Season 3 Episode 2 with Radim Malinic is now available. Listen now.
March 31, 2022

Self-care for user researchers with Jane Reid and Janice Hannaway

User researchers Jane Reid and Janice Hannaway put the spotlight on the vicarious trauma faced by user researchers working in complex areas such as homelessness, drug abuse and domestic violence and the importance of self-care for user researchers.

#009 - If you’re a user researcher, you probably put your users first. But maybe it’s time to put yourself first. In this episode, user researcher and former civil servant Jane Reid and user researcher and psychodynamic therapist Janice Hannaway stress the need for self-care in user research. User researchers working in complex areas such as homelessness, drug abuse and domestic violence, user researchers can experience vicarious trauma. Too often, this is not addressed properly or even spoken about. With almost 50 years of experience between them, Jane and Janice share their stories of working in these areas and their advice on how to look out for symptoms of trauma. We also talk about ways to maintain your wellbeing through self-care routines, respecting organisational boundaries and being aware of transference.

In this episode:

  • What is self-care for user researchers?
  • Why there’s not much talk of self care for user researchers?
  • What to do when your work conflicts with your values
  • How do you know when you need self-care?
  • Establishing a self-care routine
  • Accepting what you’re feeling and identifying the cause for it
  • Believing that you’ve done your best
  • Impact of remote working on research


Join Jane and Janice for a fireside chat on Thursday 7th April 2022


Self-care in user research

Sex and/or gender — working together to get the question right

Contacting Jane Reid

Contacting Janice Hannaway


Illustrations by Isa Vicente

Music by Brad Porter

Episode edited by Niall Mackay


[00:00:00] Jane Reid: There's a huge focus on users first and absolutely, users first, however, there has also got to be an emphasis and a shift to user researchers first. We are in a fast paced environment. You don't get time to recover from a lot of the hard hitting and harrowing stories that you hear and I think now we're trying to just get on that agenda, put your user researchers first, which will in turn you will put your users first because you're also protecting them too.

[00:00:32] Nirish Shakya: Self care for user researchers? Now that's something I hadn't heard of until I came across the work of Jane Reid and Janice Hanaway, both user researchers and passionate advocates for self care. Jane and Janice have almost 50 years of experience in between them working in complex areas, such as homelessness, drugs, alcohol abuse, and trauma and user researcher is working in these areas, get exposed to situations that can cause vicarious trauma. And too often researchers don't address their own needs until the symptoms become too severe. So in this episode, I wanted to find out what kind of situations cause the need for self care and what is self care? How do you recognize when he need it and how do you establish a self care routine yourself?

And as a bonus, Jane and Janice will be joining us for an intimate fireside on Thursday, the 7th of April, 2022 where you can ask them any questions that might come up as you listen to this episode, go to for more information and to register.

[00:01:39] Shivaun: This is the Design Feeling Podcast with your host Nirish Shakya.

[00:01:52] Nirish Shakya: Hi, my name is Nirish Shakya and I'm a designer educator, and the host of the Design Feeling Podcast. If this is your first time listening to the show, welcome! And oh, by the way, the show is not about your designs. It's more about the designer behind the designs. Have I confused you yet? Well on this podcast, I chat with experts and leaders from different industries, not just Design and explore topics such as self-awareness, creative confidence and meaning, things that help you become a more fulfilled designer and problem solver. Let's get Design Feeling.

Jane Reid and Janice Hannaway. Welcome to Design Feeling.

[00:02:37] Jane Reid: Hello, Thank you for having us.

[00:02:39] Nirish Shakya: Thank you so much for joining us all the way from Scotland.

Jane, you started off in user research. Uh Could you tell us about how you got into focusing on self care for user researchers?

[00:02:52] Jane Reid: So as an experienced user researcher and someone who was a civil servant for over 25 years now I moved into consultancy, but I wanted to give back to the government, of the civil service that had learned the craft in.

So I put on Twitter lunchtime sessions one a week to speak to new user researchers coming into government, or just new to the profession of if they needed advice about, informal coaching. and I was inundated with requests to speak to me, but it wasn't about the craft itself. It was about how to cope with the job.

So Janice, and I have been friends since we were 17. We started working together at DWP on the same deal all those years ago. So Jan is in a role at that point in time as a trauma counselor. I was discussing it with Janice about What do you say to people? You know I'm not qualified to give advice to people about their mental health, but it was really concerning because I was speaking to also a lot of experienced people who wanted to leave the profession.

So we got talking about the differences between one way. I've been doing it all these years and leading a lot of complex needs, research, homelessness, drugs, alcohol, and I wasn't, I and I was saying to Janice. We were, I'm getting all of these people asking about it. What's the difference between what you do as a counselor and ha what I do is I use a research and a way of people feeling like this, and that started the conversation.

And we started doing a bit of digging. We found a piece of research to that should the use market researchers was there was a high rate of mental health problems amongst them. So that really stick kick started the conversation and led to the focus on self care and how we were keen to.

[00:04:43] Nirish Shakya: And Janice, so you started off in as a psychotherapist and a counselor and you moved into user research. Tell us how that happened

[00:04:52] Janice Hannaway: So that happened.

probably on the back foot of Jean and I being transferred years and discussing what faxes and having what can DWP and having what can frontline with complex needs and then moving and to being a safety dynamics therapist. I had basically worked in DWP, saw the problems that I couldn't really influence helping people, because I had a rule there. But as a therapist, I could probably help people a bit more and people come prepared because of course they have a problem and they come to get insight into that problem and they come to be probed a little.

