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What happened when I swapped my hectic London life for a Benedictine monastery in Limerick…



Anxiety-addled and teetering on the brink of a ‘quarter-life crisis’, this always-on high-flier ditched TikTok and phone overload for some peace and quiet with the monks of Glenstal Abbey. But did any of their habits stick?

London-based Veena McCoole’s remote job working with New York meant she felt in a constant fight-or-flight state

In February, I was reaching the end of my tether. My anxiety was a growing knot in my chest, making itself known through late-night heart palpitations and a constantly spiralling mind. I turned 27 in mid-February, blew out my candles in a crowded pub in London, and wished for something to shift me out of this perpetual fight-or-flight state.

My remote job, with colleagues based mainly in New York, means I am used to my phone pinging with emails and messages late into the evening — so it often feels like work is never really “done”. This constant need to be online, coupled with the sensory overload of life in London, cemented the knot of anxiety in my chest. What I needed was a drastic change of scenery, an ability to fully unplug, and enough silence to let my racing thoughts grind to a halt.

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