Live Your Best Life: Jayne Hardy

Inspiring interview with The Blurt Foundation founder Jayne Hardy

In this Live Your Best Life series we don’t talk about having a perfect life because that’s an impossibility. No-one has all the answers or is free from pain, worry or doubts. What we focus on here is living the life you want, contributing to the world in a way that feels right for you and focusing on being the best version of yourself each day, whatever that looks like.

I’m thrilled to bring you the next in this interview series, this time I’ve been talking with the inspirational Jayne Hardy, founder of the fantastic Blurt Foundation. Last year I wrote for one of Blurt’s Buddy Boxes and so it’s a total joy for Jayne to share with us here what living your best life means to her…

Thank you for being here, Jayne, can you share a little about yourself, what your life is like and the path you took to get to where you are today please?
I am married to Dom, who I met in sixth form, and we have a daughter called Peggy and a dog called Winnie. I’m the CEO and Founder of the Blurt Foundation which is dedicated to helping those affected by depression. My work motivation and passion comes from my own personal experiences of depression and suicidal thoughts; I want to help lessen the suffering of others if I can. Most recently, I wrote a book called The Self-Care Projectwhich is a practical journal that walks us through what self-care is, why it’s so important, why it’s such a struggle and helps us to integrate it into our every day life.

The path I took to get to where I am today was a meandering one with chunks of time where I felt lost and as though I wasn’t in control. An example of this was not knowing what I wanted to do when I left school and training as an accountant because my tutor suggested I might be good at it, because I was good at maths. It took me a long time to realise that there was a wealth of options available to me, far outweighing the options presented to us at our school; join the forces or go to university. And it took even longer to muster up the courage to be true to myself and do things the way they suit me, rather than conform to what I feel are expectations, and those ‘shoulds’ and ‘coulds’.

I’m so excited for your book to pop through my letterbox! Tell us, what inspirational quotes or mantras hold particular meaning for you?
One mantra which always resonates is ‘you are enough’ because I’ve spent so long feeling as though I’m not enough nor doing enough to help people, and all that has done is feed into the negative self-chatter and become a stick with which to beat myself. I’m coming to realise that I am enough, because we all are, it’s just a fact of this obstacle-laden life we lead and for me, self-care is the ‘actions speak louder than words’ act of self-kindness which stops the doubts I have, taking root.

I think that’s something so many of us struggle with. How do you recognise when life’s getting on top of you?
As an introvert, it’s typically that feeling of being ‘peopled out’ and when the world feels as though it’s louder than normal. I’m also used to juggling quite a few balls with work, as we have lots of projects on the go, and when I start to feel overwhelmed, I know that it’s time to step back and seek solace. Despite it feeling counter-intuitive, it always helps me to gain perspective and to feel refuelled.

What do you then do to get back to how you want to feel?
I have three non-negotiable daily self-care practices which keep me ticking along: no caffeine, nine hours of sleep and an hour to read before bed. Aside from that, I feel most relaxed when I’m by the sea, or walking through the woods, with my family. If I’ve continually ignored the ‘stop’ signs, then solace is the only thing which restores me when I’m running on absolute empty and that’s when I lose myself in a book. I’ve also found that de-cluttering helps me when my mind feels loud, it’s as if the gentle pottering of that is enough to distract me from the thoughts and getting things into order around me brings with it its own sort of calm.

I’m with you on the sleep and reading, that’s vital for me too. Will you share with us what your plans, hopes and dreams for the future are?
As someone who has ideas growing on top of my ideas, it’s hard to sometimes sort through them to see which ones are good ideas, which ones are right for me and my family, and which ones can be put on the rubbish idea heap. It’s a brutal process but one I need to partake in regularly. More and more, I’m drawn to writing; it was something I’d always enjoyed until my late teens and then I forgot all about it when depression took hold. Writing my first book this year has reminded me of just how much pleasure writing brings me so I’d like to do more of that. I’d also like to see some of Blurt’s plans – working with schools and GPs – come into fruition and for me, and my family, to remain well and happy.

So finally, Jayne, tell us, what does living your best life mean to you?
Variety, helping others, kindness – outward and inward, uncontrollable giggling, loving and being loved, a roaring fire and being wrapped in blankets! It also means being mindful of my decisions and actions, being aware of when I slip into my wonky boundary mode and honouring my right to say ‘no’ to the things which don’t light me up.

Jayne Hardy is the founder and CEO of The Blurt Foundation – a social enterprise dedicated to helping those affected by depression. Jayne won the TalkTalk Digital Hero Award in 2011, and in 2014 was included in Marketing Magazine’s list of Top Ten Digital Mavericks. Jayne has been mentioned as one of the 19 inspirational women leading the way in mental health by Rethink as part of their International Women’s Day celebration. Jayne’s book, The Self-Care Project, is published by Orion Publishing Co. on 14 December. You can connect with Jayne on Instagram and Twitter. And you can find out more about The Blurt Foundation on their website and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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