Obviously to get better and help with what's bothering them and because of the relationship of heart with Jane, do you know what I would discuss working, discuss? And you would just the nature of therapy and what we came to realize was that use of research and therapy there's quite a lot of similarities and what the user researcher and what the therapist will do in terms of hitting problems, in terms of probing, for more information, in terms of getting more insight, ultimately to make the user's life better and ultimately to make the client's life better. you know Really set up, similarities whereby I could then see how I could then move into that area and bring the expertise that I have from therapy and to use a VCR and actually blend it or having get into that area What I have saw is that is something that in terms of self care, because as a therapist, we've very much trained and to looking after the sales, because if we don't look after their sales, we can not give their best to the client and also if you're not looking after yourself you don't have risk of damaging the client because you're not working at your best as use a researcher. Did you like with complexity, they do quite a toll on that. And given what we're living with over the pandemic, that's even heightened so what you're saying is you have user researchers who are working continuously and cycles and what complexity what's trauma, but we're to the goal to actually offload all of that look after themselves so there's a little key to deal with it and they can get the best of themselves.

So evidently there was gaps there for me and more conversation with Jane. And that's when we decided to set up a company and start advocating for you as a researcher that this should be given an opportunity to express how they feel and also giving the tools to help them, help themselves with self reflection, to enable them to be okay. So really that's that was the basis for that.

[00:07:34] Nirish Shakya: Hmm I have been in human centered design for more than a decade now. And I've always conducted user research and then design, but I've actually never come across this thing called self care in user research. What does self care in user research actually

[00:07:51] Janice Hannaway: For me self care and user research is about the care of the mortality. And looking after yourself, if you don't adopt any sorts of self care when you're walking, but with these complex situations, then you run the risk of bonding out. You run the risk of, the kid is trauma. and coming on to you, you run the risk of developing imposter syndrome. So for me, self care in user research is probably one of the fundamentals and also profession. I would see an altered that you're looking after yourself, which then will influence your findings. It will influence your insights, which ultimately influences what you're delivering and developing.

[00:08:35] Jane Reid: So I think over the years set and safe, user research, There's a huge focus on users first and absolutely, users first, however, there has also got to be an emphasis and a shift to user researchers first. We are in a fast paced environment. You don't get time to recover from a lot of the hard hitting and harrowing stories that you hear and I think now we're trying to just get on that agenda, put your user researchers first, which will in turn you will put your users first because you're also protecting them too.

[00:09:13] Nirish Shakya: And why do you both care about this topic?

[00:09:19] Janice Hannaway: I can speak from a personal point. About working with clients and working with people with complexity and having moved from DWP. I saw a lot of poverty. I saw a lot of deprivation. I saw a lot of hardworking family situations when I left there I probably saw even more hiding situations as a therapist and from a personal point of view, and I started working in therapy. I was working with survivors of sexual abuse and my main clientele was females.

And when I was working with them they would explain it. How do you feel and what happened to them So I just said female survivors of abuse, they tell you the story and they sometimes can regress back to when the children so quite often I would hear the story from a very young age know at the time. And I did that. My daughter was two. And what happened to me was that I became very sick of them. protectable perhaps I became very straightened of other people, particularly men around town. I was very conscious of this, but I also found it quite difficult to maneuver myself through that through that obstacle that was faced with me, it was a very natural obstacles to face.

But thankfully I attend clinical supervision once a month. And clinical supervision basically protects you and it also protects the clients and working back. So through clinical supervision, I get the opportunity to express how I was feeling. The concerns are hard with fear to harder, my daughter, about things bad happening to her

. And I walked through that in clinical supervision got through it and got rid of all those really invasive thoughts that I was having and by doing that, that allowed me to then practice professionally keep my boundaries, keep me safe and also keep the client safe. If you think about that user recent. There's a high likelihood that user researchers, when they're conducting interviews, they will hear the same information. They will hear stories about sexual abuse. People hear stories that boats and domestic abuse, alcoholism really quite compounding stuff.

Now, as a user researcher, you hear that you said researchers, empathic people detained people. They're doing a job because they want to help people get good services, no vendor heating a center nation They may not have the tools. They may not have the support there to help them unpack and, unfold All this sort of effects of working in the subpoena. And that's what I saw that it was quite concerning for me because they do listen to the same subject matter that identify a therapist

[00:12:03] Nirish Shakya: and w why do you think user research is I'm not trained to look after themselves.

[00:12:10] Janice Hannaway:I think I probably think that's missing because it used to be sent to is probably a team to do a job and the change to the job of user research, which has all it skills, attached to that. I don't think probably people have recognized over time, the impact of these interviews that they're dealing with, which have on them.

And that's what took progressed and tame and typed has become more serious. We're not in a pandemic so if you could, if you wanted to gauge impact or retain and recognize impact maybe no but in a society, if you've been able to do that, we're not able to talk about feeling. When would you go to talk about sales?When would, are you able to recognize and that should be important to the cancer cell. And I think that's probably developed over time.

And I can't get down to why it's missing because I wasn't there historically, to get that but that's the only thing I can think of. But now that it's being recognized, I hear it being recognized that he'd be talking talked about, but th the issue for me is that we don't want to eat too. People have been of people a flat on their backs and then offer therapy to them. We really want to intervene at a point then that actually end the profession. They're doing the job, make sure that all key, almost and giving them a set of tools to be your key and to look after themselves And when they're doing it,

[00:13:37] Nirish Shakya: And Jane, you've had loads of experience being a user researcher what challenges that you faced as a user researcher in putting in the time and energy towards your own self

[00:13:48] Jane Reid: So as a user researcher, when it first became a new profession I was quite lucky and that I was trained in how you do research and, an assembled surface circle, good training to start off with.

