Comfort in the now

It feels like we’re living in time suspended. Neither here nor there. On the surface things are quite normal. I get up, go to a coworking space to do my work, say hi to ‘colleagues’, work, come home. After work I go to gym classes, I go to the supermarket. I drink lots of tea. I see my friend Louise on a Wednesday to eat and watch Selling Sunset together. Yes, it is utter rubbish. I watch films at the weekend, go for walks, cook. I’ll meet a friend for a coffee.

But, of course, things are not as they were. I can’t remember the last time I went out for dinner with friends. Or perhaps I can, it was way back in February, with friends visiting from Canada with their kids. We had a typically Spanish late night dinner, around 11pm, sat outside, with the kids falling asleep around us. It seems, and was, a long time ago.

I’ve forgotten what it feels like to queue for a drink at the bar, jostled in amongst others in cheery spirits, talking to randoms. Or maybe I haven’t forgotten. I just miss it. 

I miss hugs from my female friends. And I miss sitting together on the sofa, drinking tea, chatting.

I’ve been to one evening get together with a group of friends, since March. It freaked me out, everyone greeted each other with a hug but me. I felt myself backing away each time someone leaned in a bit too close. 

I’m turning down any invitation to be with more than one or two people or with people I don’t know. I can’t cope with people who don’t understand social distancing. I feel that my introversion is rising. 

My world feels small. 

I haven’t returned to visit my family in the UK, since February. This is the longest I have gone without seeing them – ever. Pre-covid, I would return for a visit every month or two. The longest previous gap was three months. Currently it stands at 7 months, and counting. I’m hoping that a visit at Christmas will be possible, that we’ll find a way to make it happen, safely, but I know I can’t count on it happening. The thought of visiting brings me immense joy, but with it, feelings of anxiety. 

It’s a strange thing, a big global event like a pandemic happening, and not being in your own country. It heightens the ‘otherness’ of where you are, of how you feel. I listen to UK radio, watch UK TV, read tweets and articles written by UK based journalists and writers, listen to their podcasts. I watch the BBC news. I’m a part of it, I know what’s going on, how people feel. And yet, I’m not there. 

I feel displaced. 

I listened to a totally unrelated podcast interview the other day, where someone greatly suffering had the realisation that others feel the same way she does. She’s not the only one. It was a significant realisation for her.

As people have pointed out, we’re not all in the same boat, at all. Some people are suffering with unbelievable difficulty and tragedy. Some people are dealing with serious levels of stress, uncertainty, fear, awfulness, every single day, with or without a pandemic in the background. It doesn’t compare. 

But we are all struggling through something, in our varying ways. All of us. Maybe there’s some comfort in that. Or maybe there’s some comfort in realising that it’s ok to not be ok, all of the time. What we’re experiencing isn’t ‘normal’, so we’re not going to feel ‘normal’. 

I suppose what we can do is try to look for the good in the now. And take comfort from that. I’m not in quarantine, I’m free to go for walks. I have friends I can see, I have a boyfriend to give me hugs and hand squeezes. I have a weekly virtual quiz with my parents, full of laughter.

And keep looking forward, keep looking forward, keep looking forward…

Written during Writers’ Hour. Join me on the next one.

Photo by Nicola Fioravanti on Unsplash

When did boxing yourself in ever help?

I’ve been listening to an audio series on career change coaching. It’s got me thinking about how important it is to follow your own path and forget about what you think you should be doing.

It’s easy to dismiss your dreams. We’re really good at talking ourselves out of what we want in an attempt to protect ourselves from rejection or failure. We tell ourselves that success is only possible if we win the lottery, or if we were younger, more qualified, cleverer. 


A friend was recently talking to me about how we fit ourselves into boxes. It ‘helps’ to guide us in what we can and can’t do.

I’ve never done this, I’ve never been the type of person to do that.

I’m always single, I’m always indecisive, I’m not adventurous.

The thing is, there are no boxes. It’s a construct. We dream these boxes up. Based on society, on stories we’ve been told and tell ourselves. Using examples out there in the media and in films and books about how things should be.

We think we know what we should be doing, how we should be living. We follow a similar path to our friends, family, society in general. A successful life is a job where you earn x amount of money, your home life looks like this, your relationships look like this.

