• Charli

Wellness Matters 12.03.2021 Origins

Updated: Apr 12, 2021

On Monday 8th March we celebrated International Women's Day. I was curious about the origins of this movement and so I researched why and when the need was identified for women to be universally celebrated. I was not disappointed with my research and so, garnered with useful and inspiring information relating to the women’s vote, I was empowered to show up wholeheartedly on Monday. Much of my support was directed towards my social media tribe, who, in turn, reflected on the long, often tortuous journey women have endured in order to claim an equitable standing in society and share a unique perspective on the world.

You can find a timeline of IWD here:

More information about the IWD movement can be found here and to which I have subscribed in order to be fully cognisant and proactive for IWD 2022


When establishing Catching Light Wellness, the intention was always to give something of my experience - personal and professional - back to society, and I have planned my time and sliding cost scale accordingly. I believe everybody should have access to support if required.

The offer for young people desperately navigating the current crisis has been well received and I have thoroughly enjoyed the interview sessions. We begin with an interactive group session during which participants respond in whichever way they are most comfortable: video on or video off and frequent use of the chat box. Participants are asked to complete a feedback form and from this indicate if they would like 1-1 interview practice. The uptake for these 1-1 sessions has been hugely rewarding as I allow for lots of thinking time, while smiling, listening with intent, gently encouraging and showing up authentically.

Respondent feedback gathered to date substantiates these claims:

  • 100% of pupils enjoyed the sessions

  • 100% of pupils feel better prepared for interviews as a direct result of attending sessions

  • The sessions were described as “Informative.” “Interactive.” “Useful.” “Friendly.” “Helpful.”

  • “The sessions related to the real world.”

  • “Charli and Alba were friendly and helpful.” (I’m now flying solo due to school work pressures for Alba)

I hope that as the sessions become more popular I will be able to apply for social enterprise funding until or unless my private coaching clientele expands to the extent that I can reinvest in support for young people.

I had a look at the criteria and general statistics for social enterprise initiatives in Scotland and was delighted to discover that 65% were established by women. I can only surmise that women have seen a need, ostensibly in their local communities, for actionable change because they have listened and empathised recognising that if a job needs doing then they might as well do it themselves. I do not want to disregard the significant minority of social enterprises run by men but I do want to share that, to me, 65% represents women at the forefront of endeavour within their communities.

So a bit more about the origins of my wellbeing journey and why I know I am driven to coach others to achieve a sense of wellbeing.

After giving birth to my second daughter I was conscious that I was unfit and slightly overweight. I joined a Step class and the instructor would encourage us to shout out E -N -E -R -G -Y and E -F -F -O -R -T which sometimes required spitting these words through gritted teeth. However, 25 years later I still use that mantra to spur myself and others on.

When I returned to Scotland in 1997 I was in need of a new exercise class and fate led me to Natalie Garry and Pilates. I can say - hand on heart - that Pilates has saved my physical and mental health. I was born with lordosis of the spine and spina bifida occulta and having suffered a herniated disc, arthritis in knees and neck, I am well aware of the need for positive back health. Pilates has enabled me to keep my spine flexible for over 20 years, and because my spine is in good health, so am I. After all, our spinal columns carry all the essential information from the brain to the body. Pilates strengthens my core so that my spine can go about its business pain free.

I am so proud that Natalie has since gone on to launch her hugely successful danceSing company which is flourishing.

I have had to make several financial cutbacks since embarking on my coaching business, Catching Light Wellness, and subscriptions to fitness classes and entertainment have sadly had to go, so I was delighted to be recommended Move With Nicole and an opportunity to workout at home because I can pick and choose the sessions to suit my need.

Yes I am disciplined but the motivation comes from a desire to want to be fit and healthy as I get older. I don’t ever want to feel that I didn't make the best decisions to plan for a longer healthier life.

Three years ago as daughter No1 was preparing for her magical wedding I set myself an achievable weight target so that I could always look back on the day and know that I had presented the best of myself. I have a mostly vegetarian diet, although I’d struggle without eggs, fish and seafood. I have maintained my weight for over 2 years now since identifying what my weight gaining triggers are, and as soon as the scales start to slide up (I am no angel) I cut back immediately.

The reason I am mentioning all this now is that as I get older, I am proud to have the energy and strength to enjoy life.

On Thursday these measures were put to the test while sea swimming. The tide was coming in which we acknowledge is usually safest but the wind had suddenly picked up and was blowing in a strong south westerly direction. We had stopped for a moment to skull and realised with horror that we were drifting towards the rocks. My swimming partner was visibly shaken, but because of my previous training as a swimming coach and also through leadership experience, I was able to make an instant plan to get us back to safety. We were out of our depth and had at least a 7 minute swim back to shore. Focusing on keeping calm, using my life rescue training and more recently, an introduction to deep breathing as preparation for cold swimming, I advised my swim mate to hold on to my tow float, to keep kicking her legs and to keep breathing. I repeated out loud: kick and breathe. I maintained a consistent and calm presence by digging deep into my physical strength and mental wellness repeating this mantra: I am strong, I have energy and with effort I can do this. Pilates makes me strong. I can do this.

We were making steady progress when my swim partner yelled with delight that she could touch the bottom. We both whooped with gratitude and immediately acknowledged that this was indeed a salutary lesson: to stay within depth when the wind is high; always to use tow floats and never to go alone.

A few hours later I could feel my body ache where adrenalin had coursed through my veins and suddenly, shattered, allowed myself a short afternoon nap. Upon waking I reflected that I am grateful for all the lessons I have learned over the years, and will continue to learn and grow.

Rest well and learn to trust yourself.

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