This week we caught up with Founder at Pause for Effect Aimee Bryan
1. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO LAUNCH PAUSE FOR EFFECT?
A couple of things collided in my life. Firstly, I’m a real library fan. I find the sanctuary of silence and the sanctity of knowledge inspiring. Books bring people together, and open our minds to a new, more creative way of being. But over the past few years, the library has had a rough run and the community and creative space is being lost to busier, more commercial versus learning first environments. I’ve been on a mission to build a business where people, learning and creativity combined within a peaceful environment, could become commercially viable.
Secondly, in 2015, I unwittingly reset myself. Redundancy came at an opportune moment and I took it, running full pelt into a world of freelancing and house renovation. Seeking sanctuary of sorts. Investing in my own mental and physical health. But after 18 months, company and culture came calling and I stepped back into the life I’d previously known. Only I wasn’t the same person. It no longer felt normal to have someone else choose my lunch – to spend 15 hours straight in the office and to work to another’s drum. It was a real shock to the system and what I’d been comfortable doing for years, almost broke me.
And so ‘pause’ was born. I want to help others recognise the benefit of taking time out for themselves. To be more conscious of the role that tech plays in our lives and to consider the role we want it to play. To help us each become more comfortable with silence again, to find activities that enable us to ignite our own creativity and individuality. I want to raise awareness of the need to put us first, every single day. Because only by being mentally and physically strong ourselves, can we be strong for others and set the right example for future generations. And so we pause for effect.
2. WHY DID YOU SET UP YOUR PAUSE JOURNALS?
Over the years, I’ve found journaling a really cathartic and therapeutic process during tough times. Sometimes we feel like our heads are just going to explode with what’s buzzing around in there! The never-ending to do lists, the tough work or home conversations that we plan and re-plan, the should I/shouldn’t I scenarios that build up… Getting that entire buzz out and into a journal is the equivalent of a good spring clean. When you de-clutter, you give yourself a fighting chance of making sense of it all. You feel lighter, brighter and more in control. It becomes real, and at the same time, more manageable.
And what I also realised last year when I set myself the challenge of documenting and sharing a daily ‘pause’, was that journaling every day made me more conscious of the decisions I was taking and the memories I was creating. Rather than getting to the weekend on autopilot, I was being more thoughtful about how I was using my time. And at the end of the week, I was more aware of how I’d spent my time. And I started becoming more considered in how I chose to use it.
Now, I love a good pen and physical journal, but I also recognised that having a digital journal would be more feasible for a lot of people – an easy entry point into a new discipline, which is where the idea for documenting your ‘first pause’ online came from.
3. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR PAUSE EXPERIENCES?
The Pause experiences were set up in response to the feeling of overwhelm that we each feel, in order to provide people with the opportunity to take time away from everyday life, to fully reset, and to find you again.
This summer, we’re working with Home Farm Glamping which is the perfect sanctuary, close enough to London to make it accessible but worlds away from London in terms of living life al fresco, sleeping under canvas and having 100 acres on your doorstep to explore and enjoy. We’ve taken care of all the details so that our guests have more time to focus on themselves. Real beds, real home-cooked fare, real fire and natural light and real human connections to forge. Down to the earplugs and shower gel, we’ve got it covered! We want our guests to dip in and out as they choose. To walk away feeling like their weekend investment was the equivalent of a week’s break. To be more aware of how they fuel their bodies nutritionally, socially and creatively and to want to use that knowledge in their every day lives, when they leave us.
4. HOW DID YOU CHOOSE THE ACTIVITIES FOR YOUR PAUSE EXPERIENCES?
At Pause, we believe it’s as important to refuel mentally as it is physically. And we’ve designed our curriculum to reflect this. Activities that our guests might be used to doing, as well as those they might not have done for a very long time, or ever! Woodland wanders with riddles scattered along the path. Dawn and dusk yoga classes. Creative writing and drawing sessions. Pottery, quilting, gardening and den building that require as much thought as physical investment.
And in terms of nutritional fuel… we have a variety of mealtime treats. Hampers full of delectable home-cooked treats that encourage free range guests. An organic chef who shares her knowledge as widely as the cooking experience itself, showcasing just how easy it is to cook organic. And we have more interactive experiences over the campfire at breakfast and dinner. Because we know that when you connect your senses to the cooking experience, you kick-start your digestive enzymes and metabolism. Communal dining with one simple rule: ‘no tech at the table’. We believe that life is better shared. That seeing and sensing the world through another’s eyes, ears or taste buds enhances our own experience. Activities that make us feel human again.
5. WHERE WILL YOU GO FROM HERE DO YOU THINK?
We want pausing to become a daily ritual rather than a summer escape, so will be using all our research and learning’s from this summer to launch urban Pauses. We will create environments that will benefit local communities and professional teams alike. Peaceful sanctuaries that encourage creativity alongside communal dining. And rather than encouraging switching off from tech, we want to work better with tech, creating digital tools that enable us to pause and journal more easily. Exciting times!
6. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE HANGOUT SPOTS IN LONDON?
The Reading room at the Welcome Collection is the most perfect geek chic hangout. Scarfes bar at the Rosewood Hotel feels like stepping back in time. Live music, great cocktails, an open fire to hypnotise you. Sharing tapas at the bar at Opera Tavern in Covent Garden, there is great service, amazing wine and food. Al fresco dining in the little garden at the Wine Gallery on Hollywood road, and lastly perched on a bench, in the sun, with a good book in the walled garden in Brockwell park.