And I will have an agenesis is touched into some of the known talking about you. People are more open about talking about themselves and it's been more recognized. However, I do think some of this, self care side also comes from a lack of training and how you do actually Handle difficult situations, conduct interviews reflect on the sport, open and closed difficult conversations.

And so that you don't hear content that you don't have to hear in an interview. So I received a lot of good training in how to do that. So take next. So I have not really crossed the organizational boundaries because it was drummed into me not to, and I was taught the impact that would have on, myself and as a team.

And I've always stuck to that and it don't get me wrong. There have been sometimes when you may have strayed from the empathy to sympathy. So I feel what I'm seeing is that there's there is an element there somewhere that. The we've lost, but have a dream people stop treating people and how you do that.

So they're putting themselves in possessions also where that I'll live in conversations to take a Def data action. And because they don't have the confidence of the field, disrespectful seeding to somebody, and redirect, and they think they're being rude. People like tailing assess they'll let the conversation continue.

The participant may end up crying. The user researcher ends up taking all of that in their shoulders. So for me, the self?

care element, I think of stuff worked in a lot of that that, arena dogs, alcohol homelessness, the stories I've been faced with, I've always maintained the organizational. As much as I possibly can.

And I guess, so also being friends with Janice of being able to a set of veins, any feelings and stuff of Janice because of my kid in Pearson, that's why I'm in a profession. So obviously as well, some things are fake. I'm not superhuman and I'm not seeing that, but that is something messing and the ethics side of things.

It's all about the participant. And we need to embed in the ethics, the looking after the user researcher too. So I think for my own self care, as I've got more confident as a user of research and in particularly as I've become a contractor, I w I will, I've got the confidence need to see, I don't think I should be doing that piece of research.

I need a. And I'm in a fortunate position that I can do that because of my contractor. And I can tell you mate, if I wouldn't, and I know that snow that can happen and a lot of public services. So I've always tried to decompress, do things that I enjoy. But I think the techniques and just add there's a lot of people coming into the profession who do have, perhaps research back and the meat, and I've never been taught how to conduct an interview.

They'll come and roll the jewels in the box, but being able to really handle those difficult. We seem to have lost that along the beach, and we're not treating people and how you do it, which can help snot the answer.

[00:17:11] Nirish Shakya: Why do you think that's happened?

[00:17:14] Jane Reid: I think you'll know yourself.

In addition to the demand for user research, as a short through the roof saw as a user researcher, also a lot of their responsibility was put on user researchers to come up with all their answers when actually, and a lot of people take it to heart. If they're not listened to, if your user research as an actor, the point, and that I see a chef now where there's more of a multidisciplinary.

And there's more of a joint responsibility and it's not just a bit the user researcher. So the, as well as here in sensitive content, you would also, after dibs, looking to you for the answers as well, user researchers, just, and user research is one part of the story. And it's sending complete story unless you're working with everybody And together take that responsibility on your shoulders.

So I think I do see a shift now to more of a team responsibility. It's, we'll take the decisions as a team, whether they're good or bad which helps. So I cared about it because too many people, I don't even the profession because of it, because I've been a, and the came into

[00:18:25] Nirish Shakya: And is this more kind of prevalent in cases or topics where you're researching about, sensitive themes, like homelessness and drug abuse and so on, or do you also see this happening in a research world where, for example, you might be working for, I don't know, Facebook or some retail in retail or banking industry, where are you just literally asking customers or users about how do you fill in a mortgage application or something?

[00:18:55] Janice Hannaway: For me, it can happen in any situation because we can't predict what I use. It will tell you. So in any situation, there's the possibility that someone might disclose something that can be quite traumatic or quite difficult for someone else to hear.

So you couldn't just put this in certain areas. It could happen anywhere. It probably is more prevalent when you're working in certain areas.

And if you're working for government and you're working in DWP and you're maybe interviewing people around homelessness, yes. Have a higher likelihood of hearing traumatic stories And

But you could never realize everyone has steps to be prepared and defend that someone decides to tell you something because we need to be mindful as well.

There's a relationship between the motivator, the user researcher and the user, and to get that relationship in that report, you have to build that to gain trust so that the testing will then, and be quite honest and open and give you the insights that, and the feel are relevant. And so there's a relationship there and that relationship should be built around trust.

So when is that trusting relationship that there's a likelihood that people will tell you things that maybe you don't need to hear. And it's simply having the skills to shut that down And quite often when I'm interviewing people both in a therapeutic context,

I'm going to use a research and context essay myself as I'm talking to them. And I went to NBC and I find myself leaning forward. It's almost like my body. You're just telling me there's something going on to me where I went to either reach out and comfort that person I don't want to reach out and maybe offer more support.

And when I do that I automatically check it in my own head, come back get back and teared when sick, get back into where you belong, because you're here doing occupations.

You shouldn't be closed not going to, and there's texts like that that we can almost teach people. Imagine you have a, you have a painful, okay you're behind one on one side and your client, you use it as an another state.

If you stay in your body language, reaching goals, there's something going on for you. And it's a little check-in it's up early and let peel back.

And because a lot of things that go on in a relationship with them that it can be unconscious.

