New Year, New You!

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Creative Industries, Health, Mental Health

If you’re anything like me and the majority of people I have met who work in the creative industries you struggle with your fair share of mental health issues.

Even if this hasn’t been directly diagnosed all of us sail through the ordinary waves of the arts world from the ebbing beginning of an idea, drifting into the creation all the way to its presentation, rising to our fullest heights before crashing back down after the event, before discovering what we should pursue next.

The natural rise and fall of The Arts Business.

January tends to form one of these lows, whether the darkness and cold of the outside world rears its ugly head in the form of Seasonal Affective Disorder or our winter projects have come to their expected close and now, armed with our New Year’s Resolutions we’re out to seize 2022 but with little idea of where exactly to start.

It is therefore important to nurture yourself through these times.

So here are the places you can start!

Healthy Eating

I’m not gonna lie, I find this one incredibly difficult. I’m a food girl and when I’m sad or angry all I want is a family-sized packet of cheesy Doritos, a 200g bar of Galaxy and a glass of red wine.

But truthfully, when I’m counting calories, following a diet plan or consciously eating less doughnuts and more vegetables, I do genuinely feel better, both mentally and physically.

I think it’s to do with taking control of my actions. By having control of that small part of my life it allows me to gain more control of everything else.

I’m also slightly overweight (although aren’t we all after Christmas… and coronavirus), and being lighter gives me so much more energy along with such a great sense of achievement it is difficult not to feel happier.

Although it’s not all about what appears on those scales. It’s more about creating a healthier lifestyle and making smarter food choices. So, next time you’re at Maccies and you order yourself a Big Mac Meal, you probably don’t need the extra Chicken Mayo Burger and Crunchie McFlurry.

I track my calories on MyFitnessPal!



If you’re anything like me the very mention of the word exercise gives you horrendous flashbacks to running the 1500m at school for your rather large PE teacher who struggled to tie her shoelaces let alone jogging around the school field. But it releases endorphins improving your mood and lowering those stress levels. Ultimately it will make you healthier and happier, whatever you can squeeze into your schedule, every little helps.

That’s why you have to find the right form of exercise for you for me I like a variety. I love getting old school exercise DVDs and following along in my living room. I also like yoga and pilates, less cardio more strength building.

I love any form of exercise which creates the illusion you’re playing a game, so RingFit on the Nintendo Switch is great for me. But if you can’t afford a new games console, take a look at the older models in CeX. The Xbox 360 Kinnect has some great options from Harry Potter and Star Wars spin-offs, an adapted version of Fable for the true gamers or some actual exercise games from the likes of Nike and The Biggest Loser. The WiiFit was also bloody brilliant! And both of these are pretty affordable options.

Finally, at the start of covid… you know… back when it was a novelty… and we thought it would be over in a few months… like many others, I started Couch to 5K. And made it all the way through to 8 weeks where you run for 20 minutes without stopping! (Furthest I’ve ever run in my life.) And believe it or not, after only a few weeks of completely resenting running, I actually began to enjoy it. My body expected a run and was ready for it

Mindfulness & Meditation

I put these in the same category as they can be seen as a little wanky… but there are loads of different techniques and styles of mindfulness and meditation and, like exercise, you need to figure out which methods suit you.

I have a friend who told me the story of their mindfulness philosophy:

“I was walking through the park on my way to work and I saw a good looking tree. I thought to myself, ‘Now, that is one lovely tree,’ and went to continue. But then I thought, ‘No, don’t pass this tree by, why is it a lovely tree?’ And I pondered on its branches, the roots, the leaves, the age, the colours… and then I carried on with my day feeling just a little bit lighter.”

The best explanation of mindfulness I have ever heard! Both in its simplicity and its hilarity.

He’s not wrong though. Mindfulness is appreciating the positives in the world around you and meditation is how you switch off or divert the thoughts in your head for some well-deserved quiet time.

Find methods that suit you, I love listening to audiobooks using Audible and to ensure I’m fully engaged when I’m meditating I will repeat the words out loud after they have been said so my brain is focusing both on the task and the content, driving unwanted thoughts from my head.

If you’re looking for some beginners guides I love the Headspace app myself, so whether it’s reading, binge-watching your favourite series, taking a long walk or spending an hour in the bath, you’re bound to adapt mindfulness practise into a way that suits you.