It takes courage to think – screw that, it’s not for me. This is what I want MY career to look like. This is what a successful relationship looks like, to me. 

It takes courage to do an about-turn. 

It takes courage to be confident in what you want, to forget about what other people might think of it or what other people think is ‘normal’. And to go for it. 

Big changes

There’s a lot of talk right now about people making big changes in their lives, brought on by the craziness of the pandemic. People realising what’s most important to them. Realising that they really don’t want to go back to how they were working. Realising that they can no longer bear where they are living or who they are living with.

Sometimes it’s a big shake up that gets the momentum going.

Maybe now is the perfect time to start thinking about what you really want from life. To be honest with yourself. And to start making a plan. It’s true – with the uncertainty bought on by the pandemic, it’s seems like a difficult time to make any changes, to physically get out there and do stuff. To take any risks.

But, I like the softly softly approach. Start talking small steps, regularly. It doesn’t have to be a big jump. Find out about someone else’s career. Speak to a career coach. Sign up for an online course.

You can make a plan, full of teeny tiny achievable steps – and get going.

If you’ d like to try a career change coaching session with me, contact me on LinkedIn, or email me at

Written during Writers’ Hour. Join me on the next one.

Photo by Erda Estremera on Unsplash

Acceptance, the sofa, & tea

I love the changing of the seasons. I came back from my summer holiday at the weekend and the very next morning I could sense the change in the air. Autumn’s on its way. It was cooler in the morning, a lovely breeze coming in through the window. No need for the fan. It’s darker in the mornings, cooler in the evenings. Easier to sleep.

Already, whilst I was away, I’d noticed leaves starting to fall, creating an autumnal vibe even though we were still in August. The city I was in, San Sebastian, though a seaside place, seems suited to the autumn months. A lot of the buildings in the city centre have a slightly dull, darkish sandy colour, running along wide boulevards. I could imagine myself walking briskly along, bundled up with a scarf, through the rain. 

It’s funny how you want what you can’t have. The summer months in Valencia are hard work. You become hermit like, not wanting to leave the flat during the heat of the day, only venturing out come 7pm when the sun has lowered. If you want to go for a long walk you have to save it for early mornings or evenings. I’ve spent much of the summer dreaming of autumn and winter in the UK – sitting cosily on a sofa, wrapped up in a blanket, drinking tea and watching tv. 

And then, on my trip to the north of Spain, I found that the evenings were chilly. Luckily I had a light jacket with me, but suddenly I missed the balmy nights of Valencia, where you’re still hot even when naked. No need to carry round an extra layer ‘just in case’.

One day we had torrential rain. While exciting to watch, and the bold grey clouds were beautiful to see over the sea, suddenly your options dwindle. What can you actually do when it’s properly raining and you’re on holiday? We ended up watching young surfers brave the swirling waves, congregating in the water alarmingly close to the rocky edge of the beach. Huddled together under an umbrella, with wet feet and legs.

I suppose the solution to all this is to appreciate what you’ve got as you live it. Adapt. Accept. When it’s rainy, give in to it, do rainy day things, which is sometimes not very much at all. Maybe just watching the sky and the rain. And on overwhelmingly hot, sunny days, give in to that too, don’t do much at all. And then when the temperature lowers and the sun starts fading, enjoy the moment. Go for a late night walk, enjoy the warmth on your skin, the sounds of the city. 

And on those in between days that make up the majority of life in the UK, when the sky feels low and grey and there’s the threat of drizzle at any given moment, well, accept that too. Get out there and do the stuff you can easily do. Or curl up on the sofa and drink tea.

If you’d like to try career change coaching with me, contact me on LinkedIn or at

Written during Writers’ Hour. Join me on the next one.

Photo by Bas van Velzen on Unsplash

Get obsessed with getting inspired

Let’s talk about Inspiration

I’ve just signed up for a new monthly newsletter, full of career inspiration. It promises to enlighten its readers about different career options and unexpected careers, and feature people who’ve started their own businesses. I’m SO excited to read it and for others to discover it too. Because it’s exactly the kind of thing you need when you’re feeling stuck and uninspired in your job and generally a bit meh.

You need ideas, inspiration, something to add a bit of oomph to your day. What cool, interesting, fulfilling jobs and careers are actually out there? Things you’ve never heard of or thought of. Things you didn’t know existed as a career.


