When Ella came to see me, she had lost her Mum suddenly the previous year. She was finding it hard to find her focus in life. She is a single Mum to two young children and felt like she was 'just Mum all the time' and had little life beyond that. She told me her house was cluttered, because she couldn't face organising it. She had gained weight due to comfort eating. She felt alone and empty and was mourning the breakdown of the relationship with her children's father. She really wanted to feel happiness within herself.
Ella's priority was to improve her own happiness as she knew everything else would flow from that. In the weeks that followed, we worked on helping Ella set goals for herself. She knew her happiness would improve when she took better care of her health, so we set goals around eating well and exercising plus another one about managing her clutter at home. However, Ella lacked motivation and realised her poor self-esteem was hindering her thoughts about achieving her goal. We worked on challenging her negative thoughts over a period of weeks. We also talked about the real driver for her wanting to be happy and healthy, which was a better quality of life for her and her children.
To support her new life, Ella was asked to create a weekly plan for herself and ensure she planned in an hour once a day for herself, known as "Ella's hour". She was also encouraged to set daily goals and look at them throughout the day.
To help herself be 'more than just Mum', Ella took a volunteering job in her local church. This helped to combat her loneliness. She began to manage her clutter at home by taking small sections of her house to clear out at a time, which was very manageable for her. She improved what she was eating by not allowing junk food in the house and eating healthier snacks. She asked for a referral from her Doctor to a gym, to support her healthy weight goal. Ella took one hour a day for herself, which she often used to exercise or to create healthy meals for later in the day. She really enjoyed the sense of nurturing herself.
I noticed over the weeks a big change in Ella's demeanour. She was highly motivated towards her health and clutter goals and was happier because her negative thoughts had reduced and anyway she knew how to challenge them. Ella has now registered for a Masters Degree to further her education and job prospects.
*Labour Force Survey 2015/2016. **Thriving at Work report, October 2017.