How Work it Out helped me
I'd been having a really bad time leading up to Christmas. As a stay at home mum, I was beginning to question my life choices, and what other options I had instead of being a full time mum. My choices are limited anyway, as my eldest is in school and my youngest isn't old enough for free nursery hours. I'd trawled the internet ceaselessly trying to find some part time work that I could fit in with being a mum, but found nothing.
Later that day, exhausted and fed up of everything, I bawled my eyes out to my best friend. And that's when she told me about the Work It Out service. She had briefly mentioned it before, telling me about her life coach and the phone calls they had where they discussed certain aspects of her life that she felt were difficult too. She explained that it was a free service, and that maybe I should look into it for some guidance and counselling. In their words;
"Work It Out - Coaching is a free service for young women aged 16-30 that can help you feel more confident and ready for work. You get your own professional coach who works with you one on one. They can speak to you at times that are flexible, including evenings and weekends."
It took me less than ten minutes to fill out the online form. Here's a shortened version of what I said;
“I'm a stay at home mum of two who is unemployed. I'm not in a position to work, because I will lose more money than I could earn. This is because my youngest child isn't old enough for free hours at nursery, and equally can't afford to put him in for days whilst I work. I am able to work though, and I spend a lot of my time writing fiction and writing my own blog. My dream is to be a published author, but at the moment I'm just wanting to work in a proper job. Again, I feel trapped and unable to do this due to my living circumstances. I feel very miserable and at a loss with what to do with my life. I don't have many friends, and am feeling more isolated. I hope you can help!”
Within a day they responded to my email, telling me they were going to pass my details on to a Life Coach, who would then contact me within the next week. I was surprised and happy that they replied to my email so quickly, especially as I was feeling so low. I only had to wait one more day for a text from my life coach Yasmin.
She said that the coaching sessions would take place over the phone, and that it was basically up to me when to have them as they were very flexible, which really helped because on a couple of occasions, I had to contact her and re-arrange the time due to things that came up unexpectedly.
During the first phone call, Yasmin asked me what was going on in my life, why I felt I needed the service and what I thought they could help me with etc. I explained my situation, how there was basically no jobs for me in the town where I live, and even if I'd manage to find one, I wouldn't be able to get anyone to babysit for me whilst I did work. She helped me to stop focusing on that part so much, and we veered off to try and go back to basics, and discuss other things about myself that I maybe should work on first before trying to delve into employment.
After digging deep into my subconscious through many questions, I came away from the phone call with a completely different perspective on things. Instead of feeling like someone else could give me all the answers I needed in life, Yasmin instilled the confidence in me that I could find the answers myself.
After reading about other people's experiences with Work it Out, I can see that a lot of people have managed to get back into employment with them. And that's fantastic, but after a couple of sessions, I realised that I wasn't mentally prepared to start looking for work so intensively. So instead, our conversations consisted of ways in which I find happiness and tasks that can keep me busy at home. These range from writing my blog, to making YouTube content, to painting, or going for a walk or doing something fun with the kids to take my mind off whatever was stressing me out.
We both realised that I really thrive off writing lists for myself, sort of like 'things to do today' lists. So we agreed the best option for me was to sit down whenever I had a quiet hour to myself and write a list of things I want to achieve. And then break that list down into another list of ways in which I can achieve these goals. And so on. The best feeling was being able to tick everything off my list at the end of each day. For me personally, these were mini achievements that built up to huge ones by the end of the week.
By the third and fourth sessions, we realised just how much we'd actually covered and how already I was feeling so much better about myself. There was just a wisdom about her that made me feel confident in everything I said and believe in as a person. The sessions became a sort of sacred time for me to come away from my manic life, and just reflect on my own needs and mental health, which now I realise is just what I needed.
During our penultimate session, we agreed that there wasn't really much more for us to discuss. But I didn't want to use my last session just yet. So we agreed to leave it a while before wrapping it all up, and she left it open to me to contact her when I was ready.
It'd been over 2 months since our last talk when we arranged to have our last session this week. I felt ready to have this final session, and was able to have a general catch up and gain some last minute guidance that I feel I've really needed recently.
During our conversation, it didn't take long to get to the very core of what it is that's bothering me. And now I can face it head on, challenge it and move on and be happy. This is why I feel like Work it Out's way of life coaching/counselling is so much better than any other that I've had. Instead of telling you what to do with your life, the questions you ask are reflected back onto you, so you sort of end up finding solutions to your own problems. I love looking at life like that with a different mindset.
And although I was ready for this last session, I can't say I'm not going to miss our conversations. I'm so glad I contacted them, because after just a total time of 5 hours over the space of 6 months, I've already learned so much about myself. My strengths, weaknesses and everything in between. And it's also helped me to focus on things that bring out my confidence.
I couldn't recommend this service enough to other young women out there who are maybe feeling hopeless and burnt out. They can also help you with advice on work and life, help with applications and more. Whatever your problem is, I 100% guarantee they can help you!
I'm now an ambassador for Work it Out, and am able to spread awareness about this fantastic women's charity voluntarily.
This blog was originally posted on Fern's blog which you can find here.
Find out more about Work It Out Coaching, our free service for women aged 16-30, by clicking here