When I wanted to leave my job in magazine sales I joined a few recruitment companies. Of course they just sent me job specs for jobs EXACTLY like the one I was desperate to get away from. And probably even less interesting.

It was so disheartening. I was so desperate for a change, but what they offered me didn’t appeal in the slightest.

It felt like my only option was to move into something that looked pretty much the same, maybe with a higher salary. How depressing. A higher salary is great, but it doesn’t make up for a not so happy day-to-day.

What I didn’t know is that there were a whole world of other jobs out there that I could do. I didn’t realise how many options I had. I was stuck, with blinkers on. 

Delight in other people’s stories

The reason the idea of this email delights me so is because when I started out on my career change journey, what kept me going was hearing stories of other people’s career changes; learning about their lifestyle and work. In short, I was looking for inspiration.

The more I read the more I realised just how many people go through the same thing, a career transition. And also how many people manage to make a change for the better. 

These people left a job they didn’t thrive in, and found something that suited them way better.  A job that played to their strengths, that suited their personality, that sat better with their values. That fit in with how they wanted to live their lives. 

I read the weekly Careershifters newsletter, which each week features  a real career change story. (Read my interview here).

I found huge inspiration in This Year Will Be Different by Monika Kanokova. It features interviews with women travelling around the world or living in different countries, working freelance or setting up their own small businesses.

And many more books, articles and blogposts.

Working out what you want

And it all little by little changed my perspective. I started to shift from feeling stuck and unfulfilled and frustrated, to feeling inspired and excited. I realised there’s so much cool stuff out there to do! And that I could decide how I wanted to live my life, and try to find something to suit that.

For example I liked the idea of being able to work from home from time to time. Of not be in a big noisy open plan office where I couldn’t hear myself think. Where I had to talk on the phone in front of people, one of my pet hates. 

I wanted…

  • To work for a smaller, more intimate company. 
  • I dreamed of doing my own thing, have my own business, with my own clients. 
  • To be able to travel from time to time, and speak other languages was important to me.
  • I also wanted to feel like I was doing work that mattered, work that would have a positive effect. 

Once you start to take ideas and inspiration from others and put a bit of proper thought into it, you start to form a sort of blueprint for what you want.  And that acts as a guide. That helps you sort out what to say no to and what to explore.

Rather than flailing around screaming I DON’T KNOW WHAT I WANT TO DO WITH MY LIFE you’ve got few role models, a few examples of what might be a cool job and lifestyle. 

Role models (who I got obsessed with)

I had a few…

  • A Brazilian girl who had planned for the next year to spend 3 months at a time living in 4 different cities, working as a freelance translator. Working in cafes, cowork spaces, meeting new people, speaking different languages. 
  • A lady who’d packed up a financial career to set up  a wellbeing retreat in the Dorset countryside.
  • A friend of a friend who’d given up a career in book publishing to live in Ibiza. She went on to edit holiday guides as a freelancer.
  • My friend Vix, who was living in Barcelona working freelance and remotely as a translation project manager, who spends time every other month or so working and having fun in Menorca.

My inspirations were all leading me to a job where I could work remotely, maybe in another country, maybe for myself, and have a bit more freedom in my day to day. 


And that’s where I’ve ended up. Living in Valencia, working as a career change coach on the side of a day job, where I work remotely for an online education company. 

It took me a long time to work out what I wanted. But it was such a great experience peeling back the layers and eventually uncovering work that interested me. And I doubt I’d have managed it without all the amazing inspirational stories that changed my perspective and boosted my motivation.

So search out things that make your heart sing, that excite you. Find case studies of people who have changed career or who have jobs that sound interesting. (I love Stylist magazine’s Work/Life column for this).

Try and pick out the bits that appeal – is it their working environment, the actual work they are doing, the freedom they have? This will help you to work out what you want, I promise. It will plant little seeds in your brain that will influence your next steps.

If you’d like to have coaching sessions with me, find me here on LinkedIn, or email me at

Written during Writers’ Hour. Join me on the next one.

Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

Anxiety and looking after yourself.