And so you can be conscious of things that happen to others. Very conscious of this situation with my daughter and when she was tuned, the Buckeyes didn't I knew what was going on for me.

I probably had an advantage because it was getting trained. I didn't avoid it, approach it. And I looked at it so a lot of people would be doing then they really difficult thoughts and feelings and to the offering from the head and look at them they pushed pushing back the door because it's too difficult and it's a natural thing to do because are we, and so there's unconscious in this conscious things can come through your mind and that's where it becomes very difficult.

You can be very good at what you do but the unconscious stuff needs somebody to talk to you to help unpack it.

And and that can happen with complexity because it's so difficult to hear and that we just shove it to the back of a mains almost, which is not relevant to

[00:21:59] Nirish Shakya: yeah, I remember there was like during the early part of my career we worked on a gambling app and we interviewed some gamblers and one of the stories that I heard was this person who we were, who I interviewed, they basically have their gambling app on all the time, even when they're having dinner with their family, or even when they're out, like watching the, their son's football game and.

What I was taught to do was just keep myself fully separate from that emotionally and just treated professionally in terms of yeah. It's just another user but I know like at the back of my mind, it really effected me in terms of, what am I doing here? Like in terms of helping build a product that's actually, making the situation worse for them. And I know a lot of my colleagues out there who are in a working on products, maybe they don't believe in themselves that kind of conflicts with their values. Have you seen this in your kind of line of work as well in the intensive impacting the wellbeing of the research or the designer?

[00:23:01] Janice Hannaway: Yeah, absolutely. That happens quite often.

And particularly working for a government where you may be doing an safety policies and that come out from government and, but you're there to do a job. What you have to do with that when a situation comes up like that is challenge you're doing thinking. So it's almost like you challenge yourself, you own what you feel get all out there like in front of you when it, and almost look at that on what you feel And if you feel that you can know, and your own personal being will not allow you to what class that then you have to be honest and open and say, I can't do it. And I wouldn't do that. I wouldn't cross that boundary that if you can, that's so key. And it's about accepting that you make that choice to what quests that situation right because you are making that choice and you can make that choice. And if it sits low key with you, then that's fine. And people will choose to gamble you and die, or gina ever going to stop that. And it's something that was on in late. So it's about acceptance about that as well but these things go on, and making a choice, whether you want to work with it or not. And if you can't, then you need to be open and honest about that. It's what can they be with pedophiles as well? Pedophiles often need a government service and they often have to be interviewed or prisoners. And a lot of people will not cross that boundary and get to that arena to work with people who have ascended to that at that extent And that's a choice that for some people well, and that's okay also, but if it sits okay with you. So it's almost like that sort of challenging you - is this okay for me? And that's brilliant practice that's almost doing like internal reflection and putting yourself through it first, before you put yourself out there to work with it. And that was really good practice to me.

[00:24:48] Nirish Shakya: And Jane, what's been your experience in this, in terms of heavy ever had a situation where you've worked on a product or a service that conflicted with your own values

[00:24:58] Jane Reid: Yeah. A few, if you're a civil servant, obviously then you governments change policies change and you may not give us at offers of what too many services of universal credit being one. You're trying your best to influence the policy makers to the, we I've always looked at it because you can't always, possession where you can go up and leave a job, because you don't agree with the policies, but maybe come to a certain point where if you really feel something and model was going on, then that would be different.

But the way I look at it as a user researcher, you've got the chance to influence the change. So for something you're doing negative us, you're in a unique privileged position to be able to go in front of ministers and senior leaders and try and influence that change as best you can. And that gives you satisfaction when at Hopkins Switzer that, so we have always looked at it it.

took me initially a long time. If you went less than two, your tickets. And I see that happening a lot and I don't take things to heart like that. No, I haven't done for years. And that's what I've tried to teach people. You can only do your best, even if you've get out a few to believe that something should be, I definitely, as a few presented that you've done your best, the team have done the base for the people above you.

Who's rule as to then take that forward and fate, and challenge. And I just do not take that. Teamable it gets you nowhere. You have deliberate the job you're doing, you've done your best. And go home at the end of the night and go back and, continue. So that's weird. I'm seeing a lot of people struggle with that still, and you don't stop doing it because you stop.

You've stop. Caring. Nothing to do is when you realize you are only one small part in trying to solve these huge problems and you've get the opportunity to do it. And so I'm comfortable with that or have been for a long time, but that's why a lot of people weren't Deliv. So you have to let it go. You really have deleted goal.

When you know, you have done your best and, teams, we wouldn't be lessened to. And Yeah.

because you can't always just go out and leave at all a job to get mortgages and bills to pay and everything. So you do your best And be happy that you've done your best,

[00:27:21] Nirish Shakya: And as a researcher or as a designer who conducts research, when do you know that, you need to focus on your self-care. What are some of the symptoms that in one can look at for

[00:27:32] Janice Hannaway: I think people often don't recognize symptoms. And I think that's a really valid point.

They should tap into and explore that a little farther.

For instance, if someone's not sleeping properly and.

We can tell that, take a bit deeper, look into maybe what your subject matter has been and has it maybe upstate yet, and the same token, if you're maybe not feeling yourself at work or feeling like you're an imposter, that's really common actually around with the thing that quite a lot imposter syndrome and people wind up being, working flat out with complexity and because they're tired and they feel that they're not given enough And sometimes what Jean spoke about a bit that, and that political sort of element something, but something's getting pushed through.

Some people can take that personally. Some people can think I didn't do enough. And I should've done more to maybe influenced that change.