Binge Queer Eye

Yes, this is a very specific direction but there are few things in this world that make me feel better about myself than watching these fabulous queens on Queer Eye with Netflix.

The Queer Eye peeps are so positive about everyone! They are really pro self-care but not in a way that detracts from your life or changes you as a person, just in helping you maintain the person that you are.

It is impossible to not be filled with a new bout of self-love and appreciation after watching even just one episode, so if you haven’t already, give it a go, and if you have, the new seasons just come out!

Read Unf**k Your Brain

When going into battle it is important to be fully equipped with all the possible intel you can acquire on your enemy so that you know exactly how to combat it.

That is exactly why if you’re struggling with any form of mental health problems you should read this book!

Unf**k Your Brain is by Faith G. Harper and uses science to help you learn to get over anxiety, depression, anger, freak-outs and triggers. And it is written in a very matter of fact and down to earth way, making it easy to understand and informative in a way that feels like you’re in a pub chatting to your mates, not just being spoken down to by a so-called expert.

And there you have it, just a few ways to smash the beginning of your year!

If even just one of these little things can have a positive impact on your lifestyle then I would love to know I’ve helped, so drop me a comment or message on social!


Posted Leave a commentPosted in Bad Day Good Story, Creative Industries, Mental Health

‘A Good Day is a Good Day, A Bad Day is a Good Story’ – Glennon Melton.

I’ve had many a bad day in my life.

You know the ones I mean.  Those days where everything starts bad and gets worse.

You wake up to discover your alarm hasn’t gone off.

You groggily stumble into the bathroom to find you have run out of toothpaste and in your haste, smack your head off the door mirror.

You struggle to get dressed realising when you pull up your trousers you’ve put them on the wrong way… again.

You speed walk up the road in beautiful sunshine when all of a sudden, black clouds gather overhead, bringing with it a weathery apocalypse.

You have no coat, or umbrella, or sleeves.

You cross the road and step in a puddle the size of Brazil and deeper than the Pacific and completely ruin your (massively inappropriate for the rain) suede shoes.

You watch your bus pull up at your stop from 100 metres away, although it may as well be 100 miles, and despite deep down knowing that however fast you run you will never make it, you peg it towards your goal.

Your bus pulls away so you try to style it out but then you trip.

You ladder your tights and graze your knee.

You get up thoroughly embarrassed only to realise your bag has also flown to the ground, contents sprawled across the pavement and tampons gracefully rolling down the hill for the whole world to see.

You think to yourself ‘Stupid Gravity’.  You glance down at your watch, thinking how could this day get any worse, to realise the screen has cracked, and it’s not even 8.30 in the morning!

Alright, so maybe this is a bit cheesy music video and you’re probably expecting Daniel Powter to wheel past playing a grand piano but you get the gist.

We’ve all had them.  You work yourself up and then spend the rest of the day brooding about everything that happens however big (i.e. ‘AHHHHHHHHHHHHH a meteor is headed for earth.  FML.  This is the worst thing ever in the history of the world.  Stupid fucking meteor. I never even liked earth anyway way.  You rock-y bastard’) or small (i.e. ‘AHHHHHHHHHHHHH I dropped my pen. FML. This is the worst thing that’s ever happened in the history of the world. Stupid fucking pen. I never even liked you anyway.  You pen-y bastard.’).  Everything simply gets worse and worse, and worse and worse, until your vision is covered in a mist of black.

I think everyone can agree that on these shit days there is little to smile about, right?  WRONG!

Now, with my new life philosophy, I look back on these days in a whole new light!

Don’t worry! And don’t stop reading!

I’m not about to preach to you some mindfulness preaching like how all I eat is Kale now which is feeding my brain so much that I know closely resemble Megamind or that this new yogarobics spin class I discovered releases so many endorphins that it is better than taking ecstasy or even that I found God on the backseat of my car next to a 2-month-old bag of Haribo (which to anyone who knows me could actually be feasibly true, my car is full of crap, loads of places for Jesus to hide). No, no no!

My Mantra is simple:

       ‘A Good Day is a Good Day,

       A Bad Day is a Good Story’

That’s it.  Simple.

They may be happy or sad memories.  They may be filled with laughter or tears.  They may be jam-packed days or a singular moment, but they are all stories waiting to be told.

So, roll up to witness the astonishingly absurd situations and ridiculous scenarios I seem to end up in, from bad dates to worse job interviews, sucky employees and crappy people.

