Award-winning mum finding her inner Zen

Published 2:00pm 12 September 2022

Award-winning mum finding her inner Zen
Words by Jodie Powell

Jo Stevens is a mum on a mission.

The Joyner Mindfulness and Mindful Movement Coach wants to empower people to take control of their mental health and make mental wellbeing in the workplace a part of everyday conversation.

Jo, who founded The Zen Zone about three years ago, was awarded third place in Wellness and Wellbeing category at this year’s AusMumpreneur Awards.

Her mental wellbeing journey began when her husband was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after serving 27 years in the Army.

Passionate discovery

Award-winning mum finding her inner Zen

“When he was diagnosed it was a really hard time for our whole family – our kids were teens at the time,” Jo recalls.

“I just wasn’t taking care of my own mental health and I had a little bit of a breakdown and realised I had to take care of myself first.

“It was the Year of Jo.”

She took a year off from her job as a teacher’s aide at a school for children with special needs to explore ways of supporting her own mental health and along the way became a mindfulness coach.

Jo says she was so passionate about her discoveries that she never returned to teaching.

Important support

Award-winning mum finding her inner Zen

Instead, she also took a Mental Health First Aid course and began to develop programs to help support workers and prevent mental health issues in workplaces.

The result is toolkits for Human Resources professionals and Mental Health First-Aiders, as well as for staff to support their colleagues.

“I felt there was a gap – why can’t we have prevention?

|“We need to change the mindset in the workplace, to change the stigma,” Jo explains.|

“It’s about noticing when people are struggling with their mental health and having tools to support them.

“We need to empower people, to have a proactive program, to get people to recognise the signs and manage their own mental health.”

Making a difference

In addition, Jo runs mindfulness and gratitude programs incorporating movement to support mental well-being.

“I do classes with ladies and you don’t have to be able to touch your toes – they really love the breathing techniques,” she laughs.

“I call it releasing the inner dragon.”

She’s also a co-author of Good Bye Busy, Hello Happy, which guides people to break the cycle of being busy and find time for themselves.

“My chapter is all about mental health and tips and tools for looking after yourself.”

Jo says recognition from the AusMumpreneur Awards shows she’s headed in the right direction with her programs.

“Just getting that recognition of knowing I am on the right path and making a difference - that means so much to me.

|“Knowing that other people can see the potential is amazing.”|

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