Welcome to the next interview in my occasional series - where I talk with amazing midlife women who are being brave and trying new things - maybe a career change or a new business venture. I meet so many women who inspire me and I love to share their stories with you.
This is Mary who I met a few years ago when I was volunteering at the Citizen's Advice Bureau for one morning a week, my first foray into something outside of the home other than our own business. I volunteered for a year but then it became a little difficult with my available time as I was needed to help out with some family commitments. Anyway I met Mary who was working there and then bumped into her again at a networking event in Marlow last year.
Mary has recently retrained and set up her own coaching business specifically focusing on menopause and midlife. Here she tells us a bit more about her and her life and why she decided to change her career and retrain.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m 55, married, with two girls who are both at university, and a husband who travels a lot, and I’ve recently set up my own business to give me a new challenge in to my midlife and beyond. As well as building my own business, which I love, I’m also a Director for the UK Health Coaches Association, which is really exciting because it is a rapidly developing organisation at the forefront of a new well being movement.
When I’m not working I love being outside – I walk and cycle whenever I can. It’s important for me to catch up with friends and family regularly, and my favourite holiday location is being in the mountains – either skiing in winter or walking/relaxing in beautiful scenery in the summer.
And tell us a little bit about your business venture (or career) and what inspired you?
I am a Health Coach, supporting midlife women who are struggling with menopause-related symptoms, to make lifestyle changes to reduce their symptoms naturally.
It’s been quite a journey getting here – 4 years ago I had to leave my full-on job due to family health issues, and about a year later I came up for air. I decided that this was the time to do something new, but I just didn’t know what that might be. I have many years training experience, but this was industry-specific, which I didn’t want to go back in to, so I didn’t have an obvious place to return to.
I’ve always been interested in health and wellbeing, and prioritised exercise and diet, not just for body image, but also for my mental health. A couple of years ago I read an article about health coaching, which I had never heard of before then, and was immediately hooked. At the time I was doing an admin job for a coaching organisation, and realised this is the perfect role for me to marry my wellbeing focus with my training skills, whilst developing new (coaching) skills. About 6 months after that revelation, I was on a coach training course, and since then I have been developing my new health coaching business – Bloom with Mary. My maiden name was Blum so I love my business name!
I’ve chosen to work with the menopause because I believe this is a very under-discussed part of women’s lives, yet every woman who gets to 50'ish goes through it – and the stats show that 70-80% get hot flushes and other symptoms, at least 20-25% of whom find them distressing enough to seek further help. I know from my own menopause (which I went through in my late 40’s) that it can be really tough, and it’s often hard to find people to talk with. I also know that lifestyle can make a massive impact, and my aim is to inform and empower women to take back control of their health so they can reduce their symptoms naturally. As well as my coaching and training programmes, I run a supportive Facebook group (called Blooming Menopause!) which allows women to connect, share their experiences and learn from each other.
Very recently I have also become a DoTerra Wellness Advocate, supporting people to use essential oils to improve their wellbeing. Personally I’ve used essential oils for years, and I realised that it would be a great addition to my services, but I really believe that they can have a massive positive impact on us – they can help calm and de-stress, energy and uplift, or balance and calm. There are specific oils which support hormonal balance and therefore can help alleviate menopausal symptoms. As well as easing physical symptoms such as headaches, they can also support emotional imbalances such as anxiety or worry. I love them!
What does an average day look like for you?
My work is mainly at my desk on my computer, either admin and all the stuff that running your own business entails, or consultations, webinars and coaching sessions which I run online. So it would be very easy for me to get up, walk a few steps downstairs and sit at my desk all day. If I did that I think I would go nuts! So every day I ensure I schedule three activities, at least one at lunchtime – (1) get outside for at least half an hour, (2) do some exercise, and (3) see a real person face-to-face. A walk with friends ticks all three boxes, sometimes I cycle to a fitness class, lunch with a friend or pop in to see my Mum who has just moved nearby. Evenings vary enormously, depending on whether my husband is home, or whether I go out with friends or to an activity. I’m not very good at sitting and watching TV as I’m too restless, which is just as well as my evenings tend to be quite busy.
What has been your biggest challenge?
In my current business - converting potential clients to paying clients. What can I say – I’m sure it’s every small business owner’s biggest challenge. Having said that, I’m happy with the progress I’m making and trying to be patient as I’m confident it will work out.
What advice would you pass on to someone wishing to change career in midlife?
Do it! Create a life that you will look back on with pride in 10, 20, 30 years’ time. Take time to really explore what is important to you – your values, your lifestyle, your finances, your wellbeing needs. Connect with other people similar to you in clubs, groups, networking organisations etc. Ask ask ask. And give lots – that’s the only way you’ll get back.
Do you have a signature style, an everyday look that you love?
Being home based I don’t have to dress up in the way you do for an office, but I’m still visible in my webinars and online sessions, so everyday I make sure I put on a top I feel good in, do my makeup and wear jewellery. I tend to wear fitted tops such as ribbed jumpers or stretchy pattern tops as I’m short and not very straight so flowy or looser styles tend to envelope me or hide the bits I’d like to show off - mainly my waist! As my bottom half is hidden I tend to wear comfy jeans and in winter cosy slippers!
How do you balance your business with family life?
This is an interesting question as I have very few demands at home from family, as they’re not usually here! It used to be manic and I’m not sure I coped very well, but now for me the challenge is to force myself not to sit at my desk all day and all evening. I love what I’m doing so much and I’ve got so many ideas that it would be very tempting to do so. Hence my scheduling of daily activities and I do try to find things to do in the evening to distract me. When my daughters come home from university it can be a bit of a shock to my system to accommodate myself around family commitments again, but I absolutely love it when they’re home.
What is your biggest achievement to date?
Bringing up my children and prioritising them when they were younger. Family are so special, and our children are only around for a relatively short part of our lives – I felt honoured to be able to have had those 18 years with them.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
Established with a thriving coaching and training business. I’d like to have a majority of my time working with clients, rather than as at the moment when I’m spending a majority of my time doing marketing and business development.
How can we get in touch with you and find out more about you or your product?
You can find more about me and my coaching programmes on my website:
Including my latest programme ‘Managing Hot Flushes Naturally’. I’d be delighted to offer a 15% discount on any of my coaching programmes to readers of this blog quoting ‘beingfiftyandfab’ - please email or call me for further information.
Thank you so much Mary for taking part in my Embracing Life series! I know how important it is to look after ourselves properly and although I decided to eventually go down the HRT route, I do believe that my efforts to make exercise a priority, to eat well and make sure I get me time has been really important in helping me with perimenopause. I also think it is so important that we talk more openly about the challenges we face so we can support each other.
If you want to read more about my decision to take HRT then don't forget to read my post here.
Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post and I receive no commission or gifts for sharing this interview on my blog.
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Welcome to Fifty & Fab, a lifestyle blog celebrating women. I am a blogger with a passion for writing about style, beauty, health and fitness with a focus on the over 50's. I am based in Marlow but work across London and the South East.
Hi, I’m Michelle and my blog Fifty & Fab is all about my journey into and through my fifties. I share style tips, health and fitness inspiration, I talk about my holidays and days out and I tell you about my beauty regime and my lifestyle. I hope you might pick up a tip or two and get some inspiration!
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