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Ideas & Observations

Behind the entrepreneur: Bethany Ainsley

About the interviewee: Bethany Ainsley is a corporate wellbeing specialist, coach, and entrepreneur, and with a team, has provided award-winning services to help people improve their health and wellbeing for more than fifteen years. Bethany was awarded the David Goldman Prize for Innovation in 2015 to recognise the work in innovation and behaviour change, having helped individuals of all ages and backgrounds to make healthy lifestyle choices for long-lasting results with Nuvo Wellbeing. More recently, Bethany was presented with a Director of the Year Award from the Institute of Directors for the development of the employee wellbeing software and services delivered by OptiMe, supporting businesses to achieve enhanced employee wellbeing, greater workforce happiness and improved productivity. Bethany released ‘Don’t Burn Out, Stand Out’ this month.


Tell us about ‘Don’t Burn Out, Stand Out’, who should be reading?

Life as an entrepreneur can feel like 100-miles an hour. There is always something else to be done to keep the business thriving, and the constant pressure to perform well can become overwhelming and stressful. With 51% of UK business owners having experienced burnout since the beginning of the Covid-19 Pandemic, I believe balancing working life and wellbeing should be non-negotiable.

Broken down into easy-to-read chapters, the book outlines the PROSPER model, a summary of the seven key characteristics entrepreneurs need to harmonise their health, wellbeing and working lives.

Using my expertise and knowledge, as well as anecdotes from my personal experiences and those of accomplished entrepreneurs, the book is a masterclass in how to prevent burnout without sacrificing business performance.

Within it I explore a range of psychological theories and wellbeing techniques, as well as topics such as time management, navigating imposter syndrome, identifying purpose, overcoming procrastination and optimising the working environment. The book reinforces the fact that when business leaders neglect themselves, it can lead to irritability, fatigue, low mood, stress, and illness, all of which pose both a risk to personal happiness and the health of any business.

Don’t Burn Out, Stand Out is a must-read for entrepreneurs that worry about taking time away from work to recharge. Recommending actionable tips and techniques, readers will be equipped with the knowledge on how to improve their wellbeing, productivity, and happiness, whilst simultaneously achieving business success. It is an essential read for anyone wanting to thrive personally and professionally in the modern world.


In a perfect day, what does work-life balance look like for you?

As someone who wakes up bright and early, I like to begin my day with some quality time with my son, a healthy breakfast, and a few stretches to energise myself for the day ahead.

As a person who likes to plan, I try to schedule my activities as much as possible to maximise my time. I rank my tasks in order of priority and delegate them when feasible to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Although it may seem counterproductive when you’re busy, I make sure to take regular breaks to stretch my legs, chat with a colleague or have a healthy lunch.

After finishing work at a reasonable time, having had a productive day I like to dedicate some time to unwinding and relaxing. For example, I love cooking! Trying out new recipes is one of my favourite things to do, and I can easily get lost in the process. Plus, there’s nothing better than enjoying a tasty and healthy meal at the end of it all.

Of course, everyone’s definition of a perfect day and work-life balance is different, but the key is to find a balance that works for you and allows you to achieve your personal and professional goals while also prioritising your health and wellbeing. For me, the crucial thing is to try and be fully present. For example when I’m working, I try my best to concentrate solely on the task at hand, and when I am with my family, I direct my attention towards them and prioritise spending quality time together.


What have you observed to be the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs?

One of the biggest challenges for many entrepreneurs is being able to switch off and relax.

Running your own business can be quite demanding, and it’s easy to get so caught up in the daily grind that you feel like you can never take a break.

Entrepreneurship can be a demanding and high-pressure journey, with long work hours and many tasks to juggle. However, this kind of lifestyle can take a toll on your mental and physical wellbeing over time, leading to burnout and a decrease in productivity.

That’s why it’s crucial to find a healthy balance between work and relaxation. Not only does it help you maintain your overall wellbeing, but it also ensures that your business continues to run smoothly in the long term.


Do you have any advice you can share?

Within the book, I discuss the concept of shifting your mindset into a state of “switch-off” mode. This transition can entail various actions, such as changing to more comfortable attire, preparing a healthy meal, indulging in a relaxing bath, or reading a story with your children.

As you wind down, it’s a good idea to think about things that help you relax and unwind. You should also consider any bad habits that might be getting in the way of your chill time. By doing this, you’ll be able to fully enjoy your downtime and feel more refreshed when you’re done.


What is your go-to way to switch off?

When I need to unwind and take a break from work, my go-to method for switching off and relaxing is to spend some time in nature by taking a walk outdoors. It’s even better when I can bring my baby boy along with me. Not only is it a great opportunity to get some fresh air, but it can also offer a range of benefits for both physical and mental health.

Taking a walk outdoors in nature is an excellent way to reduce stress and anxiety by lowering cortisol levels and boosting mood. It provides a low-impact workout that improves cardiovascular health and strengthens muscles. Being in nature can also stimulate creativity and improve our focus and concentration. It’s amazing how a simple walk outdoors can have such a positive impact on our overall wellbeing.


What other reading would you recommend?

There are a few books that I always enjoy revisiting, such as…

–       The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down by Haemin Sunim

–       Good Vibes, Good Life by Vex King

–       Mindful Moments For Busy Mothers by Sarah Ruddell Beach



Find out more about OptiMe, here –

Connect with Bethany on LinkedIn, or follow at @bethanyainsley


Photography by Christopher Owens