Episode TwoHundredTwentyEight

Self Care in the Age of COVID

Guest: Nieka Namczak, Sales Enablement & Productivity Manger at Udemy

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About This Episode

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that for the vast majority of us, COVID has caused us to spend more time sitting. Most of us aren’t commuting to the office, unless you count the 10 steps from the bedroom to the desk. 

We’re spending less time walking to the car, walking to the building, and as a result, many of us are spending less time on exercise. 

Our gyms are closed, and we either don’t have the equipment to work out at home, or we don’t know how. What are you supposed to use in place of a dumbbell? What do you do if you don’t have a spin bike? 

And besides physical exercise, a lot of us have neglected taking care of ourselves in a lot of other ways. Mentally, emotionally, spiritually, we’re not exercising. So what are we going to do about it? 

On this episode of The Sales Engagement Podcast, we talk with Nieka Namczak. Nieka is the Sales Enablement & Productivity Manger at Udemy, and came to chat all about self-care. How do you make it a priority, how do you help your team embrace it, and why is it such a big deal in the long run?

Why Exercise? 

“But I’m getting my work done, why do I need to focus on exercising?” 

This question gets asked over and over again. Because there is a group of people that are thriving in this stay home environment. People that love not going outside and would rather sit around and just not do much. 

But the reality is that there are three main reasons why Nieka and her team are so passionate about what she calls “movement” (which includes not only physical exercise, but mental, emotional, & spiritual exercise as well.” 

  1. Increased Socialization

Let’s face it. No Zoom call will ever replicate the collaboration you get from begin in the office with someone. There’s a disconnect that happens in the brain when your interactions with someone are wholly 2-dimensional. It’s not your fault, it’s the way the brain is wired. It’s why Zoom fatigue is such a real thing. 

  1. Energy

You know that feeling you get when you leave a conversation with someone and you just feel better? You feel lifted. Like you can take on the world, or at least that task that you’ve been putting off for weeks?


That’s what movement does. Think of how much better you feel when you start your day off with a run, or a yoga session, or 500 words of journaling. 


  1. Productivity

Nieka discovered that the more her team worked from home, the longer it took to do things. Because the efficiency in the office was gone. That buzz that you get from hearing the sales calls, the high fives, they’re all gone. 

So you need something to take the place of that buzz. Which is where movement comes into play. 

Practical Steps

Not everybody on your team is going to have a home gym. So you’re not going to be able to start every meeting with kettle-bell swings or push ups. Some folks are doing the best they can to just show up and be present in the meetings. 

But there are small ways that you can incorporate movement into your routines to mix things up and get people talking and get the energy levels back up. 

One of the ideas that Nieka has implemented is a scavenger hunt. If it sounds silly, stick with it. Take 3 rooms that everyone has in their house (kitchen, bedroom, bathroom.) Then give guidance on what people need to grab from those rooms.

Say it’s, “Why did I buy this? I can’t live without this. This is sentimental.” Those three things.

Then everybody comes back after 2 minutes and talks through why they chose each item. It’s simple, it’s quick, but it mixes things up, allows people to move their bodies a bit, and engage different parts of their brains than what they’re typically using during a Zoom meeting. 

Don’t Call it Exercise

Exercise can be a triggering word for people. A lot of folks will have a visceral reaction to the word and will immediately tune out. Plus exercise insinuates that you’re just talking about physical activity. 

Movement is obviously physical, but getting people out of their ruts involves more than just burpees or jumping jacks. 

Maybe it’s learning a new hobby like pickling or knitting or sourdough bread making. Maybe it’s learning a new language or taking on a project around the house that you’ve always wanted to learn how to do. 

Staying in doesn’t mean sitting down and staying stagnant. It means using whatever you have to build your physical muscles, and your mental and emotional and spiritual muscles as well. Take a walk, meditate, read a book on a subject that you wouldn’t normally be interested in. 

It’s Contagious

With a team spread all over the world, movement is a common language that everyone can understand. It will hook people from all over the place and begin to build camaraderie and teamwork in a way that you haven’t seen before. 

Everyone can move. Start with a team fitness challenge, but don’t limit it to just physical exercise. Anything that exercises your mind, body, or soul counts. Reading, yoga, journaling, meditation. It’s all fair game.

Before you know it, employees will be challenging one another, bringing up their new hobbies in meetings, and you’ll notice the energy and enthusiasm begin to return to your team. 

So think of something you’ve not done in a while that you love doing, that you know you can pick back up, and commit to that.

Then think of something brand new that you’ve never done. It scares you to think about it, but it’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn. An instrument. A language. Yoga. Whatever it is.

Then do it. And tell someone about it. And then tell more people. And watch it spread like wildfire through your team.

For more engaging sales conversations, subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.

About The Podcast

The Sales Engagement podcast is the #1 podcast focused on engaging your customers and prospects in the modern sales era. This show features real-life stories and best practices from revenue leaders doing the job day in and day out, in a casual, radio-like talk show.

Each episode features modern tactics, strategies, hacks, and tips to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy and help you navigate the next generation of sales. You’ll find energetic talks that will provide you with real actionable value around building meaningful connections and creating a better selling experience through authentic conversations that you can measure.

The Sales Engagement podcast is here to help B2B sales leaders, customer success leaders, and marketing leaders innovate and usher in the next era of modern sales by building pipeline, up-selling customers, and ultimately generating more revenue with more efficiency.

Hosted by Joe Vignolo, Senior Content Managing Editor at Outreach, and Mark Kosoglow, Vice President of Sales at Outreach.

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