Let’s explore the very real impact of supporting someone with persistent pain both at work and at home.

 

During a podcast interview with Ryan Tyack from Potential is Human, I was asked me about how my husband, Chris, dealt with my chronic pain for so many years.

 

I realized what a huge topic this is 🤔

 

Living with chronic pain is difficult, but being around someone who is living with chronic pain is also challenging for different reasons.

If you’re the partner, boss, or coworker of someone in pain, you may experience one or more of these things:

  1. Feeling helpless because if the doctor can’t help, what chance do you have?
  2. Feeling the need to find and offer practical solutions, which are not always welcomed.
  3. Guilt about living and enjoying your life without suffering.
  4. Absorbing the heavy emotions of the person in pain.
  5. Fear of the future. If this doesn’t get better…then what?

It’s hard to always be there for someone else, especially if it’s over a long period of time. It can take its toll on you.

 

Therefore, it’s essential to take care of your own mental, emotional, and physical health. On top of that, here are some practical tips to help you directly support the person who is suffering.

 

1. Avoid talking about the pain

Living with chronic pain can be all-consuming, but it’s important to remember that the pain doesn’t define the person. In fact, continually talking about the pain can actually make it worse. This is because pain is a neural pathway, and the more we focus on it, the stronger the pathway becomes, leading to more fear and discomfort. That’s why, as a first step, I always encourage my clients to shift their focus away from the pain and towards what they can do to improve their situation. By redirecting their thoughts and actions, they can start to take back control of their lives and reduce the hold that chronic pain has over them.

 

2. Help them name their emotions

It’s becoming increasingly clear that pain and emotions are intricately linked. Recent studies have shown that when someone is in pain, their emotional state can significantly impact their experience of that pain. As a friend, colleague, or loved one, you can help alleviate their suffering by encouraging them to identify and name the emotions they are feeling – be it frustration, anger, disappointment, or something else. This simple act can have a powerful effect, helping to release some of the tension and negativity that may be exacerbating their pain. By creating a safe space where they can openly express and process their emotions, you can help them move towards a greater sense of ease and comfort.

 

3. Create moments of joy

Creating moments of joy can be a powerful tool in managing chronic pain. It’s been scientifically proven that when we experience positive emotions, our brains release “happy chemicals” that can counteract feelings of pain. So, why not try to make someone smile today? In our home, we have a simple yet effective practice where we share what we are grateful for during dinner. This moment of reflection not only brings joy to our day but also builds up resilience, which is crucial in healing from chronic pain.

4. Suggest a mind-body approach

When it comes to chronic pain, the typical Western medical approach often only addresses the symptoms rather than the root cause. However, scientific research has shown that persistent pain is often the result of a learned neural pathway, which means it can be unlearned.

 

As a supportive friend, consider suggesting a mind-body approach to healing, which focuses on the interconnectedness of the body and mind. One way to get started is by taking a free quiz on my website called “Is Your Pain Curable?” This quiz can help identify if this approach is suitable for them.

 

It’s important to note that this approach may not be for everyone, and some people may be resistant to the idea. However, by making the suggestion, you can rest easy knowing that you’ve done what you can to support them in their journey towards healing.

 

In summary, living or working with someone in chronic pain can be challenging, but these are four steps you can take to help

 

1 – Don’t talk about the pain

2 – Help name emotions

3 – Create moments of joy

4 – Suggest a mind-body approach

 

By following these four steps, you can feel more in control and provide meaningful support.

 

Don’t forget to check out the latest podcast recording with Ryan for more tips on overcoming stress, anxiety, and chronic pain.

Remember, with the right mindset and support, anything is possible.

If you’re interested in learning more, I offer daily reminders and tips on LinkedIn (link) And if you’re ready to explore coaching options, schedule a free Discovery call here (CLICK).

In this post, I will be sharing the 4 steps to healing chronic pain, a topic that affects many people and can be frustrating to deal with.

 

It’s not uncommon for those experiencing pain to feel overwhelmed and hopeless, especially when medical professionals are unable to provide a clear diagnosis.

 

About 1 in 4 people who see a GP have physical symptoms that cannot be explained.

 

As a result, people often adjust their lifestyles to accommodate the pain, and it becomes their new normal.

I can relate to this experience, as my chronic back pain forced me to give up activities I loved, such as dancing and running.

I rearranged my home to make things more accessible and gave up wearing heels, all in an effort to manage my pain.

 

But what if I told you there’s another way to manage chronic pain, one that involves a holistic approach and a better understanding of the root causes of pain? Here are the 4 steps to healing chronic pain.

 

1 – Educate yourself on the root cause of pain (It’s not what you think)

Western medicine tends to focus on the physical location of pain and relies on scans and tests to identify a cause. However, chronic pain is often rooted in the brain, specifically in neural pathways that cause pain sensations. Understanding this connection can help you manage and alleviate pain more effectively.

 

2- Energize yourself byusing your personality in the best way

Certain personality traits, such as people-pleasing or perfectionism, can contribute to chronic pain by causing stress. By recognizing and adjusting these traits, you can reduce stress levels and decrease pain sensations.

 

3 – Explore and process your past

Research has shown a correlation between childhood trauma and chronic pain in adults. Understanding how past experiences may be impacting your current pain can help you process and move past these triggers.

 

4 – Empower yourself with practical tools to calm your nervous system

Regulating the nervous system is essential to managing chronic pain. Incorporating practices that allow your nervous system to relax and reset can help you feel better and prevent pain from returning.

 

These four steps are the foundation of the Freedom From Pain Healing System, a program I’ve used to help clients around the world manage their pain and reclaim their lives.

 

If you’re struggling with chronic pain, I encourage you to take a holistic approach and consider these four steps. By doing so, you may find relief and a renewed sense of hope.

 

If you’re interested in learning more, I offer daily reminders and tips on LinkedIn (link) And if you’re ready to explore coaching options, schedule a free Discovery call here (CLICK).

You’re tossing and turning. It’s another sleepless night. Predictably… Fear kicks in.

  • What if I don’t sleep again?
  • What will happen tomorrow?
  • What if this keeps happening to me?

Before long we’ve developed a fear of not sleeping which only makes matters worse.

 

Did you know? Some birds sleep with one eye open.

Why? Because half of their brain is alert whilst the other half is sleeping? This allows the bird to spring into action if there’s a threat.

Are you a bird? Of course not.

