Our upcoming May-June issue cover/CMP Series story will focus on mental health in the workplace. Here’s an example of how the pandemic shifted one professional’s priorities to help others focus on wellness.
In December 2019, right before the pandemic, Christine Patruno, a full-time research assistant at a hedge fund in New York City, decided she needed a “passion project.” Healthy eating habits and mindfulness had been key to her success as a college athlete (Division II tennis) and she had drawn on that experience when she first graduated from grad school as a social worker, helping to make sure children had access to healthy food. She thought about getting certified to become a nutrition coach. The silver lining during the pandemic lockdown for her is that it gave her the time to kick that idea into high gear. She passed the exam on the first try.
Patruno started CPHonesTea, a nutrition and mindfulness coaching platform, and hired a like-minded business mentor, a woman who had left the corporate world to pursue her health coaching and yoga passion. Patruno said that she started paying attention to what made her happy: Serving other people. She put a plan in place last year to leave her full-time job and devote herself 100 percent to coaching.
She attributes her early success so far to clients wanting to have a healthier lifestyle after the “stress, burnout, confusion, fear, and panic” during COVID. “Many people were feeling that way,” she said, because they had lost their routine and weren’t eating or sleeping well. “People weren’t able to create better boundaries around work. They were forced to refigure out that work/life balance. So that’s the biggest thing that really brought clients over, especially in 2020 and early 2021.”
No matter the source of stress in her clients’ lives, Patruno recommends starting every morning with “a nourishing non-negotiable.” For her, that’s 16 ounces of water with lemon. “A nourishing non-negotiable practice helps you mentally shift to being more mindful throughout the day,” she said. “It’s going to translate into other practices where you better boundary set.”
Michelle Russell is editor in chief of Convene.