Things like that.

There's lots of things, any effects of Bondo and the kiddish trauma and imposter syndrome that people

Should be a weirdo.

And but for me, if you're stealing out of sorts in any way, there's something going on. And it could be, and it can be physical emotional psychological because often physical at a scene that something's going on for you internally, emotionally yep

[00:28:59] Nirish Shakya: Yeah. I'm a lot like that in terms of, taking the blame. I blamed myself for something that didn't go according to how I expected it to, and it can be really tough emotionally to take on that burden of, I'm responsible for this and I didn't do my job properly or I'm not good enough. Or yeah, it can be really tough mentally.

[00:29:17] Jane Reid: one of your guests put Kashi shit he said something that really struck me here and it's relevant in this situation. It said don't sweat it, get on with it.

And I couldn't sum up any any, better than that because you were not responsible for changing ever since we are just one small, really important. I think we've got the best job in the multidisciplinary team. And as I've leveraged to, for people to, confined and be open and honest with us, but you can't, we can change everything.

And I think when you get comfortable with that, you'll be much happier and the profession and you won't go home. Going over and over that, I wish I could have done any better. It's believing in yourself and knowing that you have done your best. .

[00:30:03] Janice Hannaway: And I, guess also that goes back to training. Doesn't set. S people have changed. The problems that they may encounter, which that is a very common problem, because if you're working with services, they may not be designed as how you feel the should.

So maybe in training, people should be made aware that, this might come up for you.

It's very common to come up if it does come up, this is how you deal with it and explore it almost before it happens. And it's very much like prevention isn't prevention is really important and law, so it is of work So there's actually been to test Canada angle to this and to resolve that problem coming up I think

[00:30:42] Jane Reid: So I initiate a piece of user research to look at how we ask about sex and gender and forms across government, because I saw something that was missing and a particular service that was working on with a heat and something from view users that the feel excluded, saw, initiated this piece to look at how the task of about sex and gender and forms.

So we discussed, it asked for permission, could we look into this, knew that it was going to be it's the most controversial piece of research I've ever been involved in because everybody brought a biases to it. And everybody ever did and viewed, and how you, that question should be asked where that it should be asked and ended up when I left the service Portable messages on Twitter from people who are so against, after having been recognized for who they are, private messages, tweets, but had they been 10 years ago, I used the research to do that That would have, I don't know what that would have done in me, but I just copied the messages and sent them to the two heads and the director of the new government departments who are responsible for teaching up forward. End of that was the end of that. For me, it was a really innovative piece of work. I was comfortable with that, release the issue people were talking about.

That was good enough for me, did my base there and passed it on shut. Dean deleted the messages and Twitter. Didn't read them, just let it go past it on who's responsible. So you do learn and grow and you, but you can't anticipate. What's going to happen because we knew there would be backlash to that. We discussed it, how we were going to talk a bit about if you would handle the backlash, if it came in formally because when you've bit published a blog post backlash was going to happen.

So we're prepared for it. It's the Genesis rate. You can pray petition for research. The play position is key. What can you do? There's a sport. And in, and the moments, all that we've talked about, been really skilled at that and help them support people a bit to be able to do that. And there's a reflection at the end and, process in what your fear of the the key sort of big things and keeping yourself safe during, because of research so that you're doing have that emotional response to what yet.

Which affects your design decision and your decision meetings. If you're bringing that your emotions and then ultimately it's good to have feet that puts in that's where you have to not cross those, organize those ranges. Look at the evidence, and that was a scene where the case with the sex and gender was an entrusted in him, just personal opinion on it.

What's the evidence telling us where does the evidence in hae to ask that and Wayne wasn't there. And it's about just focusing on, try and focus in that type of thing to prevent situations happening. But like Janice mentioned Danila, you can prepare to death, but still, things can crop up and take the, when do your seals,

[00:33:45] Nirish Shakya: if there's a researcher or a designer listening to us right now what can they do about it? When, for example, maybe they've realized, like I've been, this has been impacting my wellbeing, my emotional and psychological, states. But they're probably thinking, is there anything I can do about it?

Yeah. What would you recommend attempts that the stint, the simplest next step they can take.

[00:34:06] Janice Hannaway: For me, the first thing that people should do is accept the vulnerability and get moving towards getting a resolution to how they feel at that moment, but also for protection for the future. So the acceptance of the vulnerability has to happen. And then we'll send organizations that will have their own steps and where people go for wellbeing and people go for support.

And, but it'd be for me, accept the vulnerability, go to the support and try moving forward. What for me to keep all of that is self-reflection it's

[00:34:48] Nirish Shakya: do you accept the vulnerability Was there any techniques tools you can use to do

[00:34:54] Janice Hannaway: basically again, less than. Listen to your mate, if there's something going on for you and you're not feeling right, and don't push it away, push it down because all that happens If you push it, then it grows back and it was Becker. The more you interview people and it goes back and it tells you just blue and it's almost like you will park. And except when things aren't feeling right for you, and that could be you could be feeling sick, it could be something going on. Cause you just feel sick or you feel you don't want to go to. Why could you feel you're getting agitated and you could develop pins in your back and be like I said, maybe to sleep and maybe start to drink more alcohol to to quote FSB.

You don't put the two together. So anything out of the ordinary, that's going to insert anybody tap into except trying to explore it, get support and move forward with that reflective or self reflective practice would be the message that I've put out to people because people want to help people will send us these disciplines. Art. As I said, there's an empathic people that doing this job because they went to influence services for people.

