I should probably start thinking of snappier episode titles shouldn’t I? But the truth is, today’s episode is exactly this – an introduction. In it I give you some background on experiences I had in my teen years that lead to my passion for self-worth development and a little more about the work I do, and how I got to where I am today.
I also explain why the podcast will mostly be solo episodes, why there’ll be one interview per season and why I decided to start a podcast in the first place. I hope it helps you understand me a little better and why I don’t shut up about self-care and self-worth 🙂
Note: I do mention mental health in this episode, talking about my experience on anorexia, self-harm and depression. While I don’t go into detail, if you’re feeling vulnerable please feel free to skip over those parts.
You can listen wherever you get your podcasts or listen here.
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Today’s episode is the very first one, so I’m going to be giving you a bit of background about who I am, what I do, and why I decided to start a podcast. I do just quickly want to highlight that I mention a couple of tough mental health issues I’ve dealt with in the past, including eating disorders and self harm, so if you’re feeling a little bit vulnerable, or not in the best headspace, please feel free to skip over those parts. But otherwise, let’s get into it!
Hello, and welcome to episode number one! This is very exciting – if not a bit nerve wracking. But I’m sure we’ll be just fine. So, as I said at the beginning, I really want this to be an introductory episode so you can get to know a bit more about me, where I’ve come from, and what Seedling is going to offer you in the future.
So I am a writer and a coach and at the moment I split my time between a day job and my outside work. So my day job I work Monday to Thursday for a company writing content for different websites and articles for Happiful magazine, and in that role I get to write about lots of topics that really interest me, and I absolutely love it.
And then, outside of that, I run my blog, Blue Jay of Happiness, and I launched my coaching services towards the end of last year, where I support people around self-care and self-worth.
So I guess a little bit about my background… I guess the place to start is probably my teenage years, when I started struggling with mental health issues. So I was probably around 12 or 13 when these started. And it started with very typical feelings teenagers get of not fitting in, feeling very low, like I wasn’t part of what everyone else was experiencing at school, and that kind of culminated along with perfectionist tendencies to form an eating disorder. And I ended up having anorexia for probably 2-3 years, quite intensely. And that led to other mental illnesses like depression and self harm.
So yeah, that was a difficult, difficult time, and a lot of that came from a real lack of self-worth. I didn’t believe I deserved love or attention and that really manifested in an awful way. And I think that is why I’m so incredibly passionate about self-worth now, because I’ve seen the devastating effects it can have when we lack it.
So I struggled with it for a few years and then I was lucky enough to get support from therapy. I went to a counsellor who really helped me. My family and friends really supported me. And I started to develop some of my own tools to build up my self confidence and my self belief.
And I would love to say that my recovery was absolutely smooth sailing, but if you have experienced mental illness, you’ll know that that’s very rarely the case, and I did end up relapsing when I got to university.
But by that point, I was really at a place where I had developed so many of my own tools and techniques to build myself back up again that I managed to push through it myself – by mainly arguing with the illness.
So if you don’t know much about eating disorders, a lot of people tend to find they have a voice telling them horrible things about themselves. Imagine your inner critic, but on steroids. That’s a pretty good way of describing it.
And I’d learned at university to argue with it and to make a game of it and to do the opposite of what it was telling me to do. And that is a technique that I still use to this day, and it really helped me develop my own inner cheerleader, I guess, and somewhere, something inside of me that was friendly and supportive, and I think that’s the key, isn’t it? To self belief and building yourself up is to be your own friend and be your own cheerleader, which I know is very difficult, but I guess that is how I managed to develop that, at that age.
After university, that’s when obviously career really started to kick off, and for me, I was absolutely desperate to work as a writer, and I really wanted to be in the fashion or music industries because I loved fashion and I loved music, so it made sense to me that I would combine my passions.
But after lots of, lots of working for free, doing lots of internships, doing lots of free writing for different websites, I kind of realised that it maybe wasn’t the right path for me. And at that point I actually got what I thought was my dream job in London working for a fashion website.
It sounds pretty dreamy, right? But I actually found it wasn’t the right environment for me. It wasn’t something I was that passionate about. It just wasn’t fulfilling me, I guess. And I started looking elsewhere.
That was when I found the company where I am at now and managed to start working there full time as a writer, writing about these different subjects, which I obviously had experience with and was interested in beforehand, but I guess working in it every single day and writing about it really really fuelled my interest for it, and that’s where my passion really grew from.
And then over the years, kind of doing that writing in that role, learning more about these different aspects of mental health, really got me interested in areas like self love, self acceptance, body positivity, feminism, politics, all of these things which in the last few years have become a lot higher on the agenda, let’s say, for women everywhere.
And I started to go from being pretty happy with myself and pretty confident to unlearning a lot of things I had learned from diet culture. I realised that I learned what the patriarchy was, I learned that that’s why I was wanting to make myself smaller, I learned about fatphobia.
