27 Jul Michelle Reeves @thejoychaser says ‘Ive had two starts in my life’
Michelle Reeves is an award-winning blogger, MIND charity ambassador for West Essex,
entrepreneur and Mum of two under eight. She was the winner of the 2016 Inspire award at this
year’s Brit Mums Brilliance in Blogging Awards and is passionate about helping busy mamas and
bloggers to become their most positive and productive selves.
Q.As a mother of two, how do you juggle general life at home with blogging?
MR: As any working, busy mama will tell you, it’s a challenge! But I enjoy my work and family life and
make time for both. I’m naturally an organised person, which definitely helps, but essentially it’s
about having a clear delineation between my work-time and family-time, staying focused and
having clear priorities for the different parts of my day. If I have to get up at 5.30 to work before my
kids are up and about, I will.
Q. Do you view blogging as a hobby or it can be a profession?
MR: I absolutely believe that blogging can be whatever you want it to be. When I started blogging it was
a creative and therapeutic outlet for me as part of my recovery from Post Natal Depression, but
over time I realised that I could help others by sharing the lessons I’ve learned moving away from
the habit of negativity at my blog; TheJoyChaser.com and that has naturally grown into my second
Q. You suffered from depression, tell us more about this?
MR: I often say that I’ve had two starts in my life. The first is the obvious one; I was born, I grew up…
but then I had another start that led me to where I am today.
In 2009 I hit rock bottom. After a successful career in the City, I was struggling to get through each
day. I was an expat in China, with a premature baby daughter who struggled to feed or sleep, and I
didn’t really care what happened to me. On the day I was diagnosed with Post Natal Depression
my new start began. And step by step, day by day, I found myself again.
I started blogging around this time and having a creative outlet was definitely an essential part of
my therapy. But while I became a positive person on the outside – full of energy and busyness –
on the inside my glass was still almost permanently half empty.
I knew I was a strong, confident, capable woman but two traits – negativity and perfectionism –
clouded my everyday. They skewed my priorities, affected my most important relationships,
stopped me reaching my potential and distracted me from the moments of joy in my life.
I strongly believe that negativity can become a habit – it was for me. Through therapy, time and
support, I recovered from postnatal depression but even so negativity was my first reaction to a
situation, with negative words often tumbling out of my mouth before my brain had time to engage
and stop them. That negativity had just built up over time and become my default, my habit.
So if I wanted POSITIVITY and JOY to be part of my every day, it followed that THEY needed to
become habits too. To break the habit of negativity I realised I needed to create a NEW NORMAL –
a new routine that would intentionally create the space in my day to help me practice these positive
habits – my 8 happiness habits – every single day.
And I feel passionately that everyone should try to do the same. As busy mamas, wives, sisters,
daughters, colleagues so much of our daily routines revolve around everyone BUT ourselves. I
was in that exact, same place. Wanting to take a time-out (without feeling guilty about it) to
discover my more positive, happier and successful self.
So I created a ‘time out’. A routine that gives me time back for ME. That boosts my positivity and
self-esteem every day. That helps me reach what I call my ‘I’m-a-mama-but-still-me’ goals. That
sets me on the right course, with purpose, every morning and puts me to bed with gratitude.
And it worked. People started noticing the new, more positive me and I knew that I had to share it
with others so that they could benefit from it too. So I decided to take my blogging a step further
and created the Happiness Habits Routine TM eCourse to help busy mamas like me to create their
own simple daily routine using the 8 happiness habits.
It’s been an amazing journey.
Q. You also support Mind, how did this come about and what do you make of the work Mind
MR: Yes, I’m so proud to be an ambassador for the MIND mental health charity in West Essex. I’ve
written openly about my post-natal depression and I’m passionate about helping MIND to reduce
the stigma associated with mental health issues by helping them to raise awareness both through
my social media presence and sharing my story. We don’t talk enough about these issues – at
least 1 in 10 women suffer from Post Natal Depression for example, and 2.7 million men in
England currently have a mental health problem like depression, anxiety or stress. MIND in West
Essex has so many resources available from private counselling to free self-help resources on
their website at http://www.mindinwestessex.org.uk.
Q. Tell us more about the training and learning opportunities you are offering?
MR: At the moment I’m working with an amazing group of women in the Summer programme of
Happiness Habits Routine TM eCourse where they’re creating personal routines that will boost
their positivity and help them reach their I’m-a-mama-but-still-me goals every single day. The
Autumn course waitlist is open now at happinesshabitsroutine.com.
I’m also running a FREE 5-day email challenge for busy mamas called “How to Overcome Feeling
Overwhelmed” because that horrible feeling of being completely swamped and not knowing where
to start is something I’ve definitely suffered from in the past! It’s completely free to join and all the
details are at thejoychaser.com/overwhelmednomore
Finally, I’m working with local small businesses to help them harness the power of live
broadcasting on Facebook and Periscope. I’ve used Facebook Live to x10 my reach on Facebook
and it’s an amazing way to promote your message or business and grow your reach. Anyone who’s
interested can email me at email@example.com to find out more.
Q. What can we expect to see from you in the future?
MR: Winning the Inspire Award at this year’s Brilliance in Blogging Awards, organised by Brit Mums, has
given me an amazing platform to build on. I have some exciting plans for new eCourses to launch
later this year and in 2017 and in the meantime I’ll be kicking off the Autumn programme of the
Happiness Habits Routine TM eCourse and helping more busy mamas like me to create a
positivity-boosting space in the day that’s just for them.