This month, we spoke to Luminate’s longest-standing facilitator, the incomparable Jana Nightingale. 💖
Jana has more than a decade of experience working in mental health education, is a certified coach, counsellor and mindfulness teacher, and has delivered sessions in the high hundereds for Luminate (!) alongside running her own wellbeing courses at jananightingale.com.
The above is simply to say that we know Jana pretty well here at Luminate, and we’d love for you to get to know her too.
We spoke to Jana about her career journey, her own wellbeing practices and reccomendations, and – of course – her favourite biscuit.
I’ve always been passionate about people – what lights us up, how we overcome challenges, the journey to becoming more of who we are (to borrow a favourite phrase from Psychosynthesis*).
As I faced my own mental health challenges when I started work in my early 20s, I slowly started to learn techniques to support myself, especially to develop more boundaries and to reframe my mindset to become a bit more resilient. Later on, I discovered meditation, which has changed my life – becoming more present and self-aware is a life-long practice that continues to inspire me.
And now I’m committed to sharing the knowledge and tools that can support our wellbeing with anyone that can benefit from it.
~ Regular massage and dancing are my physical game changers – the more I keep my physical body moving and relaxed, the more I keep a steady mind
~ Connecting with my husband, loved ones and friends daily
~ Spending some time alone every week doing a nourishing activity – a walk in nature is my usual go-to to get perspective and feel refreshed
Every session is an opportunity to connect with new and interesting people. Over the pandemic (when we switched to digital delivery) I was able to work with great groups from all over the world. This was a real silver lining for me during what was a difficult period for us all – connecting with people like this, WORLDWIDE, is literally my dream job! I still feel like an excited child when I hear all the different places we reach with our workshops.
Essentially, I love supporting people to have new insights about themselves and their lives – their minds, emotions, and behaviour patterns in general. It fills me up to see people having lightbulb moments about what they might be able to do differently to live a healthier and happier life.
This is by far the hardest question of all! It’s controversial, I know, but I’m definitely a more savoury person – so I would always choose savoury crackers (especially with delicious cheese!) over a biscuit. Having said that, if you threw a Viennese whirl into the mix, I’d be all over it…
Books-wise, I’m a big fan of Byron Katie’s ‘Loving What Is’. Her approach to mindful self-inquiry is transformative – especially seeing how all stress arises from thinking, and that we have the power to radically shift our stress levels by unravelling our thought processes. I also love Brene Brown – I bought her first book in an airport, got on the airplane and literally couldn’t put it down: it was finished by the time I got off the plane! I recently inhaled ‘Untamed’ by Glennon Doyle and tend to pick up anything by Pema Chodron (a Buddhist nun).
My favourite speaker to listen to is the inspirational writer Elizabeth Gilbert. I’ve been lucky enough to see her live twice and she speaks such wisdom and truth – so any of her podcasts or broadcasts on social media are a go-to of mine.
Building Confidence. When the comments start coming in about how we speak to ourselves negatively – when we expose that inner critic – I always feel the group shift.
People start to realise how they treat themselves, and how they could have a kinder and more compassionate relationship with themselves, treating themselves more like a friend. When we really get this, I think it’s the start of a very different relationship with ourselves – one that can lead in an endlessly exciting and liberating direction.
Perfect day? Being out in nature and being able to relax somewhere with loved ones, like an awesome spa! I also love eating great food in good company, so that would be a key ingredient.
Honestly, I don’t ever see myself fully retiring because my work energises me (unless my son has kept me awake in the night!) so a perfect day could also involve teaching. As long as there’s a combination of good food, time to relax, and time connecting with others, that’s really the triple threat of goodness for me.
I’m a big fan of Cowshed – the best massage I’ve had in the UK was in Shoreditch at the Cowshed Spa. I also love to go to Watkins Books near Leicester Square and spending ages exploring their fascinating books and trinkets!
I think this year will involve a combo of teaching, family time, and reclaiming some time for my hobbies. I have a fairly busy home life (I have a 4 year old son and 2 teenage step daughters at home) so that takes up lots of my time around teaching. I’m also building the foundations to write a book about self-development which is happening slowly but surely. Every chance I get outside of these things, I get on the train to London to see friends and soak up some of the excitement of the city!
Otherwise, I’m really interested in holistic therapies and have started learning more about nature’s healers, especially natural remedies and homeopathy. So, I’m dipping into and trying out remedies for me and my family when I get the chance. We’re also going abroad for the first time in 4 years this summer, so really looking forward to some time away (who isn’t?!) in August!
Get to know rest of the Luminate gang a little better on our ‘Meet the Team’ page or read our blog, where you can follow our research and opinions on wellbeing and mental health.
*Psychosynthesis – a therapeutic approach that focuses on personal growth and development. It supports the concept of individual identity and purpose, and places value on the self to become more evolved and self-actualised.
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