I grew up in Ireland, where I had a generally typical childhood – family, friends, school. I specialised in Human Resource Management / Organisational Development and Information Systems as part of my Bachelor of Commerce degree, before heading off to see some of the world teaching English as a Foreign Language. While I was on my travels I met my partner and moved to the UK.
I worked in a number of companies and roles, ranging from sales training for pub staff to data administration for a pensions company. My role in a company where we developed an online platform to support large coaching and mentoring programmes introduced me to the idea and benefits of coaching and I went on to qualify as a coach myself.
Becoming a Life Coach for Caregivers
While I was working and training as a coach my partner was signed off work with stress. I adjusted my life, work, training etc and nearly burnt out and struggled to find any help or support outside my family and friends.
My eureka moment came once we had weathered the storm – if I’d felt baffled and alone in my situation then surely others did too, and I could use my experience combined with all the tools and skills I’d developed as a coach to help. I spoke to other women who had been / were going through similar situations and through research, trial and error, tears and laughter to create ways to help other women who are supporting partners through mental health challenges including:
+ Developing strategies to regain control
+ Increasing resilience to avoid overwhelm
+ Looking after themselves, guilt free
Since then I have also become a joint caregiver to my in-laws, and realised that many of the lessons, strategies and techniques apply to any situation where someone is providing care and support and work more widely with caregivers.
Other things about me
I have many labels – “partner”, “daughter”, “friend”, “sister-in-law”, “colleague”, “caregiver, “aunt”, “niece”, “neighbour”, “cousin” – this isn’t the full list and it’s not in any particular order. The roles have differences but in each one I am open and caring and I bring some humour where I can. I take responsibilities seriously and give them 100% , while at the same time adding some enjoyment for everyone.
I know that looking after myself helps me to be better in all my roles, so I make sure to dedicate time to do the things I love – crafting, baking and cooking, reading, walking, time with friends, the occasional pamper session – another list that isn’t full!