I’m not a fan of the term self-care. I feel a bit sneery about it. I think it’s one of those terms that’s been so overused that I’m just bored of hearing the words. But, increasingly, I’m considering its meaning and importance:

‘The practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.’ Oxford English Dictionary

I’ve been feeling quite anxious and worried. I think most of us have in recent months. I still haven’t been able to visit my family and friends in the UK, and I’m really feeling it. Currently living in Spain, up until February this year I’d been returning to the UK  every 1-3 months. Six months feels like a long time, and I mean that literally, I feel the longing, the homesickness. And it’s bringing up all sorts of worries and concerns. 

So I like the idea of actively trying to protect your own well-being during periods of stress and anxiety. Consciously figuring out things you can do which you know will make you feel better. And for me, it comes down to a few usual suspects. 


I’ve been doing around 10 minutes of yoga every morning for quite a few years now. I’ve always enjoyed it as a way to wake up and stretch and ease into the day. Recently, I feel as though I’m appreciating it even more. I’ve really noticed how good it feels to do it by an open window, the cool breeze coming in, morning light reflecting on the wall outside. Me, following the moves, stretching up, breathing deep. It’s a peaceful moment. 

I’ve also realised that it’s great to do right before bed, to release tension from the neck and shoulders, to stretch, breath slower, calm down. It just feels like your being nice to yourself, giving yourself a quiet moment.


Also something I’ve done for a while now, probably a good 3-4 years. I started doing meditation when I was going through a stressful time, planning to leave my then job. I started with 10 minutes in the morning using the Headspace app. 

But recently, I’ve discovered the joy of a short meditation session in the afternoon. When I’m feeling tired, or my eyes can’t take looking at the computer screen or any other screen any more, I take myself off to lie on my bed, and close my eyes, and listen. It feels so good.

Even just closing your eyes for a period during or towards the end of a busy working day does wonders. Your eyes get so tired. And listening to the meditation just forces you to slow down, breathe deep, stop the whirring mind for a bit, or at least slow it down. 

When I feel anxious I know my breathing becomes short, so anything that makes me slow down my breathing, such as yoga and meditation, feels good. 

Walking & podcasts

I’ve known for a long time that walking and listening to podcasts is one of my favourite pastimes. It always makes me feel better. Always. I had a renewed love and appreciation for it when we were finally let out of our strict quarantine to walk for an hour a day. It’s almost indescribable how good it felt, to get the blood pumping, energy flowing, to see the city, to listen to clever, entertaining, inspiring people. To hear about other people’s experience of lockdown. 

However I’m feeling, I know that I am guaranteed going to feel better if I get my trainers on and go for a walk, whatever time of day.

Gym classes

I’ve also realised just how much exercise and going to gym classes helps me mentally. I’ve found classes I love, pilates and weights classes. I have my routines, they’re built into my day. And I find comfort in the routine, I know what I’m doing, I know that even if the class pushes me, I feel so good afterwards.

The music, being around other people. It’s like meditating, you’re focusing on what you need to do, the music, the voice of the instructor. Even if your mind starts spinning off into a to-do list – you can’t focus on that for too long, you’ll get lost in what you’re supposed to be doing.

I have a feeling that my mood is better on days when I’ve done a class. 

Writing things down

I also find journaling beneficial, that fancy term for keeping a sort of diary. It’s basically getting everything out of my head, onto paper, or the computer. In the mornings I do a one hour online writing class, which is when I write these blog posts. But some mornings I just write whatever’s on my mind, worries, to-do list for the day, for my life, what I’m scared of, what I’m grateful for. Things that happened yesterday. Things I want to do, plans. Pondering. Comments. Realisations.

And I do the same in the evening in a notebook, for however long I need to. Sometimes I have nothing to say, I just write down a few things that made me smile that day or that I enjoyed. Other times there’s a lot to let out. It helps put my mind to rest.


And the last one – which I haven’t experienced for a good 5 months now but I’m excited to have one booked in, a massage. I love massages. I get a lot of tension and tightness in my neck and shoulders, from stress, anxiety, from sitting at a laptop all day. To have someone work away at the knots is so amazing, such a release. And it feels so intimate, and caring. That’s what self-care is right?

I hope you’re looking after yourself.

If you’d like some coaching sessions with me (I specialise in career change coaching), find me here on LinkedIn , or email me at

Written during Writers’ Hour. Join me on the next one.

Photo by Beatriz Moraes on Unsplash