Noora Fagerström’s hectic life requires planned and systematic recovey

In the newest episode of Mehiläisen Pisto -podcast serie A New Direction for Occupational health care, Mehiläinen’s Account management and B2B-marketing Director Andrea Alvarez-Tarjasalo is accompanied with the founder of Jungle Juice Bar and serial entrepreneur Noora Fagerström. They discuss how an entrepreneur manages to take care of her own and her staff’s well-being and coping.

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Jungle Juice Bar was founded in 2010 and has since grown rapidly. At the moment there are more than 55 bars, and the company is also going international. For Noora Fagerström the past decade has been hectic. However, Noora says she is used to the pace:

- I have always been a hard worker. At best, I had four jobs and took care of school and training at the same time, Noora says. She continues to add that it has always demanded conscious planning to ensure she would recover as well.

For Noora, taking care of her well-being starts with the basics: exercise, nutrition and sleep. She exercises a lot since it gives her energy and helps her to get her thoughts out of work. A healthy diet is also important, since it affects her vitality and energy level.

Noora doesn’t deny herself treats but considers it important not to get caught in unhealthy eating. In addition, she thinks it’s crucial to know how much sleep you need, as enough sleep helps to balance your everyday life. Noora herself lives a busy life with three small children and a fast-paced entrepreneurial career. That’s also why her days can sometimes be quite long. It is important for Noora to dedicate her weekends to her family, exercise and recovery and that’s why she often works on the evenings during the week.

- I sleep less during the week. That’s why I also train less and pay attention to what I eat. On the weekends I take it back. That means I sleep more, focus on recovery and also do harder workouts.

The best way to recover for Noora is to spend time with her friends and family, and to spend time outdoors.

Taking care of your well-being is individual

Noora emphasizes individuality in well-being. People are different and what works for one may not work for another. Even though her daily rhythm may feel overwhelming to some, Noora herself considers it as something that gives her even more energy. However, she points out that alongside all this it’s important to listen to yourself and relax when your body demands it.

Since people are different, Noora wants to know her employees in order to understand their needs. When you know them well enough, you learn to recognize the signs of exhaustion as soon as they occur. Then you are also able to intervene early enough. Especially the role of supervisors and managers is essential since they meet their employees daily. Noora thinks flexibility towards her staff is very important and has received praise about it from the staff.

Mental health services as a part of occupational health care

Most of Jungle Juice Bar’s employees are quite young. For some of them, the pace and demands of working life might have come as a surprise. However, the desire to succeed is often strong. Talking to a therapist has helped many to balance with the demands. Noora herself has received help from therapy and has therefore wanted to offer the same opportunity to her employees as well:

- I think everyone should go to therapy to talk about their own life before the situation goes too far. A lot of people don’t realize they need help until they’re already on the verge of a burn out. Employers can take care of themselves and their employees by investing in therapy already in advance.

The amount of sick leave due to mental health problems have increased during the pandemic situation. Noora thinks now is the right time for employers to wake up and start taking better care of the well-being of their staff, also on the mental health side.

However, Noora points out that it’s important to distinguish between fatigue and exhaustion. She thinks it’s good to have therapy services available when they are needed, but other services may work better in some cases:

- You don’t always need a long period of therapy. It might even be enough to talk to someone just once.

The key factors in taking care of the well-being of an entrepreneur and their staff for Noora is individuality and to understand what adds or drains ones energy. She thinks exercise, nutrition and sleep are the most important variables and also highlights the relation between these three. She also reminds us not to be too strict:

- You should not stress too much about not sleeping enough, eating bad, or not exercising. We all have those periods, and it must be accepted. Finding a middle ground and staying on it will help.