Our in-house Wellbeing Expert Pauline Beaumont
I first came across Pauline via her incredible book Bread Therapy: The Mindful Art of Baking Bread. We connected through our mutual passion for good mental health. So I was thrilled when she agreed to join us as our In-House Wellbeing Expert.
Pauline lives in north Northumberland with husband Tom and Patterdale Terrier Cedric, she has six now grown-up children and works as a Student Counsellor at Newcastle University. She is a passionate believer in the therapeutic value of creativity, of making things by hand and, in particular, of baking sourdough bread.
A keen, amateur baker, she has recognised the opportunities that the processes and experiences of bread making present us with to practise mindfulness and to contribute to good self-care. Pauline believes that choosing our ingredients carefully and getting our hands into some dough gives us a chance to be creative and to carry on learning, things we know have a positive impact on our cognitive health. In expressing our values and connecting us with other people, becoming a bread maker can form an important element of our identity and our sense of self.
Pauline contends that the fundamental metaphor of bread making is transformation – the change from inedible flour to nourishing loaves which can be seen as a healthy reminder that change is always possible for us too.
After working in the arts for twenty years, Pauline returned to university to train in psychological therapy and moved to her current job after a period working for the NHS in a primary care mental health service.
A strong advocate for therapy, Pauline also champions things we can do to help ourselves that are highly therapeutic but are not therapy. In these activities, the combination of being close to nature and being creative is a potent one and it is a formula that is embodied in the making of sourdough bread. In her book Bread Therapy: The Mindful Art of Baking Bread, Pauline describes the ways in which becoming a maker as well as an eater of sourdough bread can add to our psychological well-being as well as our physical health, two things which we increasingly realise cannot be meaningfully examined separately.
You can follow Pauline on Instagram @paulinemarybeaumont