Unfortunately, as humans, we can’t sleep with one eye open whilst we scan the world for threats. We must choose between being asleep or staying awake.

Therefore, if we believe there’s some level of threat, humans can find it impossible to drop into a deep sleep.

I’m not just talking about physical threats. I’m also talking about stressful things that are playing on our minds. These can also be a threat.

Therefore, the best way to get a good night’s sleep is to find effective ways to settle your nervous system. So that we no longer feel the need to stay alert just in case.

Feeling safe enough to sleep starts from the minute we wake up and the actions we take throughout the day determine whether we will feel safe enough to sleep at night.

For this reason, I’ve broken down this article into 3 sections.

1 – Morning tips
2 – Daytime tips
3 – Evening tips

So here goes…

Morning Tips

Wake up at the same time every single day (no matter what)

I get it… the alarm has gone off and you can’t quite believe it’s that time already because you’ve only just fallen to sleep. However, the biggest mistake we make at this point is hitting the snooze button. Doing so gives us a feeling of having ‘failed’. But more importantly, our body clock starts from the minute we get up. The longer we lay in bed, the later it will be in the evening before your body thinks it’s time to sleep. If the time we get up each day is different no wonder our bodies don’t know when it’s time to sleep.

So next time your alarm goes off, do whatever it takes to crawl out of bed. Yes… You may be tired in the afternoon, but I will show you how to handle that later in this article.

Get up before everyone else

I can already hear your resistance to this point. I know you’ve probably not slept and want to enjoy every second of sleep before you have to get up. And maybe your kids wake up early and you can’t possibly imagine beating them to it.

But still… I stand by this point because it was a game-changer for me in my struggle with chronic pain and terrible sleep.

Whilst we are lying in bed our nervous systems are somewhat calm, even if we’ve slept badly. Then suddenly from nowhere a loud alarm goes off, kids are jumping on you and the dog is barking to be fed. Before you know it, you’re running around the house like a headless chicken trying to get everyone organized for the day whilst at the same time panicking that you haven’t slept which means you will be tired all day. Our nervous system has no idea what’s happening but does its best to keep up with us.

Now imagine this…

Your alarm goes off with a soft vibration alert. You know everyone else is sleeping which gives you 45 minutes of calm time. You savour your perfect cup of tea, maybe sit, and read a chapter of the book you’ve been meaning to finish, and you may even sneak out for a walk around the neighbourhood.

The key here is that you have uninterrupted time to experience what it feels like to have a calm nervous system. Our bodies are extra receptive in the mornings so it’s likely that once we’ve experienced this state of calm, we are more likely to continue our day feeling this way.

The more pockets of time during the day that we can calm our nervous system the better our sleep will be at night.

And finally on this point… The earlier we get up the sooner our body clock resets so that we are ready to fall asleep at night.

Let daylight into your eyes ASAP

Getting daylight into your eyes as soon as possible after waking tells your body clearly that in 12 hours it’s time to sleep. Making your chances of falling asleep far better.

Sitting by a window for breakfast would work but the ultimate treat for yourself would be a quiet walk around the streets. Even if it’s raining and miserable, fresh air, daylight and movement will help your body clock kick start. I promise.

Resist the phone for as long as you can

It’s sad that for many of us, the first thing we do on waking is to check to see if we have any messages or notifications. And even worse we take a sneaky look at social media apps just in case we’ve missed anything. And whilst we are there we may as well check out the news headlines.

Each one of these actions will activate your nervous system without you even realizing it.

What could be on your phone that couldn’t wait an hour or two?

Give yourself the freedom of enjoying the first part of your day distraction-free. This will help keep your nervous system nice and calm for longer.

Which as you know will help your sleep at night.

Daytime Tips

Imagine your nervous system on a sliding scale which fluctuates throughout the day. To get a good night’s sleep the aim is to keep our nervous system as calm as we can throughout the day.

When are you most stressed?

At times throughout the day, you will notice that your nervous system is on high alert. This could feel like you’re holding your breath, clenching your teeth, or anxiously looking around. For some people, myself included, physical pain shows up at these times. Tension in the back, shoulders, jaw etc.

Once we start to notice these moments of stress, we can put measures in place to consciously regulate the nervous system.

My anxiety is at its worst between 3.30 pm – 4.30 pm. It doesn’t matter why. What matters is that I notice and aim to settle it. Here are some techniques you can use throughout the day to calm your nervous system which will in turn help you sleep at night.

Yoga Nidra / Non-Sleep Deep Rest

Yoga Nidra is a guided meditation we do whilst laying down in a quiet room. In just 10 minutes our entire body can fall into a state of calm. But the idea is that we don’t go to sleep. It feels like a massage for the mind. And it teaches us that we can be calm even without sleeping.

If you’re like many people with chronic pain and do not sleep at night this is a great way to quickly recharge your batteries in a really short time.

Having techniques as powerful as this also means we can get up early regardless of the lack of sleep because we can tap into this any time of the day to supercharge ourselves.

This is my favourite and easiest technique to find pockets of peace when I’m stressed or tired.

Meditation

Many of my clients swear by meditation. I find meditation easiest first thing in the morning when my mind is already calm. But later in the day when my monkey mind is on over-drive, I use you-tube meditations as an easy option.

Exercise

Although this is obvious, exercise ensures our body is physically tired enough to sleep.

I would suggest you test out what works best for you. Are you a morning exercise person or an evening one? For me, I find morning exercise helps me sleep and evening exercise tends to keep me awake. But everyone is different.

Struggling to get motivated because you’re tired?

Go for something easy and make use of tools to help you.

The Nike Run app has excellent guided runs. Last week I did a run titled “A run for when you don’t want to run”.

And ‘Yoga with Kassandra” can be found for free on youtube. She has great 10 minute videos and is very motivating.

Technology Tips

These days we’ve all become a little bit obsessed with checking our phones. On average Americans check their phones 344 times a day. That’s once every 4 minutes.

I doubt you can remember the feeling of freedom we used to have before mobile phones.

I don’t suggest we bin our phones but please know that every time we feel the need to check the phone, whether we check it or not, we are evoking a stress response in our bodies.

I’ve deleted all social media apps, news apps and even my e-mail from my phone. It’s been a game-changer for me. If you can’t bring yourself to do this, then at least consider turning off the notifications.

Looking at our phones when we are about to go to sleep does two things.

