This year, October was certainly the month of retreats. Two very different kinds of retreats in two very different countries but both with the same purpose.

First up was two weeks life coaching in the Algarve sunshine with To The Sea hosts, Anna and Jodie, and our new vegan chef Laura. It provided time both for guests and ourselves to pause, reflect and recharge physically, mentally and spiritually.

The impact of what daily yoga can do for your body is amazing – I am sure I am 3” taller than I was in September and the vegan, no-nonsense food really was nourishment for the body and soul.

I arrived back in the UK for a short pit stop and 24 hours later I was on another plane heading out to Doha, Qatar for a very different type of retreat week.

Sidra Medicine is a state-of-the-art facility committed to providing women and children in Qatar with world-class tertiary healthcare services.  Nearly 1,000 nurses, over 300 doctors and approaching 800 allied healthcare professionals and other support staff are delivering optimal care for those who need specialist expertise.

I had been invited by Leeds based executive coach, Tilla Brook, to co-lead a retreat week for Sidra Medicine’s Executive Director and her leadership teams.

Attended by over 100 healthcare professionals, our leadership retreat days focused on pressing the pause button and introducing some simple recovery strategies to support them to keep going when the going gets tough!

The feedback was phenomenal and even when we were out there, our “coachees” were able to put their new strategies to the test after storms left parts of Qatar under water. Doha had its wettest October on record with more than a year’s worth of rain falling in one day – flooding the hospital. The feedback was that coaching helped them to manage the situation.

In any profession when there is rapid change and increasing demands even the most resilient of us need to recharge. We all want to feel valued, seen and have our contribution matter and some time away from the working environment to simply breathe out, support each other and reconnect with the vision and our reasons for doing the work we do can have a massive impact.

We spend so much time being busy that we often react to situations and end up repeating processes or behaviours that aren’t helpful. Pressing the pause button gives us a little time to reflect and re-evaluate on the things we are doing well and the things we are doing less well. Self-care is very often at the bottom of the list but self-care doesn’t need to take time. It can be as simple as making sure that your mindset focus is on the positive rather than the negative. The impact can be very profound.

Executive coaching in Qatar was the opportunity and experience of a lifetime and I am so thankful to my friend Tilla for inviting me to co-lead. It was the most wonderful week of fascination, fulfilment and fun.