Within weeks of Anita Reeves starting her new business with the intention of helping people live a happier, stress-free life -  lockdown engulfed the nation and left her small, independent business in crisis.

Now her business Cheeki Zen has grown so much that she’s had to find a bigger base at Acklam Hall and she plans to branch out into the corporate sector, offering mindfulness support to business leaders.

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“When lockdown was announced, like a lot of new business owners, I just though ‘what am I going to do’,” recalled Anita.

“But I wasn’t going to quit. Instead, I dug deep and found a way to move the business online and the response and support I received was nothing short of incredible.”

A former teacher, Anita embarked on her own wellbeing journey around 20 years ago after becoming overwhelmed with stress. She started with a daily meditation routine. After catching the wellness bug, she trained in clinical hypnotherapy to expand her skillset.

The Northern Echo: Anita Reeves at Acklam HallAnita Reeves at Acklam Hall (Image: Press release)

Through Cheeki Zen, Anita offers everything else – from life coaching to a bespoke wellbeing programme called Mindcalm.

And what’s the ultimate level of inner peace? According to Anita, it is something she’s dubbed ‘permanent holiday happy’.

It is basically that incredible feeling everyone has when you leave the office and head to the nearest airport for a spot of R&R.

“This really resonated during the covid pandemic, as everyone was so down about not being able to travel and take a holiday and there was definitely an increase of people feeling stressed because they couldn’t have that escape,” she added.

“Because they couldn’t go on holiday, I instead worked on helping clients find that feeling permanently and I think it really helped a lot of people’s mental health during the pandemic."

One event, a support group for the parents of children with autism, sold out in just two hours while there are waiting lists for Anita’s help and guidance that has yielded some incredible results.

“For the last three years I’ve been coaching a girl who left school with no qualifications, and her parents were distraught about what she would do in the future,” added Anita.

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“But in that time, I’ve coached and guided her and really helped to bring her on. She’s now managed to pass her A-levels and is now studying marketing at university.

“That’s all been done online too, as it started during the pandemic – we haven’t even met in person.”

She attributes a lot of her success to her BNI business support network which helped her navigate the hurdles of the past few years whilst offering guidance on things like marketing and training.