Firstly, the blue light that’s emitted from your phone stimulates your brain and fools it into thinking it’s daytime. This blue light is saying to our brains “Oh look! There’s bright light… It’s time to wake up”. Instead of falling to sleep your body clock may reset, think it’s morning and try to give you 12 more hours of awake time.

And lastly, do you really want to have some random person’s face from WhatsApp, Facebook or Instagram on your mind as you drift off into sleep? Probably not.

Most things we see on social media will in some way trigger our stress response. So best not to do this just before we try and sleep.

Alcohol & Caffeine

Too much caffeine during the day and we struggle to sleep at night. This is a fact.

But many people believe the opposite to be true of alcohol.

I’ve heard people say they need a glass of wine to help them relax so they can sleep. Whilst it may help you to fall to sleep it will prevent you from getting any deep sleep. And numbing our nervous systems does little to solve the sleep problem long term.

Evening Tips

So it’s coming up to the time we ‘should’ be sleeping. The fear starts to creep in. What if I can’t sleep again?

Notice this very thought is keeping you locked in the pain-fear cycle. The more fear we have of sleeping, the more ramped up our nervous system will be. This gives a signal to our bodies that we need to keep one eye open just like the birds to look out for threats.

As we get better at calming our nervous system during the day our bodies will start to get used to feeling calm and this will extend through to bedtime.

But… having said that when we first start with the techniques mentioned here there may still be evenings that are a struggle.

So here are my top tips for when you find yourself staring at the ceiling while the rest of the world is snoring.

Tapping / EFT Emotional Freedom Technique

Tapping on different parts of the body helps balance energy and reduce the physical and emotional pain. You watch a YouTube video of someone tapping and talking and you just copy.

If you’ve never come across tapping before you may think I’ve lost my marbles.

But I swear by this technique. It works like acupuncture whereby we are releasing energy flow in the body.

So next time you find yourself wide awake, find a tapping video for sleep and give it a go. You might be surprised.

Reading

If we can’t sleep the worse thing, we could do is to continue to lie awake panicking, especially when we’ve spent all day trying to soothe our nervous system.

So put on a reading light and enjoy a few chapters of your book. And trust that your body will sleep when it’s ready to sleep. If you truly need more sleep tomorrow, there’s always Yoga Nidra to give you a boost!

Mind Map

One of the reasons we struggle to sleep is because of our busy minds. For many people, the first time we get a moment to ourselves is when we put our heads on that pillow.

So of course, this is when we start trying to make sense of everything from past events, the things we are dealing with day to day and even things about our future.

Although these things are just thoughts our bodies perceive them as very real threats. And it would be impossible to sleep if there were any threats. Even something as simple as needing to remember to pack the swimming kits for the kids in the morning can seem like a threat at nighttime.

Before you go to bed jot down everything you possibly can that could be on your mind. Let the pen flow including big and small things. Make sure you leave that notepad next to your bed. This way if you notice a thought swimming around when you’re trying to sleep you can roll over and write it down.

As a rule… Better out than in when it comes to thoughts at night.

Gratitude Practice

Running away from the fear of lack of sleep is exhausting. But what if instead, we could focus on running towards joy.

Starting a simple gratitude practice at bedtime will help you to shine a light on all the positive aspects of the day. Just listing 3-5 things that have happened to you during the day that you’re grateful for can send very powerful calming signals to your brain.

Then as you lay down instead of counting sheep which is both boring and stupid, try thinking back to the start of your day. What was the first thing you were grateful for, imagine it fully. Then follow it with the thought of the next thing. Continue this enjoyable process until you reach the end of the day and then start again from the beginning either with new points or the same points.

What matters here is that the thoughts we have as we drift off to sleep bring us a feeling of joy and safety.

Final thoughts

For someone that’s already frustrated about not sleeping, this may seem like information overload, but the underlying message is the same.

If we want to sleep better at night, we need to feel safe.

We need to feel safe throughout the day… not just at night.

And we do this by taking action to settle our busy nervous systems. Unfortunately, our nervous systems will not settle themselves. We must take action and make changes if we want to sleep better.

What is one action you can start taking today?

Book A Free Call

Back in 2016, I was a full-time working mum living abroad. I never stopped and was trying to balance a million things.

I was attempting to be a Super-Mum, a Perfect-Wife and a Full-time Director of HR

Sadly, I was also in physical pain and had given up most of the sporty things I loved to do.

I was scared about my future and felt frustrated that no one could help me get rid of the pain.

I had gone round in circles of hope of recovery and then again a disappointment.

If you have chronic pain, I know you will resonate.

I discovered by accident a book by John Sarno, ‘Healing back pain’. And a lightbulb went off in my head. I knew at that moment that I could heal my back pain without surgery.

This magical approach and the very well-kept secret was called TMS or The Mind-Body Approach to Healing.

I had nothing to lose and was curious, so I made myself into a human experiment.

I learnt everything I could about the science behind pain, had the coaching I needed and journaled a lot.

Very quickly, I started to see the pain slowly getting better.

I had hope again

But, I was scared that friends and family would think I was crazy to consider such a ‘Woo Woo’ approach for such a serious physical condition.

So… I didn’t tell anyone.

I knew this was an inside job and that I needed to do the work. I also knew it could take months or years to heal. I decided that if I healed my pain, I would then come clean about how I’d done it.

I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.

To be honest, I also felt a bit cheated for not having been told about this approach by any of the doctors and specialists I had seen over the 10 years I had been in pain.

This gave me an added incentive to follow this new path because I wanted to prove them all wrong.

As you can imagine, I went through ups and downs. At the start, I had so many little wins and examples of how my pain was curable using the TMS or Mindbody approach, which gave me hope.

The science behind pain made sense to me, so there was no doubt in my mind I was on the right path.

After just a few months, the progress started to slow down. That is when I knew I needed to find some more joy and get back to living.

Otherwise, I would become obsessed with my human experiment and the pursuit of fixing the pain.

I also knew enough about pain to know that it would probably go when I wasn’t thinking about it.

And guess what…it did!

I still remember my first ever pain-free day.

By this point, I had been a life coach for a long time. And I wanted to pivot my business to focus on people with chronic pain.

But I was always too scared. I kept telling myself, ‘What if I can’t help someone and they don’t heal?’

When Covid happened in 2019 I suddenly realized that it wasn’t fair to keep this amazing secret approach of healing to myself. Chronic pain and long covid were on the rise. People desperately needed help.