Join me on a whirlwind adventure of my bad days that I have turned into good stories.  And most of all, enjoy.

Illustration by Kirstie Notman – Illustrator & Artist

My Lockdown Corona-Coaster

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Creative Industries, Mental Health

I know I haven’t been around for a couple of months! I can only apologise! Like much of the population I have been slowly losing my mind.

I stopped watching the news in April because I couldn’t bear to learn what preposterous idea Boris and his team of terrible Tories have come up with next. Instead, I have been learning what’s going on in the world through hilarious memes shared across various different social media platforms with friends that I’m not allowed to see, all of whom are in places I’m not allowed to go to.

So, here is my Corona-coaster in action, all the way up and all the way down and round and round in bloody circles, until I have reached what will hopefully be slightly more consistent plateaux.

Weeks 1 to 3 when we were assured by our Prime Minister that we would only be in lockdown for 3 weeks I was filled with optimism. Finally, time to get my shit together. I would start ‘couch to 5k’, a new HIIT plan and a new diet to boot! By the end of lockdown, I would not only look great, but I would feel fabulous!

I would also start a new drive with The Arts Business. This was the time! Yes, I had lost 90% of my contracts due to the fact that I’m predominantly based in the arts and events industry but heck! Everyone would be in the same boat. We could get through it together. This was going to be great; I was finally going to do all the things I never got around to!

How was I to know this theory was so flawed!

I am used to travelling to different places to visit friends and colleagues up and down the country every weekend. I was just starting Am Dram season at The Core in Solihull, having just finished up Annie the Musical (with my dog Molly playing Sandy, she was amazing FYI.) I was ready to spend every other evening for the next 3 months in the wings! I went out for dinner dates, babysat friends’ children, went to rehearsals for future shows.  Even on home office days I went to coffee shops and bars to mix up the monotony of working from the same desk all day.

I would hazard a guess that not once in my life, even in my darkest periods of depression and anxiety, had I ever been more than a week without at least entering someone else’s house, let alone travelling more than a 10-mile radius to go to the supermarket and back.

And so, my initial breakdown began.

I sat in the garden and cried. I know I’m incredibly lucky to have a garden, and I’m not sure I would have lasted as long without it.

This was the longest of my meltdowns so far: I ruined my sleeping pattern; I spent countless days watching hours of easy television; I let the monotony of life take over me. The death counts and number of cases weren’t getting lower that quickly and the only news we had was that lockdown would be extended by at least 3 weeks…

At least 3 weeks? What does that even mean? To me it meant things weren’t getting better, maybe they never would.

However delightful my housemate is and however lucky we are to be living in a world where we can see anyone we want in a matter of seconds via video link, it just wasn’t the same, isn’t the same, as seeing someone in real life!

A friend who was also struggling dropped by to gift us an overspill of baking (sooo lockdown, am I right?) She ended up staying for 6 hours! At a reasonable social distance of course.

And so, our weekly sanity garden gatherings began.

I mean, one thing lockdown has had going for it is the weather. Basically unheard of for Britain, but those first few months were filled with brilliant sunshine 95% of the time.  The world may have been falling apart but at least the sun was out and I hadn’t had to fill up my car with petrol for a month.

Swings and Roundabouts right?

I had reached the (albeit slightly selfish) conclusion to ‘F**k Coronavirus’! If it was my time, I thought, then it was my time.  I’d rather be out living my life than die in between the same four walls watching bad TV with only a tan (and a pretty awesome dachshund) for company.

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t being stupid! My Dad, for example, is high risk, so I wasn’t about to head over to his house and lick all the door handles, but I needed something.

It was around week 8 (day 310) that my mood swings were so intense I was living like a yo-yo.

By week 12 (day 1456) I thought if I do another quiz on zoom imma lose it! And I bloody love a quiz!

Week 16 (day 32, 851) I couldn’t find any motivation to do anything at all! I mean, if I can’t motivate myself to get off the sofa and work the day through how the hell are children meant to motivate themselves to home school.

Finally, week 20 (day 1,287,345) I know I needed to get a grip. Work out the negative, focus on the positive.

I went through therapy a few years ago where I learnt that I thrive in other peoples’ company and that had been completely lost in lockdown. I love group socialising! And even though I’d probably had more contact with my friends over social media than ever, it wasn’t the same as actually seeing someone in the flesh, and not freaking out if your hands accidentally brush over a tea cup.