And so the people orientated the care. So I'm sure within teams, there'll be colleagues there who you could reach out to and who could potentially help in a sense. And it just takes that cottage half the courage to accept thunder valley. It would be the best thing that you can do


[00:36:24] Jane Reid: and rating it Dane Janice sometimes, and the sort of key, some people keep a journal and write it down that helps us part of reflection.

[00:36:33] Janice Hannaway: that's it, that's a reflective practice, which is really good And yeah That can be

[00:36:38] Nirish Shakya: And one thing that you is around in establishing a, this reflective practice or a self care routine, what does your self care routine look like?

[00:36:46] Janice Hannaway: for me, my self care routine, I still practice a therapist. Occasionally I don't do as much as what I did before so I have continued to attend clinical supervision. And so I attend with a psychotherapist for an hour and a half every month and I talked to her about what I've heard. I talked to her about how I'm processing it and that's niggling me.

And so I continue to do that Yeah but everyone doesn't have the luxury of that I'd have to do. Maybe it doesn't even know that and that, that there's things out there that you can go to from a self. I am a clinical supervisor and what I have actually started doing coaching and support and because I saw the need for it. So I do that for therapists, but I'm going to go out and do it for other professions and it's not just do the research. It's also a narcissist firemen, policemen who are central and very complex situations. And so it cuts across lots of disciplines not just use a sense of design.

[00:37:49] Nirish Shakya: What about you Jane what's what what is your self care looked

[00:37:52] Jane Reid: It's more of a, an informal as a CFO, a long time ago. I've maintained those organizational boundaries and try and do things enjoy. I love, getting together and my friends have a laugh, but I guess I have benefited. And advertently of, Genesis had we first, since 17.

So that's, she would be my go-to person, if I really wanted to do and, let the emotions or whatever. So doing things you enjoy separating, not work boundaries, get that laptop shut down and just accept that you have done yet absolute based and cause a laptop at night and go and enjoy your life that you've got and then come back fresh the next day.

And so by doing stuff like that, I go try and go to the gym, but a, but are there things that I enjoy, I like to go walk and innocent that I get for me, I'm a people person. So nothing loved nothing more than even just meeting up socially, having a good laugh and yeah, I like? to laugh.

And just as I see, what you do your best.

[00:38:59] Nirish Shakya: Yeah. And I think, especially with the working from home and remote working and the pandemic, I think a lot of us are finding it difficult to just switch off at the end of the day

What impact have you seen in terms of the, I guess the impact of that, of new working environment on the wellbeing of Rena research and.

[00:39:16] Jane Reid: So for me, I saw I've always been hybrid it because I've been accord and tractors the last five years. Anyway. So for me I've I found that sweet spot. We are a mix of traveling and a mix of remote work, and I'm not a big fun of a hundred percent in isolated from. So I'll eat a piece of research as it's came to council and to the subject the long term effects and.

the hybrid from the academic research as the long term for reducing the solution, et cetera.

W going into all of that here. I think it's more exhausting, especially moving from contract to contract. That's been short for me personally, it takes much more effort to try and get to know people much more effort to get that rapport good in the team. And some people don't put what to put the cameras on and that's the right to do that.

But for me, it's hard ever since had a lot of things take longer than my view. And you don't know if somebody is okay, so somebody, my bill was late for meetings and stuff. You don't know if the, maybe get something else going on for the research point of view. Our biggest concern was remote working as that we are not reaching the people who can engage online that's so we're meeting a lot of decisions as well, a bit remote.

Why can it scale? So we say really, and see it in services, understanding how that's going to impact citizens. So I think there's still a lot of work to be done near the piece of research and data that showed that we have some, this particular local authority, but having board meetings I'm under.

So in line, then they would have in face-to-face. It was like, eh, or four times the amount of meetings ever since by appointment as my personal view and as we just get them own. But that's main as just don't want to go back to 11, eight a suitcase again, absolutely. not. I don't think anyone does, but I miss the human interaction.

And just that, getting to know people a bit better on the research side of it, going to people's houses, seeing the context, and you can pick up things which truly going on that you can pick up through the scheme.

I knew a lot of services stopped during COVID because you couldn't do them in get home because it wasn't compliant.

So people weren't getting like mental health support. You can talk about that when your cat's running at eight other people, less than over your shoulder. So was the services stopped because the home wasn't compliant people and she had flats and all of that, there's so much stability tend to before whatever, just the seeds. I'm not going back to the office again. And one of the findings from that research look deals has done this research for these academics and nieces can, it can still have an amazing lots of articles have been written about it, McKenzie and all definitely people, the that the academic research and the long term effects. One of the findings was that to what can not be more environment and to manage, and you need higher levels of emotional intelligence.

Look this assess and end of December, emotional intelligence is fat as I can see. And that was a key faint. Yeah, that was one of the key findings. And after just getting on with, I know I think that you've been asking a bit there. What can managers do because, and that research also should the managers, and this is the academic stuff as they're the biggest blocker to successful remote working. Which would suggest the don't have their more emotional intelligence does perceive and evaluate emotions because as this Janice touched on, it's harder to do the skin.

[00:42:50] Janice Hannaway: And there's a whole, there's a concept called trans transference and countertransference. Now don't look, you've come across that.

[00:42:56] Nirish Shakya: Yeah, I think I remember reading about transference in one of your, um, block posts.

[00:43:00] Janice Hannaway: Basically it's where you have a relationship with someone that can be any relationship where you're having a chat weapon a therapist face to face, figured it could have maybe happened even online.

