Stress, relaxation….and a new venue


Wed 15th June saw DOPM try out a new venue at the Wig and Pen in Oxford. Personally, I’ll miss the charm of the howling dog and the mouse-eaten Christmas decorations that came with the White House… but some people have higher standards than me it seems.

Despite the appalling rain, the turnout was great and there were a few new faces, so hopefully the more central venue works for everyone (please let us know what you think).

The Evening kicked off with Stephen facilitating a session on stress, stress triggers and how we can resolve them. It was meant to be co-run with Ian May, but the stress of Oxford traffic delayed his arrival… (oh the irony).


It’s testament to the openness of DOPM members that this ended up being a really honest and insightful session. It’s all too easy to be blaze about our jobs and forget that stress accounts for about 35% of all ill-health cases at work. Most people will know someone who has been personally impacted by severe stress (or they will have had this grim experience theirselves).

Slides for this talk are here:


Following this was the amazing Calliste giving her inaugural DOPM talk. It was a screen-free zone as we got amazing flip-chart sketch notes to accompany her honest and inspiring talk. There were numerous nods in the audience as Calliste recounted an all-too familiar tale of late hours, juggling numerous balls, ill-health and essentially putting too much value/attachment on ‘a job’.

Thankfully the story had a happy ending. You can read Calliste’s blog on this subject:

What really hit home for me, was the need to enjoy my free time more and do more things ‘for me’. A great insight I took away was to ‘think about the stuff you liked to do when you were ten years old’ as its highly likely that stuff still provides great enjoyment and stress relief for you now (e.g. football, art, comics, writing being silly).

Finally, it all got super-groovy and we took off our shoes to become uber-relaxed and completely de-stressed with the the amazing Laura Sewell from Resonate Yoga.

It’s hard to cover what we did… breathing in and out doesn’t make for good writing, but this was a massive hit for me. I left feeling really chilled and since that point I’ve signed up for Headspaces’s free 10for10 program . Along with some other changes I’m making, I’m kind of hoping this could be the start of some big adjustments in my life that lead to positive outcomes.

So friendly people, brave and intimate tales of dealing with stress, life-changing stillness and free drinks courtesy of Austin Fraser and Gather Content… I’d say a pretty good night all in all.

If you’re not already coming to DOPM… you really should. If you already come, please keep spreading the word… there’s something good going on here.





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