Spark This Day is an innovative approach to employee wellness that focuses on cultivating healthy habits and positive mindsets in the workplace. Led by wellness CEO Gabby Lubin, this program empowers employees to prioritise their well-being and achieve their personal and professional goals. In this blog, we'll explore the benefits of Spark This Day and how it can transform your workplace culture.
1: You are the CEO of ‘Spark This Day’ - Tell us about this venture and your journey. What is life like as a CEO and as a burnout professional?
For 3 years, I was a full-time CEO & Founder. And I truly fell into the role. On the first day of the pandemic, I noticed there was a need in my community of clients so I decided to deliver it. On March 16th, 2020, I walked out of my final group fitness class, went home, and created a Canva post. On it was a Zoom link, my Venmo, and the start to the 'Spark This Day' community. That evening, 50 people signed on to the first Spark Method class, a mindful HIIT experience using only household weights. From that day, Spark moved from a B2C (business to consumer) mindfulness fitness platform to the first educator mindfulness fitness platform and lastly to the B2B (business to business) People-First wellness platform. These incredible transitions in the business each reflect my journey as a CEO. Each time I thought that I might experience burnout, I paused to reflect and make changes. That is why in February 2023, I took a look at where 'Spark This Day' was and saw that the stars were not aligning. This month is the final month that I will be a full-time CEO & Founder, as I am shutting down our business’ startup functionalities and returning it to its original state: a B2C mindful fitness platform.
Life as a wellness CEO can be incredibly challenging, especially if you are running the business as a startup. The problem is: startups and wellness are polar opposites. Talk to any founder! They’re quite burnt out or are at least burning the midnight oil. What keeps them going is knowing that their vision can make it. So, I feel incredibly honoured to continue on my life mission of co-creating a world where burnout is the exception, not the norm.
2: You talk about employee wellness, mental health and the future of work.. Can you expand on this and what advice do you have for business owners as well as employees in managing these areas?
I’ve loved carving out a niche in wellness and the future of work. The fact is, by 2030, 58% of the workforce will be Gen - Z and Millennials. In just 7 years, these boundary-pushing ideas from Gen - Z will be the norm. And I strongly believe that the companies that adapt now to what the younger workforce is asking for from work will be the business & revenue winners.
I recommend that business owners do two things:
Ask your employees: how are you and how can I help you bring your best self to work? Then, listen to them. Act on what they’re asking for. Be transparent in how you are doing it and communicate.
Stay up to date on new workplace ideas and asks. Follow thought leaders on this subject on LinkedIn and really consider the questions that they ask. Be willing to think outside the box, or at least question the way that you currently operate.
3: You run a podcast - Exciting! Tell us about your Podcast. What do you talk about? What was the inspiration behind the podcast?
The podcast is called Capital P in People Work and is available on Spotify and Apple! I absolutely love running this podcast because I get to talk with amazing experts about the intersection of people, wellness, and the future of work. In past seasons, we were getting a lay of the land but in this upcoming season we are laser focusing on wellness. We’ll be bringing on People leaders of known and up-and-coming wellness products as well as wellness thought leaders. I can’t wait to release this new season in June!
4: What do women have to look out for in terms of burn out? How to prevent it and what steps to take if severe burn out has already happened without us even knowing?!
Ah…women do have a lot to look out for unfortunately. 2 years ago, I had my entire staff read “Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle” by Emily and Amelia Nagoski. The book is an incredible read in that it breaks down why women are burdened even more than men in experiencing burnout. For one thing: the patriarchy is exhausting and ever-present. And then we’re also expected to bear and raise children doing most of the work. Of course, this is the hetero-normative picture of what women are expected to do. Still, anyone who is female-identifying is burdened by at least a portion of these external challenges.
The World Health Organisation defines burnout as a syndrome “resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterised by three dimensions: feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, increased mental distance from one’s job or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job, and reduced professional efficacy.” Burnout because of the workplace.