That person may be the main thing. You have somebody, and it may be somebody from the past. It could be somebody in your life. It could be their mannerisms because we all have life We've all had past We all have experiences good and bad.

So there could be an example. Here could be a teacher at school who was a really strict teacher who took the weapon that the keynote kid or something.

And you get some potential room who has the same stature, the same work, the same voice, the same mannerisms. And they come in and if you've been traumatized at that as a child your check it back into that.

This is a really important thing as well, that people don't recognize. So you just check it back in about your sandia You're feeling on the back foot. You're feeling powerless. You're feeling upset You can't talk scared and you don't know what's going just don't know and still teach people that sort of stuff that, that, real Explorer, Alice teach through people through when we're doing interviews because that's happened.

And it's happened to me that I think somebody in a room with me and I don't like it and I've reflected on it and I've got to do all that because I've got the skills to do it, but sometimes people haven't got the skills to do it.

So therefore, what does that do to your finders And what does that do to the NC?

Because taken forward to develop this thing that's getting developed.

So it

[00:44:36] Nirish Shakya: And is that something you can be aware of in the moment?

[00:44:38] Janice Hannaway: You can, give me it off at any moment, but there's change when you make not because you have to assess as human beings, we to assess conscious and unconscious thoughts we have to, to assesses. it. was like the knife. When I first met you, I said to Jean, I really liked nitty. She's a lovely voice. He speaks steady gentle very soothing, very, and I picked up.

That's exactly what I thought And I'm quite was quite excited, but coming here to do that felt really comfortable with it. And I felt comfortable all the way through the interview Had you had that met you and you've had a different way about you I might not have been as confident on defense and also we unpacked to an after-party everybody we meet, we unpacked when the needle pointed to me negatively or

neither you know not that so that's just another example.

[00:45:29] Nirish Shakya: And is that also an example of transport?

[00:45:31] Janice Hannaway: Yeah to be transparent. So it's just picked up that you just have that order danger but it could be, you make domain to me or somebody and because you do have that very soothing voice so to protect the parent to that, thank you for others. You could probably get some insight there.

I would probably would have been cleared to dig deeper into the person that I doesn't like, I don't need to take people into absolutely needs to comfortable with sharing, but also ethically, sometimes it's quite commanded. You would take a little

[00:46:03] Nirish Shakya: Yeah that that does remind me of a lot of instances where it might not just be users, but maybe colleagues, stakeholders, you might like, why don't I like that person, they haven't really said or done anything, but I just don't like them

[00:46:14] Janice Hannaway: Gotcha And that's where your machine intelligence consent as well, because you had a motion, Taylor just we'll get you to a point where you recognize that but you wouldn't react in with a trigger wouldn't meet you'd act maybe to be able to be active to the kitchen in the past, you'll propose yourself and and it's all these little things and a guests to use in different situations with different people. and it goes right back to Design Feeling. It goes back to your podcast It's all about feelings. I have questions about feelings.

You feel it expend your board, your there's something there that wants to come in with cat yet And it wants to talk to you almost leave it set in there, not be feeling out say hello, in some cases you talk to people like that. I think it was see how much it, but I wasn't telling you, boy, are you feeling

And get it out almost a animation, all that. And then you can talk back to it and all that kind of stuff

[00:47:09] Nirish Shakya: and it can be in my experience, it can be really scary to feel what you're feeling because we're trained to just block it, especially as a man, you, I'm not, I'm being in discouraged for from feeling my emotions or expressing my emotions and can be really scary to go there because there's a lot of inner vulnerability that's needed and the courage to be vulnerable but Easier to just say Nope that's not me. I'm just going to think my way through this and be strong and be brave and just, suck it up.

[00:47:42] Janice Hannaway: Gotcha But then what does that do to you It's going to do hand in some way as a tip and if you're not being authentic either, so there's lots of different things. So it does it sexually nicely, Wes, you know the name of your podcast dealing because we do feel we are Shuman beings. It's what we do.

It's how we function and feel And that's why I often say to people what's going on in Europe.

That I made your head to get your head. Nevermind. What's worse up there in your heart, which your body telling you and you feel it somewhere. And then when you start with that, and if there's a lot of people that find it really difficult to express, if you can always get into, imagine what it looks like.

What does that feeling look like? Is it big? Is it late? Is it like a storm? Is it like signed?

Is it like a quote? What does it feel like? What does it look like? What is it grew in Becca? Does it get smaller or something?

And it's great. I love doing all that kind of work Love it

Absolutely Love it.

[00:48:41] Nirish Shakya: That's a really powerful way to bring some tangibility into this abstract world of feelings.

[00:48:48] Janice Hannaway: it's the key people key to people love that. And if you're key to that you'll set up a lane bus, all of that and then helps you. So

[00:48:59] Nirish Shakya: Great. I think that could be a an entire Another episode that we could go on for but now I think that's a great place to wrap up the conversation for us.

Imagine that it's your last day on earth And someone came up to you with a very tiny piece of paper and said Jane and Janice, there's two, two different pieces of paper here. One each basically they told you write down something on that tiny piece of paper, and then we'll put it up on a big billboard for the whole world to see.

What would you write down on a tiny piece of paper on your last day?

[00:49:33] Janice Hannaway: I'm important.

[00:49:36] Nirish Shakya: You are important.

[00:49:37] Janice Hannaway: Unimportant.

