Anna is a mum of two boys an experienced Psychotherapist, and a passionate communicator. After starting Instagram a year ago for interiors inspiration, she slowly started sharing more of her life and thoughts. She found that she could take therapy out of the practice room and began to share her personal and professional mental health insights in this public sphere.
Anna runs regular ‘Mental Health’ lives, coaches over SKYPE, and writes and blogs about mental health and motherhood. She also co-created Blöm Cards – a set of psychologically grounded cards for mental health and mindfulness.
Describe a typical day for you?
Ooh a tricky one, as each day looks different. I finally have childcare, enabling me to focus on work for two days a week, which has been a game-changer for me. On my days with the kids, we basically playdate and playgroup hop our way through the day. It’s chaos and messy but so much better to do life with friends. My busy boys are like puppies, they have boundless energy and sleep better when worn out!
On my working days I spend a few hours doing mental health coaching over Skype and seeing face-to-face clients in my living room. I write about mental health and spend more time than I should on Instagram.
I may take my laptop to my local health club for the afternoon. I love working amidst the buzz and finish the day with a speedy workout and spa before heading home to bath the boys.
At weekends we go for muddy walks and spend a little longer in our pj’s. My husband is brilliant with the kids and takes the lion’s share of the parenting role on the weekend, which I hugely appreciate. He doesn’t see the boys Monday to Friday due to work hours, so he revels in getting stuck in.
No two days are the same for me anymore, and whilst there is certainly a healthy dose of routine within that, it has been a welcome shift from the day to day of full-time mothering and working every spare moment that the kids are happy or sleeping. It’s lovely to be able to compartmentalise things a little more.
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
I’m a self-starter. I get a vision and a burst of energy and I don’t stop until I see it come to fruition. My biggest achievements are my Psychotherapy accreditation and my boys. I have fought through Post Natal Depression recently and I am so proud that my furious self-sufficiency has softened enough to believe that letting others support me isn’t failure of my abilities to parent or do my job.
What’s in your handbag/ satchel?
The usual parenting paraphernalia surrounded by snack crumbs. Always a phone-charging capsule as I burn through my iPhone battery. I love using essential oils for anxiety and stress, so there are always a few rolling around among a variety of brightlipsticks. I didn’t use to wear lipstick but now it provides me with such a lift and reminds me that I don’t need to hide from the world.
What are your ambitions in life?
My heart is to communicate simple psychological concepts in a way that people can grasp and utilise, and to cheerlead people in the process of making positive change. I’m so passionate about equipping people to fight anxiety and depression that I often lie awake at night, with my creative brain whirring with new ideas of how to communicate these things. I write words in my head like lyrics and am always scrawling them down in my iPhone notes or bits of discarded paper.
What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career you now know?
I wish I’d known that I didn’t need to ‘fix’ everyone. That the best thing I can do for others is to communicate things well, and the best thing that I can do for myself is to maintain healthy boundaries. I’ve learnt to value my skills as a job as well as a personal passion. I get a lot of messages with people’s life stories, and instead of writing lengthy, time-consuming responses as I used to, I now invite people to book a paid coaching session with me so that we can talk it through properly. I can’t give all of myself away. I need to keep some of my energy and resources for my family and my own mental health.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
What a big and brilliant question! I struggle to project into the next year or two let alone five. My children will be in school by then, so perhaps I’d like to be working on some big projects around women and mental health. Maybe I’d be doing more speaking and have written a book or two! I need to think more about the bigger picture but at the moment, the day-to-day and week-to-week takes up so much space in my mind!
What advice would you give a budding psychotherapist and blogger?
Write about the things you are passionate about and the things that come from your heart’s fire! That is where your energy is. Write about the things that intrigue you and the things that make you that good kind of mad. When we put pieces of our heart onto pages and communicate them through photographs, the authenticity alone will capture people.
As for psychotherapy, the road to training is long, hard and expensive and you become your own case study. It can take about 8 years to become accredited, but if it’s what you feel called to do, every step of the way will teach you more about yourself and other people than you could ever imagine. People sometimes fear that I will use my knowledge to ‘figure them out’, but if anything, it makes you more compassionate about others (and yourself) because you understand how people are shaped by their experiences, and how everyone has a story that would make you cry. It’s been a long haul, but one of the most valuable things I’ve invested in.
What do you wish you’d known about motherhood before having kids?
That asking for and accepting help really is the key to positive mental health. We are NOT made to do this thing called motherhood alone. Building up a support network and utilising them aren’t about failure; it’s about letting others love you through the inevitable bumps in the road. We need to lean on one another.
Finally, happiness is…
The buzz after a good workout. The calm of yoga.A glass of wine on the sofa whilst my husband cooks. Holding both my boys on my lap and squeezing them until they wriggle away.