Balancing the Grind with Elizabeth Lerpiniere, Partnerships Manager at Thrive: Mental Wellbeing

Elizabeth Lerpiniere is the Partnerships Manager at Thrive: Mental Wellbeing, an app designed to help you and your employees prevent and manage stress, anxiety, and related conditions.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I’m a Partnership Manager at Thrive: Mental Wellbeing. We’re a digital mental healthcare provider and we work with organisations globally to provide quality mental health support to their teams.

I studied psychology at university, and have always been passionate about helping people look after their mental wellbeing. Both my parents were mental health nurses, and many of my friends and family have been affected by poor mental health and mental illness so it has always been something I’ve been interested in. After university I worked for a mental health charity as a Partnership Coordinator, promoting corporate fundraising and volunteering before joining Thrive. 

I’m such a people person, so I feel really lucky that I get to spend my working days talking to so many different people about mental health care – something that is so important to me. Not many people get to say they’ve turned their passion into a job which helps people so I’m incredibly grateful for that!

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

Most mornings I try to wake up around 6.30am – and no matter what people tell you this has never gotten easier! This allows me some time to have a coffee in bed and catch up on some news before I get up. I try to get outside for a run or at least a walk before getting ready for work as I find it really helps me wake up and get ready for the day.

I spend the first 10-15 minutes of each work day planning out my day; I list my meetings and then any To-Dos in priority order, and then time block them in my calendar. This allows me to really focus on what I’m doing as I do get distracted quite easily by my inbox! 

After that, the rest of my day can vary depending on how many meetings I’ve got. Most days I have calls with potential partners, discussing how best we can support them with their wellbeing strategies. I also do a lot of live demonstrations of our app which is the best way to show people how we can help them. I always make sure to fit in some catch-ups with my colleagues too. It’s really important to me to do this as we all work remotely and so don’t get to spend a lot of time together. They’re an amazing group of people with such interesting careers and experience, I try to learn as much from them as I can. 

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

At Thrive we all work completely remotely, with the opportunity to co-work with our colleagues nearby in office spaces if we’d like to. Our culture is incredibly flexible, allowing us to work in the best way for ourselves which I truly appreciate.

For me, this means being able to start a little later if I’ve been for a longer morning run, or being able to leave slightly earlier to do the school run.

Having a flexible approach to working means I know that I am working in the way that is best for me, meaning I am bringing my best self to work every day.

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

For me, work-life balance is about never feeling that work is the only thing you do, that you can’t get away from it or it’s taken over your life. I love my job and enjoy the challenges it brings me, or the feeling of accomplishment I get when I achieve something new, but it is not the only thing that occupies brain space. 

It’s important to set boundaries with yourself and your colleagues so that your balance doesn’t get disturbed by others who work in different ways than you. For example, I always turn my laptop and work mobile off when I am done working for the day. The specific time I do that changes each day depending on what I’m working on, but once I am offline that is it until the next day.

This is a very easy way for my colleagues to see when I am/am not available and it allows me to be completely focused on my family outside of work. Similarly over a weekend or when I’m on holiday I won’t check emails, and I’ll limit how much I use LinkedIn so I don’t switch back into ‘work brain’ mode. 

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

Without sounding like a cliché, regular mindfulness practice, running and sea swimming have made such a difference to my life.

I was the BIGGEST mindfulness sceptic growing up, as it’s something my mum has always talked about (she is a mindfulness coach) and so of course I immediately dismissed it like any typical young person. Over lockdown she ran an 8 week course via Zoom and given I had nothing else to do I thought it was probably time I gave it a try.

I cannot overstate how much of a difference I feel with regular mindfulness practice; I’m much calmer, much more balanced emotionally and just don’t feel the same sense of overwhelm that I used to. During the 8 week course I was practising every day which I’m not able to do now, but I try to fit 3 or 4 sessions in a week using some sessions in the Thrive app and the Mindfulness Association app.

Other than that, running and sea swimming have had a big impact. We recently moved close to the beach which has allowed me to start having early morning dips in the sea. I’m still new to it and the North Sea is very cold so I don’t stay in for long but I love it! I always feel so energised afterwards. 

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

Atomic Habits by James Clear is the book most people recommend when asked this question, but there’s a really good reason for that! The book breaks down the steps to forming good habits and is a great read. James Clear also has a weekly email newsletter which I find really inspiring and motivating. 

I also recently read Arianna Huffington’s book and loved it. Her book breaks down different approaches to wellbeing, explaining the research behind each as well as some history from where it came from. A must read for anyone interested in wellbeing.

Podcast wise, I love ‘Feel Better, Live More with Dr Rangan Chatterjee’. I’m a huge fan of Dr Chatterjee’s in general; I have all his books and have seen him speak a few times. He is a GP in the UK and has a huge focus on helping people live healthier lives by focusing on different areas of wellbeing from stress reduction to better nutrition.

On his podcast he interviews experts from different areas of health and wellbeing, explaining different changes we can make to live healthier lives. His episode with Ariana Huffington is a great one.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

I’d be a bad salesperson if I didn’t say the Thrive app here wouldn’t I! Jokes aside, the Thrive app has genuinely become part of my routine and I use the meditation section a lot. 

My Google Calendar is my absolute lifeline – if it’s not in there it isn’t happening! I rely heavily on this to stay organised.  

Other than that, I carry a paper notebook and a pen everywhere. All my to do lists are in there and it’s such a nice visual way of monitoring my progress. I have tried to do list apps and productivity apps but they just don’t have the same appeal and I end up not using them!

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?  

I really admire Jacinda Ardern. I’d love to read about how she manages such a successful career while balancing family life, all while continually being put down for her choices on the world stage.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Work life balance has to be about what works for you. I love reading about what other people do and trying to implement it into my life and routine, and some things stick, but nothing really worked until I took stock of what was important to me, the way I work best, and put boundaries in place to make those things happen. 

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.