So yeah, learning about that over the last few years has been incredibly eye opening and has just really helped me to level up, I guess, when it comes to self acceptance. To a point where I can quite happily say that I love myself.
And I know that may make some of you cringe a little bit, because somebody saying that they love themselves is, I don’t know, it’s a bit confronting, I guess. I definitely have noticed that when I’ve mentioned it before. I think people struggle with the idea of self love to that degree and I don’t think it’s necessary for everyone to necessarily reach that place. I think that general self acceptance is an amazing thing to aim for, but over the years, I’ve just learned that what it is that makes me worthy and makes me special and I guess I have seen what impact that had on my life, on my happiness levels, on my mental health. And that’s why I really want to share it.
So after working at the company where I’m at for a long time, and that passion growing and growing and growing, alongside all of this, I was blogging. I’ve been blogging since 2008, so what is that? 10, 11 years now? Wow, that’s a long time!
So yeah, I’ve been blogging for many, many years now, and while I was loving it, it didn’t feel like I was using it to its potential. So by the end of 2016, I decided that I wanted to scrap my old blog completely and start from scratch.
So I launched Blue Jay of Happiness on January 1st, 2017. And this was going to be my new home to go into all of these topics I was developing an interest in. Self care, especially, self acceptance and self love. And then other things seeping in: creativity, and advice for people who are writing their own content, who are writing their own blogs.
And through that blog, I have just found an incredible, incredible community through Instagram, through going to events like Blogtacular, different workshops, different things online. I feel like I have found my people, and that has had an incredible effect on my confidence as well. And it’s just shown me that this is where I want to be, and this is where I can potentially help people.
And that is why I was blogging there at Blue Jay of Happiness: I wanted to help people with that blog. And while I was absolutely loving all the writing I was doing about self care and mental health, I realised that there was only so much you can get from an article that’s not tailored to your individual circumstances.
So there were so many articles about how to make time for self care, but that doesn’t take into account your circumstances, so what’s going on in your life, who have you got to care for in your life, what does your job look like, how many hours a day are you working, how practical is it for you to follow the advice from this article.
So I realised that I wanted to start to help people in a more constructive way I guess, in a more tangible way, and I learned more about the world of coaching. I had my own coaching session with Jen Carrington, which was incredibly helpful, and I just started to read more about coaching and realising that this could be a way for me to support people.
So I decided that I wanted to train to be a coach and help people in that way. So I did a qualification over a couple of years online and worked with some practice clients throughout that and just really found that it was really the bringing together of everything thatI cared about. I really wanted to make an impact with the world I’m in, I wanted to support people, and I decided to really hone in on the areas of self worth and self care because those are just the areas that have had such an incredible impact on my life. And I know what impact it can have on other people’s lives as well.
And that’s kind of where I am today! And I guess I’ve decided to start this podcast because I wanted to try out a new medium. I really really love writing and that’s probably always going to be my go-to, my home I guess, writing pieces. But I know that it can be quite hard to find the time to sit down and read a long blog post. I get it. I also struggle to find the time to read blog posts and I know it’s much easier to just stick a podcast on in the background whilst you’re driving to work on your commute. I like to listen to podcasts while I’m sticking the washing on our airdryer, you know, washing up!
So I think this is just another way of hopefully sharing the message that I’m trying to share, and hopefully help people. That’s the ultimate aim of this podcast, is to support people and connect with you guys in a slightly more intimate way, I guess.
And because of that, most of these episodes are going to be solo and I guess a lot of that is also, and I’ll be completely honest, because of time restrictions. I have got really limited time because I do have my day job four days a week and my blog and coaching work. So for me, doing solo episodes is really effective for my time, and I think I want it to really feel like you’re getting one on one support, like you’re having a mini coaching session with me through these podcasts. So therefore there will always be actionable takeaways and something practical you can do in every single episode.
I will also interject the odd interview, because there are certain topics that I really feel like, as a society, we need to talk about, that I don’t have the experience to be able to talk about those things. And also, as you’ll have heard from my introduction, I think personal growth is an amazing thing, and something we should all be striving for, we should all be working towards.
But if we’re all always just focused on ourselves, I think we’re missing a trick there. I think there’s something a little bit lacking. And for me, personal growth comes alongside learning about people outside of my own experience, learning about things that are affected by politics, learning about just other points of view, and that’s what I can’t provide on this podcast by myself. So there will be a couple of interviews, probably one per series, of people who can talk to different experiences from myself. And hopefully those will be really engaging conversations.
So yeah, that’s some information about me and why I decided to start doing this podcast. I hope you enjoy it and if you do listen, I would really love to hear your thoughts and if you’ve got any topics that you’re keen for me to cover!
I guess until next time, I will catch you… Argh, see? How do you end podcasts?! This is when the music should fade in and the outro should start, so I’m going to be quiet and let that happen and I will see you next week.
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