Maybe I couldn’t help everyone. But there are so many people I could help, and they deserve to be shown a new way to heal that could work.

I wanted to be the person that put them on the path to recovery. So, I switched my coaching practice and zoomed in on stress and pain.

I very quickly had several success stories.

Including a young woman who wanted to get pregnant but who hadn’t been able to due to pain. She has just had her first baby!

And a Mum who was living on just 4 hours of sleep a night due to insomnia. After just a few sessions together, she was sleeping through the night.

Have you been suffering for too long with stress or pain?

The success stories, the relief and the gratitude from clients kept coming. This gave me the boost I needed to help more people.

I’ve always loved being a life coach but since specializing in stress and chronic pain, I’m much more connected to the people I am helping. Why? Because I’ve been there.

For me, it’s not just about the individual I’m helping. It’s about their family and friends.

It’s about kids that get their mummy or daddy back. And it’s about friends being able to have fun again without worrying about the pain.

How would your life be different if you weren’t stressed or in pain?

I help people get their life back. But the part that always surprises me is how my clients often end up being in a better place both physically and emotionally than before they had pain.

Having the chance to work with clients with stress and pain, reminds me daily how lucky I am to have saved my own life.

I get to spend time with my family and friends without having to worry constantly about the pain and my future.

Are you living with stress or chronic pain?

Trust me… You can heal and you can get your life back.

I did it… so can you

Do you want to know if I can help you?

Book A Free Call

I wish I didn’t have so much empathy…

I wish I wasn’t such a people pleaser…

I wish I didn’t overthink everything…

What do you wish?

Every day I meet someone who wishes they were more like someone else.

If there was such thing as a personality transplant, they would take it.

One of the keys to reducing stress and stress-induced pain is to get comfortable in our own skin.

We need to figure out who we are.

Not the version of us we show to the world.

The real us.

That is why all my clients take the Clifton Strengths Assessment, a personality tool to help quickly discover who you are. We find your unique personality. We call these ‘your strengths’.

But what’s fascinating is the different reactions that clients have when they see their strengths for the first time.

And this is what I’m going to share with you. These are the most common emotions that come up for clients when they finally come face to face with their personalities.

And for the most part… it’s not pretty.

Disappointment

When I got my top 5 strengths I was working in Human Resources. I was so disappointed that I didn’t have as many ‘people’ strengths as I was hoping for.

In my mind to be good in HR you needed to have people strengths and I had none.

I was so disappointed that I resigned from my job.

But thank goodness my boss was trained in strengths and was able to talk me off the ledge.

She helped me to embrace my natural strengths rather than wasting energy trying to be someone that I am not. To read the full story click here.

These days I love my strengths and the energy they bring to my clients. And I finally feel comfortable in my own skin.

Anger / Frustration

My first coaching session with Sarah started like this…

Sarah: “OK… I get it… these are my strengths but they haven’t helped me”

We dug in and discovered that Sarah was angry that she had ‘Empathy’ as a strength because she always gets sucked into everyone else’s drama.

She knows this is a source of her stress and pain. She said, “I can’t seem to turn the empathy off”.

During that first session, we were able to go deep and discover specifically when and how empathy was triggering a stress response. And find ways in which she could balance empathy with her other strengths.

We also looked at the many times in which empathy helps Sarah to be successful in roles that she had held both at home and at work.

It wasn’t long before Sarah was able to see her empathy strength for the superpower it is.

Surprised / Validated

Mark discovered he had several strategic strengths. Meaning he thinks incredibly quickly. He can easily consider a million different options before landing on the best answer.

As soon as I shared with Mark that his strategic strength means that he probably thinks faster than his peers I saw a light bulb go off in his head. He said…

Mark: ‘Oh… that’s why I can’t tolerate fools.’

Until this point, he genuinely thought everyone he worked with just didn’t get it.

So much of his stress came from having to explain things again and again.

But now he could see this as his superpower he instantly reframed the way he saw situations and his peers.

He found strategies to explain step by step to others what he was thinking and why. Before long he had everyone on board with him.

Disgusted / Different

Jane has the strength ‘Command’. When she read her strengths report, she took from it that she was bossy.

She was completely disgusted that this was her. And even more upset that others may see her this way. A nerve had been hit because deep down she did feel bossy.

Well… The strength of ‘Command’ can indeed be seen as bossy.

But only if you’re not aware that you have it.

I worked together with Jane to help her see how her strength of command came to life, both at work and at home.

What we discovered was interesting.

Because she was so conscious of not wanting to be bossy, she had been suppressing her natural inclination to take charge for years.

I explained to Jane that it takes more energy to suppress our strengths than to use them.

For years she had been squashing one of her greatest strengths which had been exhausting.

She was able to see the connection to her rising stress levels and associated migraines.

We worked together to see how she could start using her strength of command, without looking bossy so that she could serve others and in turn help herself.

Regret / Grief

Sam discovered that she had the strength ‘Ideation’. Meaning that she has endless creativity. Her reaction, however, was deep sadness, regret and almost grief.

She went on to recall the many times as a child that she was able to use her creativity but somewhere along the way she had lost it.

She described herself as “a shell of a person on auto-pilot”. Her spark had gone.

Discovering she had not been using her strength of Ideation for so many years was a hard pill to swallow.

But by the end of that first session, we had already discovered ways she could quickly re-ignite that creative spark and find purpose and meaning in her days.

Lonely / Isolated

When some clients get their results one of the first things, they notice is that they are different to their family or friends.

This is normal.

We are all different to each other.

But for many, it goes deeper than this. Clients realize that in childhood they were different to their family.

And for whatever reason, their family didn’t recognize or see their strengths

As a child, they tried hard to morph into being what their family expected of them and continued this long into adulthood.

This act of trying to be someone you’re not is exhausting.

With this discovery also comes anger that they were not recognized as a child. Or sometimes we feel relief. Relief that there was never anything wrong with us.

We are just different.

Having the language behind these differences makes all the difference.

Bad / Indifferent

When I asked Julia what she thought of her top 5 strengths she said…

“They are boring, I was hoping to be more”.

Like many clients, she couldn’t see what was so great about her strengths.

I get it!

When you’ve been living with the same strengths your entire life, of course, they will seem boring.

These strengths are your in-built operating system. We take them for granted. They are what makes you – you!

