At A&E Agency, we understand that a great company starts with great people, a positive attitude, and a desire to make a difference. As we come out of the pandemic and continue to look forward, we have been focusing on what has helped us to stay motivated and what influences us to keep going. With the Great British Summer upon us and lockdown restrictions easing - again, we’re all trying to figure out what our new normal is - again. In these times, our physical and mental wellbeing is paramount. With most people commenting on the positive impact of a sexy health life, we decided to explore those stories and share them with you. Whether they resonate, inspire or ignite that fitness fire, these are our stories, and these are your stories. Here’s the next chapter of #howsexyisyourhealthlife
"The three kind of come hand in hand for me, I think more clearly and I’m happier when I exercise. When I’m working, its 100% work, when I’m parenting – I’m all in and it’s the same on the pitch"
Motherhood is a fulfilling and full-time job with clear rewards and satisfaction, a successful career is the result of hard-work and dedication, and competitive team sport is important for physical health, self-esteem and teaching teamwork and problem-solving skills. When the globe went into lockdown, everyone’s carefully balanced schedules were tipped upside down and we were forced to rethink all aspects of our lives to suit our temporary new world. Parents became teachers, the dining table became the office and for those who did keep up with exercise, the small burst of activity was a catharsis from the rollercoaster of emotions we were experiencing.
Christina Cassidy, our principal recruitment consultant, has been with the A&E agency for almost a decade. Alongside being a well-loved and respected recruiter amongst her doctors and colleagues, she spent her time before lockdown playing centre-forward as captain of the hockey team and raising a toddler in the hustle and bustle of central London. Post-pandemic, Christina's life looks very different. She packed up her hockey sticks and home and left the city for the beautiful Yorkshire countryside. We sit down and talk keeping fit, work and motherhood - and how she keeps all the plates spinning at once.
How did you get into hockey and how long did you play as part of the team?
I only started when I joined secondary school; think grass pitch and wooden hockey sticks. I loved everything about the sport. Luckily, I joined a team outside of school that nurtured it and by 13 I was playing on a team with adults at the weekend. I used to play to quite a good standard but then I got older.
What position did you play in?
For the past 7 years I played for the central London team, GoWapping. I have always been a centre forward and captained the team for the last few years before my big move up North!
How did you feel when you had to relocate? I imagine it was a little bittersweet as you have the most amazing dream family home but had to leave London and your hockey team?
The move was a huge decision for me but it's what’s best for my family. I have a very energetic three-year-old boy and I desperately wanted him to have the kind of childhood I had. Playing outside all day, growing our own food so I consider myself very lucky right now. But I do miss a lot of things about London.
That’s amazing. Which food are you growing?
Attempting, haha. Tomatoes, strawberries, aubergine, cauliflower, broad beans, romano peppers, spring onion, courgettes and pumpkin. Oh, and all the herbs as they are easy!
What do you do now to fill the gap from hockey?
I started a new team up here as soon as restrictions allowed me to. Hockey is a big part of my life and something I really enjoy so it was always going to be a priority for me. The season doesn’t start till September though so now it’s a lot of running, cycling and stretching to keep the fitness ahead of next season. I’m not a natural runner and have to work at it. A few years back I got into the London Marathon and well that was the best day ever, so I try and keep it up.
How do you manage working in recruitment, being the coolest mum and fitting in your fitness?
I don’t know about being a cool Mum, I’m in bed by 9pm and up at 5am as that’s literally the only way I can make it work. The three kind of come hand in hand for me, I think more clearly and I’m happier when I exercise. When I’m working, its 100% work, when I’m parenting – I’m all in and it’s the same on the pitch.
What made you buy a Peloton bike?
This made me laugh, without sounding like a Peloton advert, I did A LOT of research into it. It was a huge investment. But the Peloton ticked a few boxes for me; accountability, measurable and community. I schedule all my rides down to the minute the previous week, which massively appeals to my organisational side. You can see output, resistance and then there’s a leader board which for anyone who knows me, they know how competitive I am. Then it has a sense of community. I can join classes with my friends in London who have bikes and that’s a lot of fun.
Why do you work out?
A million reasons. I tend to only do things I enjoy and luckily that covers quite a lot for me. I sleep better and im strangely calmer if I’ve a lot of physical activity. Like a lot of others, I went through an incredibly anxious time during the pandemic. My Mum was on a palliative care ward during the first lockdown and running was very therapeutic at the time. So, I know it works for me, physically and mentally.
How important do you think fitness is as part of a daily routine, as a woman, mother and especially post-pandemic and the things we learned?
For me, it's priority and always will be but that’s easier said than done. On a Sunday, I get all my gear out ahead of the week, write down what im doing and I find that encourages me. I think that the pandemic has taught us the importance of physical and mental wellbeing, but that also it doesn’t need to be at a swanky gym or take up your whole morning. When it comes to being a Mum, I like to know what I’m capable of and right now it’s important for me to set an example to my son. I’ve already signed him up to a hockey school in September – although the thought of a toddler with a hockey stick is a little bit frightening.
Looking after physical and mental health and keeping fit is important and accessible for every level of fitness. Keep up to date with our campaign to understand the importance of a sexy health life on our LinkedIn page or you can watch our previous episode “Lockdown to half-marathon” here