[00:49:38] Nirish Shakya: What did you mean by that

[00:49:40] Janice Hannaway: I would choose that because it's a message I would want to give to every single person in the world. the very important accepted importance, set that your mind. Except that you deserve to be looked after And except that? your self care is very important and yeah just to mix it because if people feel important, people are going to look after themselves. If you don't feel important then your self-care is going to be secondary to everyone. Else's and

[00:50:12] Nirish Shakya: That's beautiful I'm I never felt important

in when it when I was in a design process, because I always thought the users are more important than me.

[00:50:19] Janice Hannaway: no. You out important because if you don't look at yourself as important, then you run the risk off and getting on real. I think.

And if okay, you can be your key to do the job that you're doing as well.

So it starts with you and did even a see that it's because you said I'm the clinical supervisor that I've gone to for years. She was a wonderful ways women And I remember speaking to an antenna, I don't like being selfish. I can't be selfish I hate the word. I don't like acting selfish. And she sat back in her chair and she got hunter Chen and she says do you not? She says, have I ever thought about that What in a definite way if you don't look after yourself, how can you look out at other people? so you need to stop being selfish and ask. Okay.

And I've never, forgotten that I've never forgotten that she changed that.

What that means mean something really nice for me when I had always associated that way. No be nice. And looking after yourself before you would think about other people and that's just not me and you add important, be selfish for yourself because see if you're doing, you can't look after other people And she always brings a smile to my face. That women, she was wonderful women anyways Yes.

[00:51:42] Nirish Shakya: Jane, have you thought of something to write down on a piece

[00:51:44] Jane Reid: think I would just see to people be happy knowing that you've done your best, because I really don't think we can do any more than that.

Just be happy knowing that you have done your absolute best. Great. So thank you so much for that

[00:51:57] Nirish Shakya: Both Jen and Janice.

I've learned loads from just Tina, this conversation that I've had with both of you I think that the value of, putting yourself first as researchers and designers, that's something that I hadn't really thought about in my entire career because ours put users first and their needs first.

But again coming back to yourself in terms of what are your needs that you need to be looking after as well. And I think that's been a key theme across a lot of conversations that I've been having with a lot of experts in this podcast So thanks for all, adding your voice to that. The whole theme around accepting what you can change and what you cannot change seems to be a key piece around this. And I think you might not the thing you mentioned around having the courage to accept the vulnerability of vulnerability that you might be going through as well.

And digging deeper into that as to what's causing it right. Digging into the source Is it a conversation you had with a user or is it something else is maybe, is it because what the product or service you're working on conflicts with your values maybe

Really trying to get to the bottom of it and accepting it.

It seems to be the first step towards and again being more aware of what's causing that distress for you. And then you also mentioned in, around, established, establishing clear organizational boundaries as to what you're therefore and what you're not therefore, and being aware of those boundaries.

And maybe not trying to cross that for yourself, being, keeping yourself within that framework,

For your own, well-being and mental health and you're just prioritizing this need to look after yourself and being happy with the work you've done, rather than trying to always, see the shortcomings in, what you could have done because there's always something better you could have done, but it's okay.

It's okay. Not to have achieve the outcome that maybe you're expecting when he went in and be happy with that outcome that you did achieve.

Which for me as a practitioner is always hard to do because I'm a perfectionist and a lot of researchers and designers are perfectionists and they want to get that perfect outcome, which is all when you know, it's not always achievable and it comes back to you.

You put a lot of blame back to yourself as to I was probably my

fault I shouldn't have done that or done that. But it's not a lot of times there's so many things that are not under your control. And I think that's a really impactful mindset to take into work.

Just, so that you are caring for yourself and your wellbeing. So thanks a lot for sharing your experience, your wisdom, your insights, as people who've been dedicating your time and energy into helping other research and designers with their self care and it's been great to have you on the show learning about all the work you do

So thank you so much for your time today. And hopefully we'll see you again soon.

[00:54:33] Janice Hannaway: Thank you very much for having us. Yeah,

[00:54:35] Nirish Shakya: And finally, if our listeners want to get in touch with you or, know more about you, where can they, look you up.

[00:54:41] Janice Hannaway: We both have Twitter. We both have LinkedIn and we also have a website and. We sent you don't call don't you care.

[00:54:51] Nirish Shakya: Research

[00:54:53] Janice Hannaway: Yes

[00:54:53] Nirish Shakya: Great.

[00:54:54] Jane Reid: I'm quite active on Twitter as well. And I've just, yeah. Happy to be contacted, for the coffee chats. Same probably I think for the LinkedIn, maybe not eh, both platforms, so yeah, absolutely happy chat people. And I think just the set of clues and the title of our company research you as a bit, you, and it's a bit knowing yourself, and just doing a bit of work there.

But yeah, absolutely happy to talk to the end of do that century city.

[00:55:24] Nirish Shakya: Great. And we'll put all those links in the show notes as well. So you can just basically click on the links on your podcasting app where you listened to this particular episode. So thank you so much again, Janice and Jane, and we will see you next time.

Thank you so much for joining me in my chat with Jane and Janice. If you have any questions about self-care for user researchers or for designers, or just want to say hi, please join us for a fireside chat on Thursday, the 7th of April. Go to for more info.

If you're enjoying listening to the Design Feeling Podcast, please do consider leaving an honest review on Apple Podcasts. It'll help people decide whether they'd want to press the play button or not. And if you have any suggestions, ideas, or guests that you'd like to have on the show, please email me at and like always please share the podcast with a Design Thinking friend who needs a bit of Design Feeling in their lives. See you next time.