Or put it another way… It’s like trying to look at the end of your nose. Everyone else can see your nose but you can’t. It’s just too close.

We spent that first session looking at how her ‘boring’ strengths were the secret sauce to her previous successes both at work and at home.

Within just an hour, Julia was able to see the end of her nose again! (aka her strengths).

Denial

I will hear a client say, “I’ve done the assessment, but I think I need to do it again, it’s not me at all”.

I’ve been working with the Clifton Strengths Finder tool for many years. And I’ve never once had a client who by the end of our time together still thinks this.

What’s more likely is that they are in denial about who they are. Which in itself could be a cause of stress.

After a little exploration and digging I’m usually able to support the client not just to identify with at least a few of their strengths but to fully embrace them.

Interestingly, the clients with the most denial at the start often go on to recommend Strengths Finder to all their friends.

And finally…

Of course, we could change our personalities.

But it would take years of practice, repetition and re-wiring of our brains.

Wouldn’t it be quicker, easier and healthier to stick with our personality?

Let’s do the assessment. Get our strengths out on the table and see them for what they are.

Let’s be curious about what emotions come up. And figure out how to use our unique strengths in all areas of life.

I promise that when you discover, step in and use your strengths you can’t help but feel stronger.

What clients say

When you discover your strengths it’s as though someone has just given you a brand-new pair of glasses. When you start wearing them you will see the world differently and you will have a-ha moments.

When we first discover our strengths we may not like what we find. But as we unpack them and dig deeper our emotions start to shift.

Only when we stop trying to fight who we are and accept our uniqueness can find inner peace.

And then the real magic happens when you start to consciously notice and use your strengths.

The most common emotions that clients who have gone through strengths coaching with me report are…

Feelings of content, proud, accepted, powerful, trusting, optimistic, thankful, valued, respected, confident and free.

Now it’s your turn

Are you ready to discover your greatest strengths?

Book A Free Call

Send me a message today and let’s get going.

gemma@gemmamcfall.com

The power of mini habits

I realized four years ago that I needed to de-stress if I wanted to heal my pain.

And this is what happened…

  • I tried relaxing. I didn’t have time.
  • I tried meditation. I failed.
  • I tried to work less. I didn’t.

There was always something addictive about having so much going on. So many people were relying on me. And I became highly skilled at finding tiny pockets of time to squeeze in extra little jobs.

I ran like a well-oiled machine. I was fast and efficient and never missed a thing.

The only downside was that I wasn’t a well-oiled machine. I had crippling back pain!

It was my body’s way of screaming at me to slow down.

After many failed attempts at de-stressing, I finally figured out how to transition from racing through life to living like a peaceful monk.

I’m just kidding about the peaceful Monk…. But these days I’m much calmer and no longer suffering from back pain.

I’ve been on a 4-year journey to calmness.

And I’m still on this journey.

How did I do it?

Because I was balancing so many things, the idea of suddenly pulling on the breaks to slow down seemed impossible.

I needed to ease into it.

And this is when I discovered ‘mini habits’.

What are mini habits?

According to Stephen Guise, author of ‘Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results’, a mini habit is a very small positive behaviour that you force yourself to do every day; it’s “too small to fail”.

A mini habit is the smallest version of what you wish you could do.

Even when we’re feeling tired, in a slump and have physical pain doing a mini habit still seems possible.

Mini habits must be tiny and impossible to fail

Choosing a tiny (impossible to fail) goal, means we are almost certainly going to achieve it.

When I was in pain, I felt hopeless. My biggest achievement was getting through the day without crying, but mini-goals gave me regular achievements.

When we achieve something, no matter how small, we feel a tiny buzz of proudness. Which has the power to propel us through the day.

Even though I was in physical pain; I started having 5 seconds of freezing water in my morning shower. A mini habit that I knew would increase endorphins or the feel-good hormones.

I left the shower thinking if I can do that… I can do anything.

How can mini habits settle your nervous system?

It has been scientifically proven that certain things settle our nervous system.

The more mini habits we create around settling our nervous system the sooner our pain will start to ease.

Although I desperately wanted to be meditating like a Monk I always got fidgety after a couple of minutes. But once I made the habit to meditate for only 1 minute it became doable.

And guess what? After making it to 1 minute, I often found myself staying for longer.

These days I’ve worked up to 15 minutes. My mind is still busy, but I’ve learnt to sit with it.

How can mini habits get you moving again?

Before living with back pain, I loved to run and dance.

But over time as the pain got worse, I started to put my favourite activities got put on hold.

One of the keys to recovering from a mind-body condition is to get back to physical activity.

This is a great place to start a mini habit.

For me, it was the mini habit of running 1 minute on the treadmill.

What’s the smallest thing you could do to get back into your physical activity (despite the pain)?

Maybe it’s watching 5 minutes of salsa on YouTube each day whilst you sway side to side in the chair.

Doing this will fire up your pre-pain neural pathways. And we can gradually build up from there.

How can mini habits bring you more joy?

I used to be a bit of a stress head mum. I was nagging and snapping at the kids more than I wanted to.

Introducing the mini habit of sharing our favourite part of the day with each other at dinner, gave me the chance to reset and show up as the Mum I knew I wanted to be.

What would put a smile on your face? How can you make this into a mini habit?

How can mini habits help you connect to your identity?

My personal identity became a thing of the past as I dealt with back pain. I found I didn’t have time, or couldn’t do the things I loved anymore.

Taking the Gallup Clifton Strengths personality assessment helped me figure out what my natural strengths are.

When we use our natural strengths we feel stronger. And in many cases, we slip into the state of flow when time seems to fly.

I discovered I had the strength called ‘Learner’. When I was on maternity leave I started a mini habit to watch one ted talk a day.

What do you love to do? What activities make time fly?

Now choose a mini habit to match.

How can mini habits fit into a busy life?

Most of us that have physical pain also have busy lives. Mini habits easily tag onto things you are already doing that don’t take up any extra time.

In fact… for best results when introducing new habits, it helps to join new habits to old habits.

I bet you rarely forget to brush your teeth.

What new habit could you link to brushing your teeth?

Why should mini habits be limited?

I know you are ambitious and want to be the best at mini habits. But I suggest only picking 1-3 mini habits at a time.

It has got to be easy so that we don’t fail.

When I started I had just 1 mini habit and gradually built up to 3.

I keep the same mini habits in place for at least 30 days. When the habit becomes automatic I add in one more habit.

