No longer SAD

This month we moved into our new office. It’s so great to be back in the office. I honestly never thought I’d hear myself say such a thing! It was fun working from home for a while, and I coped with it for much longer than I expected myself to. But in all honesty it’s not for me. This is in part because I wasn’t one of the lucky ones who happened to have a spare bedroom to work in. At the same time, I felt lucky not to be working in a living space such as the kitchen. I had a little office space set up in my hallway (yes honestly!). Comical maybe, but not for very long.

There was no natural light, so for one of my birthday presents I asked my girlfriend for some knitted plants. She doesn’t knit, but she knew someone who did. They were really cute. With the help of my aforementioned girlfriend, I made it feel not-like-a-hallway. I covered the heating thermostat with a picture of Brighton beachhuts, and positioned my wooden Buddhas on a hanging shelf. It created a nice backdrop to an otherwise boring background for my numerous Zoom and Teams meetings, coaching sessions, conferences, team sessions, work socials…  You name it – we did it all online for a while there didn’t we?

My newly created space kept me away from working in my bedroom, or the lounge. Which felt good for my mental health. But the lack of daylight got to me – especially during winter when it was so much harder to get out and take in some sunshine. There were far too many days when I felt like I barely saw the light of day. It was a struggle. I suffer from a mild-ish version of SAD. I use a SAD lamp, mediation, exercise and good people in my life to keep it at bay. There are times though, when I just need to not be working in a dark hallway!!

The new office brings such promise. It has a big bay window looking over the rooftops of Brighton. Kristy our admin person, and other occasional visitors are here to chat to. Both my extraversion and love of sunshine are getting what they need! I feel like that Zest Psychology is getting what it needs too. I founded it during lockdown, so it’s exciting to see it growing now it has some sun pouring in on it. We have our long established team of associates who I’ve known from way before Zest existed, but the current buzz for me is working with our pool of interns. They are either finishing studying or are recent graduates of Occupational Psychology (or similar).  With different backgrounds and experiences and I love engaging everyone in projects to develop what Zest has to offer our clients.

Our interns have all undertaken a critical audit of the Authentic Confidence Foundation module – the first module of our programme that many of our coaching clients engage with. Due to the different lenses they bring, I hear about what works well on the programme and what might be improved. These are all things I care about, which is why it’s so important to hear about the programme through someone else’s perspective. The lenses used so far include neurodiversity, ethnicity, age, emotional welbeing, physical health and mental health.

Other things we are up to is writing case studies to help our content feel relatable; checking our language and explaining any unusual words or different contexts; mapping what we do onto the HR strategies of public sector organisations – seeing what we can do to help; setting up statistical analysis to understand our impact; working out how to serve the same content to differing learning styles. And more, to make personal development accessible to all, not just the chosen few.

There are so many impossibly difficult things going on in the world right now, the Russia/Ukraine situation, the rising cost of living, climate change, homelessness, food poverty… this list could really be long. I guess what I’m trying to say is that here at Zest we are doing our best to create social change. The bits we’re able to influence. As an ethical business, we’re proud to be based in Brighton Eco Centre. The Green Party HQ is below us (I’m yet to bump into my hero Caroline Lucas!), and it feels just right for us.



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