themselves. They saw marked reductions in perceived stress scale scores and reported improvements in physical tension and posture, feeling less anxiety at work, and dealing better with pressure. What mattered most was they felt the firm was caring for them as a person, not just as a worker.”

Caring for the whole person

“As the modern work environment and technologies continue to demand so much from people, it’s vital to look after the whole person. I hope to expand my sessions to help more of my colleagues. Meanwhile, here are three tips for taking care of yourself:

  1. Bring the breath down
    When we’re stressed we breathe into our chests, making us feel even more tense. On your inhale, direct your breath into the lower lungs – you’ll see a subtle rise in the belly as you do this.
  2. Elongate the exhale
    When something stressful happens at work, make your exhale a few counts longer than your inhale – it reminds your nervous system that you’re not under threat.
  3. Get moving!
    Incorporate movement in any way you can: simple neck and shoulder stretches at your desk, getting up to speak to a colleague rather than sending an email, or making time in your day to attend a gym class – your body will be grateful!”