Katherine Jenkins, the world famous classical singer and songwriter, meets June Sarpong, the presenter, broadcaster and campaigner, in the third in a series of InSync Stories, produced in conjunction with Activia.
The series brings together inspiring women who share their stories of how they balance their personal lives with successful careers. We also discover how they recognise their InSync moments - when they feel confident, in control and like they’re reaching their full potential.
In this video, Katherine and June talk about the importance of charity work in their lives and how they stay InSync by scheduling calm time for themselves away from their professional worlds. Together they discuss the value of treasuring the small moments that bring happiness to their lives.
June, 39, is a panellist on Loose Women and Sky News’ weekly political debate show The Pledge. In 2007 she was awarded an MBE for her charity and broadcast work. A former presenter of T4, June has balanced her TV roles with campaigning work, primarily around the issue of female empowerment. She is an ambassador for Prince Charles’s charity, The Prince’s Trust, and she is co-founder of the WIE Network (Women: Inspiration & Enterprise), an influential women’s leadership network that provides professional women with the inspiration and learning to succeed in their careers. June’s latest charitable project is Ldny, an organisation which helps young people from lower income communities in the UK, the USA and the developing world to gain entry into the creative industries and fulfill their career potential, whatever their backgrounds.
Giving is receiving
Katherine and June kick off their InSync conversation by talking about their charity work and what it means to them. Katherine, whose work includes fundraising concerts for Help for Heroes and the British Forces Foundation says: “When I’m giving back, it makes me feel in sync with the rest of the world.
“Of all the things I need in my life - feeling healthy and strong, having my family time and time to perform and be prepared - I think the charity aspect is the wider part of feeling in sync.”
June says: “I agree with you 100%. The moment you take yourself out of the equation and you focus on giving, in the end you receive more. I get as much enjoyment from my charity work as I do from my career. I definitely feel in sync when I’m able to be of service in some way.”
How to switch off and gain more
The two women go on to talk about how they relax away from work. For June, it’s meditation, just 10 minutes a day. “I honestly notice the difference, how it affects my day in terms of how calm I am. If it’s a particularly stressful day and I have done a little bit of meditation, it doesn’t impact me in the same way. I’m able to breathe it out and brush it off.”
For Katherine, her relaxing time is cooking at home with her husband. “My relaxation is just being at home and being casual, no make-up, hair tied back and getting in the kitchen,” she confesses. “We get to catch up on the day while we’re cooking. I would say that’s a good stress-buster.”
June suggests that one way to feel InSync, to get perspective on your life, is to take a step back and cherish what you have. “I really take the time to think of all the things in my life that I have to be grateful for,” she says. “In our society we so often focus on all the big stuff but actually it’s the simple, little things that really we should be grateful for, like: ‘The sun came out today, hey, I’m going to smile at that’.”
Taking a moment to be grateful
Hilda Burke, a psychotherapist and life coach, says: “Most people think happiness is about getting what you want but actually a lot of happiness is about wanting what you get and focusing on what you have. In western culture where we’re bombarded with constant consumerist messages, it’s important to acknowledge the good things in our lives and be grateful for those.
“When things go well in our lives, we should acknowledge them, not just accept them as the norm, so that when change comes - as it inevitably does - we’re fortified and balanced.
“Everybody needs a restorative, calm space in our lives and meditation is ideal because it’s not dependent on anyone else or our environment. You can meditate on a crowded bus or at work. It’s within us all to focus on our breath, to regulate our emotional temperature and nurture ourselves.”
But it’s not just being grateful for what we have that contributes to our overall happiness. Like June and Katherine, we can all find fulfillment by giving back. Research has shown that giving to others - whether it’s your time and energy, money or expertise - releases endorphins in the brain and boosts happiness for us as well as the people we help. It really is true that it’s better to give than receive. You can read more at Action for Happiness.
The InSync Stories video series, produced in conjunction with Activia, sees inspiring women reflect on their lives and the ways they stay InSync - balancing career success, family life and finding personal fulfillment. The series is hosted by prolific classical-crossover singer and songwriter Katherine Jenkins, OBE, and Victoria Pendleton, women whose work and family life exemplify what it means to be InSync.
Activia believes that women can achieve their best when they feel InSync - with a sense of harmony, order and control. For more InSync inspiration, go to danoneactivia.co.uk.