Why is it best to track mini habits?

What gets measured gets done.

One of the keys to mini habits is to have a very simple tracking system. It must show that you either did the mini habit or you did not. There is no “almost did it”.

Attached is the example that I use but a simple search in google will help you find other examples.

Why is it ok if mini habits fail?

I’ve introduced mini habits in the past and as days went by, I noticed that I wasn’t doing my mini habit.

If this happens you have options:

  1. Make the goal even easier by making it smaller
  2. Change the habit to something you do in the mornings (if you forget you still have the whole day to do it)
  3. Ask yourself why you have the mini habit and what is stopping you from starting. Review your answers and see if you have chosen the right mini habit
  4. Remove the mini habit and change for something you will do (no need to feel guilty)

My list of mini habits

Here is a list of the mini habits I have developed over the past four years. These are just for inspiration.

The key is to find your own mini habits that will either bring you more joy, get you moving again or settle your nervous system.

  1. Make my bed as soon as I wake up
  2. Drink a glass of water before breakfast
  3. Wake up before the kids
  4. Always wake at the same time
  5. 10 minutes of yoga before breakfast
  6. 10 minutes meditation after yoga
  7. Fresh air and natural daylight for one hour every day
  8. Intentionally hug the kids once a day
  9. Ask at breakfast what the kids are looking forward to
  10. Exercise at least 10 minutes daily
  11. A hot shower followed by a freezing shower
  12. Write my intentions in the shower steam
  13. Yoga ‘Nidra’ after lunch (amazing meditation to relieve stress)
  14. Ask at dinner “What’s the best part about your day”
  15. Change the lights in the house in the evening to create a calm atmosphere
  16. Light an incense stick at 6 pm
  17. On days I have a busy mind, I journal before bed
  18. 10 minute guided sleep meditation from YouTube

And Finally

The key is to find your own mini habits that will either bring you more joy, get you moving again or settle your nervous system.

I know you probably feel you don’t have time to do any of this. Or your current situation is far worse than mine.

Maybe it is.

So just pick one habit at a time that works for you and gradually build up.

It’s taken me four years to get to this point and my list will continue to evolve to suit my life.

The first step for you is to make a shift one mini habit at a time.

What mini habit can you start today?

Find out today if your pain or symptoms could be curable by taking this free self assessment.

Book A Free Call

For more information send me a message, I’m always happy to hear from you gemma@gemmamcfall.com

What’s wrong with your personality?

“I know I shouldn’t be such a people pleaser”

“Everyone tells me I have too much empathy”

“I wish I were better at handling confrontation”

 

These are just some examples of things I often hear from clients.

Are we all secretly ashamed of being ourselves?

Dr Brené Brown, a research professor who’s spent the past two decades studying shame describes shame as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.

I used to feel ashamed of my weakness, my lack of confidence and my doubt. Why is everyone else so much more competent than me? Why do they seem to breeze through life with so much ease?

So where does this shame come from?

I’m going to suggest where our shame comes from, how it stops us from being happy, and what you can do about it.

That is unless you want to go on wishing you had a different, better personality and living with shame. In which case go grab yourself a cuppa and snuggle down in front of Netflix.

I’ve chosen to use the word ‘strength’ when referring to personality traits or talents that are unique to you. Why? Because I’m a Strengths Coach and I deeply and completely believe in the strengths approach.

The Shoulds…

Ever noticed that we have a list of everything we ‘should’ be.

‘Should’ according to who?

“You need empathy to be successful” – Do you?

“You will never get anywhere if you are not organized” – Is that true?

“Dealing with conflict is something you should be able to do as you get older” – Why?

These are some of the ‘shoulds’ that Kate, a recent client of mine, wanted me to help her with during a coaching session. It’s no surprise that she had been carrying years of shame because she can’t do these things that society tells her she should.

Despite what we’ve been led to believe, we don’t need to be well rounded. We don’t need to be good at everything. Attempting this is never-ending and truly exhausting.

You were told to stop being you

Kids can be annoying.

They are 110% authentic. They haven’t yet learnt to be ashamed of who they are.

If they have a strength in communication this could look like verbal diarrhoea and a kind parent is constantly telling them to be quiet.

Maybe their strength is questioning things and drive us mad asking more questions than is needed for the simplest of things. What if our reply was ‘stop asking questions just get on with it?’

Or finally, we all know a child who is ‘bossy’. Is it bossy? Or is she one of our next great leaders in the making?

It doesn’t take long before a child learns to be ashamed of their strength and stop being themselves and very soon they could become watered-down versions of themselves without ever having the opportunity to grow into their greatest strengths.

Your strengths were not recognized

Is it possible that your strengths were never spotted or valued by your family because you were different?

Kids just want to fit in. When our uniqueness goes unnoticed, we quickly learn to hide it and try and conform.

A friend of mine, Sam grew up in a family that loved to reminisce and talk about the past. But he preferred to dream about the possibilities of the future. As a child, he couldn’t find his place in the conversation.

Sam assumed for years there was something wrong with him.

By not recognizing other’s strength we’re implying it’s not something to be proud of.

Your parents chose not to shine

Growing up with a parent who lacks confidence and who is in the habit of highlighting their flaws, teaches us to do the same.

Clients often say… ‘I get this [insert strength they don’t like] from my Mum’

What if their Mum had done a better job of embracing this strength and showcasing how to shine with it?

When our parents wish away their personality it sends a crystal clear message to us to do the same.

Your school didn’t cater to your strengths

You could have spent 12 years or more at school and still not figure out what you’re good at.

The current school system does a great job at teaching and measuring academic subjects.

But what about kids whose strengths lie in leadership, influencing, problem solving, kindness or conflict negotiation.

There may have been fleeting moments when if you were, lucky a group project or an after-school activity gave you the chance to shine.

But ultimately your grades still only reflect the academics.

Your boss says you’re not good enough

If you managed to survive childhood without adopting any shame around who you are…congratulations…

You’re in the minority.

But you are not out of the woods yet…

You get a job. You have a boss. You attend your performance review.

And guess what?

You discover a whole load of development areas that you didn’t know you had. You best start working on fixing these things that are wrong with you if you want that promotion.

This was me.

The day I discovered my boss was less than impressed with my ability to create a perfect budget I threw myself into online finance courses.

I found it boring and soul-destroying. I started pulling long hours at work to try harder. I believed to progress further I would need to fix this massive shortfall I had.