Now. What do we do about it? Well, burnout isn’t necessarily YOUR fault. It is an error at the workplace that is not working with your mind, body, or soul in some way. Quitting right away is not always the best answer. Instead, my best advice is to get close to yourself first in order to get some clarity. Learn about your mind, body, and soul. There are so many ways to do this and the good news is that you get to decide what this learning looks like: exercise, meditation, cooking, walking, singing, dancing, journaling, catching up with friends, learning a new skill…the list goes on. This doesn’t need to be a huge change, just a small addition of an activity. Maybe even for 5 minutes one day. Choose something that fills your cup and then do some reflecting. Severe burnout takes time to move away from, so being gentle with yourself is important.
5: What tips would you give to women who may be dealing with their mental health while trying to maintain their work and career?
Self-compassion is the best gift you can give yourself. We’re all going through the ringer in one way or another and although your experience of it may ebb and flow, you have the tools to manage it. As my therapist says, “You are only dealt what you can handle.”
Find a self-care activity that you love and that has no other purpose but joy.
Find the people that you can trust to share your true feelings with: a partner, friend, or therapist are a good start.
Choose yourself every day by finding 1 thing you can do to support you!
6: Congratulations on getting your Master’s from Harvard! What encouraged you to study adult development and behaviour changes and how do you apply this to your life and daily work?
I wanted to understand how adults adapted and grew, because I knew at my core that the phrase “he/she will never change” just wasn’t true. So, I applied to Harvard and got in! Throughout the program, I learned about Kegan’s theory of Adult Development and Immunity to Change and it BLEW my mind.
I’ve been able to apply my education to the work that I do at Spark This Day as well as my own life. The content makes its way into our curriculum and fitness classes. Because of our work, I’ve been able to make small and big changes. For example, I’ve increased my sleep quality by swapping out my bedtime routine. Instead of scrolling on my phone or watching tv as I brush my teeth, I read on my Kindle in low light playing “Peaceful Piano” on Spotify. I used to not be a big reader, so finding the right genre to make the swap was key. I started with chick lit…essentially the same stories as the tv shows that I was watching but in book form. Replacing that one behaviour, I started to see the benefits and began to replace more and more for a crave-worthy bedtime routine.
7: What key tips would you give to a woman who is running her own business and has employees in order to create a forward thinking work environment?
Listen to your employees, be transparent, and communicate well & often.
8: Tell us about your extensive work in wellness and intervention programming!
I’ve been intentional about my wellness ever since my first experience with burnout as an Intervention teacher (and founder) at a school in Washington, D.C. My expertise in creating, implementing, and tracking interventions for children provided me extensive experience in behaviour change at its most complicated form. Essentially, I was supporting children at our school in learning new skills and behaviours when the way that they were taught in their classrooms wasn’t clicking. I loved this part of my job because it was like figuring out which puzzle piece was missing.
I took this knowledge and applied it directly to my own life and then to others. I learned, adults are just like kids! This led me beautifully into founding my own business that supported adult well-being and cultivated positive behaviour change.
9: What do you do to cultivate a good and restorative work/life balance?
There are many ways to have a good work-life balance. What’s most important is to know where you get your energy from and where your boundaries need to be.
First, energy. Some of us are extroverts. Some introverts. Some, a mix. The same question is also true for your work and life. Some of us get energy from work and some from life…for most it’s a mix. Where do you lay? Does it change day by day? Is it different with this job than the last? Reflect on some of those questions and keep learning about yourself in this way.
Second, boundaries. You’ve heard about them before but do you have the optimal boundaries for you right now? What I’ve learned is that we all have a choice with our boundaries, even when it feels as if we’re not the ones in control. Get creative. Get curious. The ones that you need are there. All you have to do is uphold them because you are worthy.
10: Lastly, what is your advice for improving overall wellness as a woman?
Befriend yourself and find ways to pour into yourself as often as possible because–again–you are worth it.
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