We’re partnering with Live Well London Festival to discover the best in wellbeing! Here, we chat to festival founder Sam Willoughby about the wellbeing weekend not to be missed…
Hi Sam, what inspired you to start Live Well London?
I’d been working in global events and exhibition companies for 19 years, starting my career in marketing and working my way up to event director. But as a mum of two, I was beginning to find the 50-hour weeks at a very corporate, top heavy organisation, a bit much. My motivation and passion for the job was waning, and I was starting to lose confidence in what I was doing. The work-life-balance, didn’t really exist!
That sounds like quite a relatable scenario for many people…
After seeing a personal coach, I realised that what I really love doing, and what I’m good at, is events, and building something up that culminated in a physical experience. So, I made the leap and left the company I’d worked
at for 13 years to start my own events business – luckily with an investor. Given my own struggle for a work-life balance, combined with knowing how important it is to look after yourself both physically and mentally, Live Well Events was born.
What do you love most about your work?
Meeting some of the truly inspirational and genuinely lovely people in the wellbeing industry, who are so welcoming, so open with their advice, generous with their time, and genuine in their desire to spread the message of the importance of a balanced approach to wellbeing.
What makes this festival so special?
Live Well was founded on the ethos that a healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body, and focusing on emotional wellbeing as much as physical wellbeing is key. We believe that wellness is unique to each of us, and that’s why it’s important for people to be able to make their own informed wellbeing choices – based on trying out what works for them, and learning from credited experts and evidence-based brands.
What makes the festival really special, is all the people who contribute – we’re passionate about a balanced approach to wellbeing, and have a special interest in creating a happy, welcoming, inclusive environment.
‘Wellness’ can sometimes be seen as a privilege – how does Live Well London address that?
We feel that wellbeing should be accessible to all, not a luxury. We’ve priced tickets to be affordable, and there are no hidden costs or extras for booking on to classes. We have more than 130 classes across yoga, meditation, pilates, fitness, mindfulness, and the Boutique studio sessions, plus a packed programme of daily talks and workshops in the Knowledge Hub and Live Kitchen – all included in the ticket price.
And you can absolutely come as you are! You don’t need to feel like you have all the latest kit, or be gym-ready and well-practised in the moves, to join us. If you’re not into classes, come along to the talks, have a mindful cocktail, relax and chill out in The Retreat, while trying something new like a Sound Gong Bath. There really is something for everyone.
What has working on the festival taught you?
Being so entrenched in this industry, you are constantly reading and hearing about new ways to look after yourself, both physically and mentally – but I think if I had to narrow it down to just one thing, it would be the importance of credibility in the wellness industry. There are so many new brands popping up, and new advice coming out, so it’s important to make sure you source your information from credible experts and brands.
What principles will you be living well by in 2020?
It’s important when looking at starting a new year that any principles or personal pledges must be sustainable, achievable, and something that can be continued across the year. It can be something small, like remembering to step back and take a breath every now and again, or trying to commit to taking a small amount of physical activity every day to support mental health.
I’ll also be taking more time to be kind to others, as well as remembering to be kind to myself – especially as we head into the last few busy weeks before the festival!
Live Well London takes place from 28 February to 1 March at Old Billingsgate, London, with speakers including psychologist Kimberley Wilson, sportsperson Jonny Wilkinson CBE, and the unstoppable Dame Kelly Holmes.
Visit livewelllondon.com and use the code Happy15 for 15% off tickets (excluding VIP).