And so my professional shame began.

Your partner tries to change you

And lastly… When we find our perfect partners.

We are in owe of them.

They somehow seem to complete us. They’re everything we’re not.

But… shortly after the honeymoon phase these same strengths that once were so attractive start to grind on us.

We do everything we can to try and change them. To be just a little more like us.

Whilst at the same time… they are feeling the same and secretly trying to change us too.

Eventually, any shame you had around yourself will sneak back to the surface as your partner once again highlights your personality defects to you.

What can we do about shame?

The solution to our shame problem is simple.

It’s time to come out of the personality closet.

It’s time to be unapologetically you.

Dr Brené Brown said, “We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known”.

But how can we allow others to see us when we can’t see our strengths?

It’s easy to list our flaws but it’s not so easy to list our strengths.

Why? Because it’s hard for us to see what’s special about something we have lived our whole lives with.

We take our strengths for granted.

How do we find our strengths?

It’s possible to discover our strengths by listing our annoying traits and then flipping them. Most weaknesses can translate into a strength.

You might avoid confrontation (perceived weakness), but you’re amazing at identifying and understanding the wants and needs of others (strength).

Once you have your list of annoying traits and your strengths you have a great starting point.

And yes. It will boost your confidence.

You may find you have a long list of vague strengths but with this method, you run the risk of missing some of your key strengths.

You may have strengths buried so deep inside that neither yourself nor others can identify.

The personality game changer

A more effective way to discover your greatest strengths is to take Gallup’s Clifton Strengths Assessment.

The 45-minute online assessment predicts with surprising accuracy your top 5 natural strengths. So, you know exactly where to focus your energy to shine.

This was a game-changer for me both personally and professionally.

Discovering my top 5 strengths was like having a huge weight lifted from me.

I no longer needed to pretend to be a finance wizard. And I also stopped acting like a chameleon, trying to be who the other person needed me to be.

I could finally step into my strength – I was finally me!

I only wish I had discovered them sooner.

My final words

Knowing, understanding, and using my strengths has allowed me to be me on purpose.

I no longer focus on the shame of who I’m not, or struggle with who I wish I could be.

Instead, I’m comfortable in my skin and I’m proud to be me.

This could be you too!

Find out today if your pain or symptoms could be curable by taking this free self assessment.

Book A Free Call

For more information send me a message, I’m always happy to hear from you gemma@gemmamcfall.com

“The problem is I have too much empathy…”

This is something I hear all the time from clients.

why having too much empathy is no bad thing

But is this a bad thing?

What if ‘empathy’ was one of your greatest strengths?

In this article we will explore what is empathy and why you should stop telling yourself (and others) that you have too much of it. And we explore ways to play to your strength of empathy bringing even more of yourself to the world.

What is empathy?

When my clients tell me, they have “too much empathy” what they really mean is they are picking up everyone else’s emotions and they are exhausted. They say things like ‘I just can’t help it I get so involved emotionally and I know I shouldn’t’.

I get it… Based on this definition from my clients… Yes… empathy sucks!

But I prefer the definition from Gallup.

“People exceptionally talented in Empathy can sense other people’s feelings by imagining themselves in others’ lives or situations”.

Now this sounds like a superpower.

What if you have lots of empathy?

When I start working with a new client, they usually take the Clifton Strengths Assessment. This helps them to quickly identify their top 5 natural strengths.

It’s no surprise that those who believe they have ‘too much empathy’ also discover they have ‘Empathy’ in their top 5 strengths report.

If empathy is one of your greatest strengths it should be celebrated. But instead, it’s possible that you’ve spent your entire life beating yourself up about it.

And worse… others may have been telling you that you are too empathetic, and you shouldn’t be.

In other words, what you’re hearing is “Being yourself and using your natural strength of empathy is not ok. Instead, you should try and be someone you are not”.

What happens when we suppress empathy?

After years of being told and thinking that their empathy is not a good thing. It’s no wonder that many people try to suppress their empathy.

Pushing down or hiding a part of your personality, or a strength, is exhausting. It takes a lot of energy to be someone that you’re not.

You are no longer YOU!

If you’re not you… who are you?

Our greatest strengths make up our identify and how we show up in the world. If we are not proud of our strengths or identity this can cause real stress.

Do you ever feel like you’re not comfortable in your own skin? Could this be why?

What’s the solution

Here are a few suggestions that can help you to flip the switch on empathy to reduce stress and have it work for you.

Change the language…

If we assume empathy is one of your strengths, or a part of you. When we say, “I have too much empathy”. What we are really saying is “I’m being too much of myself and this is a bad thing”.

What if you were to say…

“I have empathy and today I get to use”

Notice the feeling of acceptance that comes with this reframing.

We all have unique personality traits. It’s not that one is better than another. You should not have to apologize for being you.

Change the way we use empathy…

When we start to see our strengths as tools, we can learn how and when to use these tools effectively.

Using the same tool in the same way for every situation is not going to work. And will end up being stressful.

Gallup has identified two sides to every strength. The balcony and the basement.

The balcony is when we are using the strength well, it’s giving us energy and it’s having a positive effect on those around us. With empathy this would look like all the times you were able to read other’s emotions and know just want to say or do. It’s how you create natural trust with people and bring a sense of healing to others.

The basement is when we are using the strength on auto-pilot and it’s not helping ourselves or others in the best way possible. With empathy this could look like times when we are over-involved, moody or become too soft and emotional.

Being aware of times when we are operating in the balcony or basement of empathy will help you take back control of this fantastic strength. You can choose how and when to apply it.

It helps to think of our strengths as sliding scales. It’s not on or off. Instead, there is a scale from balcony to basement. When you can observe how you are using your strengths you can choose to dial up or down as needed.

How and when to use empathy…

For years you may have been trying to suppress one of your greatest strengths. We know this is exhausting. Instead…. Now it’s time to seek out opportunities to use empathy.

We call this playing to our strengths.

When we use our strength intentionally, we feel stronger!

Here are some suggestions of ways in which you can seek out opportunities to put your great strength of empathy to work.

  • Practice naming your feelings and helping others to name their feelings.
  • Build trust with people by letting them know that you know how they are feeling.
  • Practice being silent. With such high empathy even your presence is powerful for others.

Be 100% Authentically you

Using our strengths on purpose gives us energy and meaning. We become 100% aligned with who we are.

