Psychologist and Facilitator JESS BRAINCH is co-hosting a series of sessions at Thrive designed to support leaders who work in climate change and conservation. Here she tells us why, and how you can be a part of it.
Start at the beginning please, Jess!
Earlier this year we asked some clients and friends of Thrive, all of whom are specialists in the conservation and climate sector, to come and talk to us. We know that their work is hard, but we wanted to create a safe space to listen and better understand the specific challenges they face. We heard stories of isolation, fear, anxiety, pressure and stress. And we heard how this impacts their everyday health and wellbeing.
Why did Thrive do this?
We wanted to explore how we can use what we are good at, to support them to do what they are good at. People in this sector work so hard to protect, rehabilitate, grow and educate. But within all of this hard work, how are they doing? What is their story? What is their relationship with their work like? And how is it impacting your life? We think if we can get leaders together from this sector to share stories and challenges, in the company of myself and Ann Muraya, our Director of Organisational Thriving, then we can really help them learn, reflect and support each other.
Why are these sessions aimed at leaders?
As a Psychologist, I’ve been trained to look after myself in order to look after others. This is not just true for Psychologists, it’s true for leaders too. But doing this is actually quite hard. It’s much easier to look after something or someone other than ourselves – looking after our own wellbeing tends to come second. But to thrive, as an individual or as an organisation, we need to flip this on its head.
How will these sessions do that?
We aim to bring together leaders from across these sectors to share their experiences and reflect, with the sole purpose of supporting each other. Ann and I will listen to these stories and guide participants through a process of awareness, education and practice, informed by what we know already about the human condition, as well as guided by what we’re hearing in the group. It will be an adventure together!
What will happen in each session?
Each one will be a safe space for storytelling, practice and education. We’ll cover a different theme each month. For example, we’ll think about the connection between mind, body and environment. We’ll learn to understand our stress responses. We’ll explore individual and communal ways to build resilience and agility in leader’s lives. And we’ll find ways to support ourselves and others in climate and conservation work.
Tell us about yourself Jess – why are you excited about these sessions?
I’m an ‘integrative practitioner’ which means I recognise the importance of mind, body and environment as pillars to sustainable health and wellbeing. I believe in the connection between human and environmental health, and in my work I explore our clients’ relationship between the two. The importance of nature for health and wellbeing as well as the vitality of protecting biodiversity for survival is fundamental to my philosophy. And this makes me excited to facilitate these unique sessions.
If people are interested, what should they do?
Our first session is on 8th June 2022 and Zoom, and we would welcome any of you who are leaders in this area to join us. You can learn more about the event, and sign up here. I hope to see some of you there!