I decided that mental health needed to take precedent. Not just mine, but my that of my friends, my family and my colleagues.

So, we expanded our bubble, again responsibly.  I know it’s not entirely in line with government guidelines (but who can understand that bag of contradictions anyway?). My friends who had been reaching out, struggling and felt all alone were brought together to get through whatever this life is and whatever it was going to become.

I watched the ‘Dear… Lin Manuel Miranda’ documentary on Apple TV and he said that if you have an idea that won’t leave you alone, that idea that keeps tapping you on the shoulder saying: “Hey, remember me, I’m here, I’m awesome,” you’re bound to do it eventually. And chances are that’s the one that will work.

So, The Arts Business will be my Hamilton

I started to count the little things as wins. I find it very easy to listen to the negative voices in my head, the ones that tell me I’m not doing enough, I’m not good enough, I’m not healthy enough, I’ll never be enough.

Which isn’t true…

I’m pretty awesome actually.

I have started to chip away at my to do list, things that I had fully intended to do at the start of lockdown.

I bought a new laptop and phone as a kind of business loan to myself. No more blaming my laptop (which FYI was not fit for purpose).

I stopped playing games completely obsessively (major deal for me).

I give myself credit for doing short bursts of work with different activities in between.

I decided to focus on me and hopefully the rest will follow.

Anyone else struggling with lockdown?! Let me know.


You’re not alone.

Last night Some Am-Dram Saved My Life

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Creative Industries, Mental Health, Theatre

I know that this blog is primarily about how to apply business skills to your Arts Business, but I will from time to time bring mental health to the forefront of discussion because I think it should be openly discussed and it’s an important conversation.

The Arts Industry is rife with people who struggle with their mental health and (although I will admit that I have no scientific research behind this) I would argue that there are more individuals battling with invisible illnesses like anxiety and depression in this industry than in any other.

Sometimes working in the arts feels like a constant uphill climb.  We are encouraged to go out there and live our dreams, but we are never told how hard it is going to be.  The hours are long and the pay is often low.  Environments can be stressful, and experiences can bend you to complete breaking point.


Now please don’t get me wrong:


I love the arts!


And however much there are times I want to pack it all in and runaway forever Lady Theatre keeps dragging me back!  There is nothing like the creative industry.  The rush, the excitement and the passion!


A few years ago (without going into too much detail) both my personal and professional life began to crumble and I started to fall apart.  I went on long term sick leave with the diagnosis of depression and anxiety and vowed never to work in the arts industry again.

After a year of struggling I couldn’t even bring myself to open my laptop and the idea of searching for a new career made me feel physically sick but I knew I needed to do something, if only to appease my friends and family to show them that there was light at the end of the tunnel.

A neighbour had told me about a charity panto that would be taking place in February called: ‘Goldilocks and the Three Martians’.  

“They always need volunteers to help with props and set” I was told.  She passed on my details and found out the rehearsal times for me.

So one Friday, when I was having a good day, I decided to push myself to attend a rehearsal.  I was instantly introduced to the Head of Props who immediately gave me a copy of the script, talked me through all the things which needed making and invited me for a meal to meet the rest of the crew.

I went, I chatted. I was instantly enveloped into a family of different personalities who had one key thing in common: they LOVE theatre.

Now, a year later, I am the official stage manager of this year’s panto: ‘Sinbad goes Down Under’ and I have been involved in crewing, building and propping the entire amateur dramatics programme in the Solihull Area. 

More importantly, I have learnt how to manage my depression and I have remembered why I fell in love with the arts industry.

I used to be quite the cynic about amateur dramatics.  Basically, I was a bit of a snob.  I felt like there was a strong divide between “professional theatre” and “amateur theatre”.  To a point it is instilled in you at arts school that you are somehow better than that, above it.

But there is something beautiful about amateur dramatics though.  It is pure and innocent.  There is none of the economic politics.  Everyone is there because they love what there doing, whether that is onstage or off.  They have become an immediate community of likeminded friends. 


And they have reignited my desire for this industry and helped me find my way in this beautiful life. 


If ever you’re feeling lost in what is often an overwhelming world, I implore you to seek out the hobbyists in your industry!  They may not be the most professional, the most innovative or have the highest production values but none of that matters!  They are the most positive and passionate groups and they just might relight your fire.