It’s not that we have ‘too much empathy’. It’s that you have never appreciated the true power and beauty of your empathy. Now is the time to turn the volume up on this amazing strength and be more of who you really are.

We have only just scratched the surface of what is possible when you tap into your strength of empathy.

I would love to help you discover your greatest strengths and live your best life. Playing to our strengths helps us to reduce stress, gain confidence and unlock our potential.

If you want to figure out your strengths contact me today at gemma@gemmamcfall.com

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Find out today if your pain or symptoms could be curable by taking this free self assessment.

When we feel stressed our bodies are on high alert. When I’m stressed, I feel as though I’m holding my breath, my jaw is tense, and I feel as though time is slipping away.

Although everyone experiences stress differently, we are all wired to be on the lookout for danger.

Why? Because million’s of years ago our survival depended on it. If a great big tiger attacked us, we needed to either run or hide from it. These days danger comes in the form of mounting responsibilities, high levels of uncertainty and unexpected changes.

Why you don’t need to fight the tiger anymore

The difference with a tiger is that once we have dealt with the situation, we can turn off the high alert switch and relax. At least until the next tiger approaches!

But these days, for many people, stress is on-going, never-ending and truly exhausting.

Our high alert switch was likely activated at some point and then we never quite got the break to turn it off. Before we know it, we are stuck in this high alert mode, always ready to fight the tiger. And this becomes our new normal.

I know because I have been there!

What is the solution?

First, we need to recognize if our stress response has got stuck in the on position. Are we on high alert more than we need to be?

Here are some questions to ask yourself…

Are you irritable? Tired? Snapping at loved ones? Judging yourself and others? Not sleeping?

Yes, to some or all? Then it’s time to turn off that switch.

How do I find time to turn off the stress switch?

By turning off this stress switch we can start to deactivate our nervous system. We need to find pockets of peace where we can allow our bodies to relax.

We need to practice turning off the switch of being scared. There is no actual tiger!

Finding 5-10 minutes is all you need to allow your body to relax, which is easier said than done in a busy schedule.

But… think of this time out as the safety message on the aeroplane. You need to put your oxygen mask on first before you can help others.

This is when the i-pad for the kids comes in handy!

What should I do in my 5-10 minutes?

The aim of your time alone is to create stillness and calm. There is no agenda, no performance and no set goals.

I would suggest taking note of the time that you start your time out and don’t leave until the end of your allocated time no matter how bored or fidgety you get.

Remember your body thinks it needs to be out fighting the tiger and the stress of the world. It is not going to want you to sit still!

During your de-stress time try different things until you find things that work for you.

I enjoy rotating between Yoga Nidra (sleep yoga), journaling, breathing exercises, tapping and guided meditation. YouTube is full of fantastic content.

What are the benefits?

I used to think taking time out of my busy day was counterproductive because it would slow me down and make me more stressed.

But taking these 5-10 minutes even just twice a day has had incredible benefits.

I’m a far nicer person. I’m less judgmental to others and myself. And surprisingly I become more productive with a clearer mind.

So that’s it…

We are stressed because the highly alert switch is has become stuck in the on position. Making us think we need to fight a tiger!

Our job is to desensitize the nervous system and turn off that switch by finding pockets of time for our bodies to relax.

How we use these pockets of time is a personal choice. And every time we come out the other side the stress signal is weakened and our bodies truly feel safe to relax.

How are you going to find and fill your pockets of time today?

If you are feeling overwhelmed, looking for further support and want to feel stronger please reach out to me at gemma@gemmamcfall.com.

I’m happy to help.

Find out today if your pain or symptoms could be curable by taking this free self assessment.

Book A Free Call

For more information send me a message, I’m always happy to hear from you gemma@gemmamcfall.com

When we are stressed, we crave control.

The easiest way to feel in control is to default to what we do best. What feels most familiar.

If you’ve have taken the Clifton Strengths assessment you know what your top 5 strengths are.

The problem is when we are stressed, we may use one or two of these strengths WAY TOO much!!!

When stressed, there is a tendency to reach for our strengths and using them like a hammer even if a hammer is not quite the right tool for the job.

How to stop driving others crazy

And if we always reach for a hammer and bang it as much as we can, we may start to drive others crazy.

Using one strength in overdrive also exaggerates our differences and we may face clashes with others causing us even more stress.

Here are 3 examples.

Thinking strengths

Imagine if your greatest strength was to think.

When stressed, we may turn up the volume on these strengths so much that we end up spending far too long sitting in isolation thinking. Maybe we start asking too many questions to fuel our thinking before we can get going.

Whilst we would be in our element thinking, we risk irritating people around us with our physical absence and endless questions.

Communication strengths

How about if your greatest strength is to communicate? When we’re stressed we might start talking way too much.

Maybe even say things we would later regret because we are nervously filling the silence.

We continue talking and may forget to listen to others. Could this drive those around you crazy?

Getting stuff done strengths

The last story I want to share is about those of us that have strengths which mean we are great at getting stuff done. We get energy from taking on new jobs, picking up tasks from others and completing tasks.

This is what I do when I’m stressed.

I become a crazy ‘doer’, I frantically collect jobs and tick them off my task list just as quickly. I have a false sense of control because I’m busy.

But to those around me it’s likely I have lost my mind and don’t actually want to deal with the problem at hand.

What’s the solution?

We don’t want to stop using our strengths.

Why?

Because when we use our strengths, we feel stronger.

But we do need to find balance.

Next time you are faced with a stressful situation try and notice which strength do you automatically start using.

Or if you haven’t yet taken the assessment try noticing which part of your personality is coming out the most.

Take a minute to notice what impact your greatest strength may be having on those around you. Is it possible you may be causing others stress?

Then remember you have a whole toolkit of strengths to choose from. Not just a hammer.

Ask yourself if you have another strength that you could also use in this situation.

Maybe you have a strength that could help you stress less and not drive others so crazy.

If you are thinking about how useful it would be to know what your greatest strengths are to help you stress less?

You are right!

Knowing our strengths is key to getting life balance and avoiding stress.

Why don’t you contact me today to set up a call – gemma@gemmamcfall.com

Let’s find your greatest strengths so that you can stress less.

Find out today if your pain or symptoms could be curable by taking this free self assessment.

Book A Free Call

For more information send me a message, I’m always happy to hear from you gemma@gemmamcfall.com