Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and Seasons in General

Today we are talking about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and the seasons in general that we face in life and business. If you are prone to SAD or generally feeling blue this time of year or know someone who does suffer please chat to us in the comments below.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. SAD is sometimes known as "winter depression" because the symptoms are more apparent and tend to be more severe during the winter. The symptoms often begin in the autumn as the days start getting shorter.

About 3% of the population are estimated to suffer from seasonal affective disorder, a debilitating illness which prevents those affected from functioning normally without appropriate treatment. About 20% of people in the UK experience mildly debilitating symptoms of Sad which is commonly called winter blues. All degrees of SAD can affect mood, sleep and appetite as well as lack of energy, concentration problems, anxiety, overeating, loss of libido, social and relationship problems and sudden mood changes or periods of hypomania (over-activity) in spring.

Nature has seasons and we accept them, we don't fight against them, probably because there is nothing we can do about it, it is going to happen whether we like it or not. So why do we fight against the seasons in other areas of our life? EVERYTHING is seasonal.

SAD in Business

Decision Making
If you or someone in your company's leadership team suffers with SAD it will massively impact on their decision making. It is essential to have a few different perspectives on major decisions during the winter months, I would even go as far as to sad that major decisions shouldn't be made in the depths of winter or the height of summer!

Self Sabotaging
Feeling bad in general can lead to self-sabotaging, especially in successful businesswomen. Success comes with a price and carries weight which at times can be too much to bear. Without realising it, you could be self-sabotaging your success to lighten your load.

Negative thoughts bread more negative thoughts which turn into negative words and could create a negative culture in your company. All in all, it can send you and your team into a downward spiral fast! If you understand that you suffer with SAD or notice someone on your team suffering nip negativity in the bud and focus on positive things. It's not that you ignore the negative things but you deal with them one on one with the person suffering or if the whole team is a bit down tell them you will come back to that at a later date and then plan a team social or something positive to boost morale.


Natural Light
The Royal College of Psychiatrists strongly recommends seeking as much exposure to natural light as possible. Go for a walk, have a cup of tea outside or do things that you enjoy or get a light box if you really don't want to go out into the cold and sit in front of it for 30 - 60 minutes a day.

Boosting your endorphin levels and getting your blood pumping with exercise is good for you any time of year but it will help you with SAD too. It's probably the last thing you feel like doing but if you can get yourself moving regularly you will feel a bit better.

Stay Warm
Many people who suffer with SAD also tend to dislike the cold. Keeping warm both indoors and outdoors can help too.

Slow Down
Take the pressure off of yourself and half your diary commitments. Understand that you are no good to anyone if you have no energy anyway.

Have Fun
Dot things that you enjoy into your days and weeks so that the days don't drag on and on.

Why do we always push ourselves to function at 100mph constantly. Rest is a good and healthy thing, if you need to rest then rest. It might just mean sitting and having a quiet cup of tea during the day or for some it could mean a nap or going to be early.

All the above is what we can do in the natural but God is above nature and can intervene in the most extraordinary way. Take your burdens to Him because He really does care for you.

If you really can't manage and find that you are losing weight or sleep and if you are feeling suicidal you must get in touch with a doctor.

Watch the full video of my talk on this subject below.


Being a Christian in Business

Previously I shared a glimpse into how my passion for business, and being a Christian in business started. Today, I would like to share a talk that I did recently to a group of Christian business men and women at Transform Work UK event.
Being a Christian at work or while running a business doesn't change that fact that you still have to do the work or run the business! Everything isn't instantly easy because you are a Christian. It's not always easy finding the delicate balance between being a Christian and building a business or career. We can quickly lose focus on one or the other and keeping your eyes on Jesus no matter what you are doing in your everyday ordinary life is essential. Here is a quick summary of my talk but watch the video for more.

It's For Him
It's all about Jesus

No matter what we do it's important to remember who we do it for. Having that perspective means that every moment in every situation is kept in perspective. If we aim to do our work for Him then we will do it very differently to how we would do it for ourselves only. Learning what it means to do it for Him and how to do that practically is a journey that you and the Holy Spirit will go on - He will teach and guide you every step of the way if you allow Him to.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters - Colossians 3:23

It's For You
Only Jesus satisfies

 The Apostle Paul said that he had learned to be satisfied with little and with much and we too can learn that because our work, our money or our possessions can't satisfy us in the long run. They may satisfy for a moment but the feeling quickly wears off and we need the next pursuit. It is the gift of God for us to enjoy our life and be satisfied with it but only when we stop striving and what being satisfied means.

That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. - Ecclesiastes 3:13

It's With You
You still need to do your part

As I said previously, being a Christian in business doesn't make easy and doesn't guarantee your business success either. You have to do your part by being good at what you do, learning what you need to learn, walking in God's ways, becoming who he wants you to become and good old-fashioned hard work. A part of your journey will even include failures because that's how we learn too. Embrace it all and do your part whilst staying close to God and allowing Him to be God of it all.

Watch the full talk below.

I hope my story encourages you in some way, what challenges to do face in your place of work? In my next post, I will share some practical tips on how to be salt and light whilst still building a career or a business.


P.S. Don't miss a post, subscribe by email


Anointed for Business

Photo by Roberta Sorge on Unsplash
It was a cool autumn morning in October 2012 and the stench of last nights party wafted up into my nose. People started arriving for church and the local community centre/pub quickly became the house of God. I loved our little church and my husband and I were honoured to be called the pastors of this amazing little flock.

It was on this morning with this very group of people that would share a word that God put on my heart. Little did I know that sharing the word was not only for them but at the same time it birthed something in me.

The message was entitled Anointed for Business and it was coming from my place of frustration as a pastor not from being a businesswoman, as I didn't have a business at that time or ever think I would. I longed to see the church bursting at the seams, to see it relevant outside of the four walls of the community center that we were meeting in. I desperately wanted to see the people so passionate about Jesus that they couldn't contain it during the weeks as they went to work or school and got on with everyday ordinary life. I firmly believe then and still do today that church is not a Sunday meeting but it's a living, active organism that impacts every area of life on every day of the week.

And so I shared my message that Sunday, Anointed for Business and part two the following Sunday Anointed for Business II. At the end of the talk, I invited people to come up to the front to be anointed for business. It was a very special and powerful time of empowering our church to go into their workplaces and be salt and light, to see that every day and every place was, in fact, their mission field. Little did I know that as I anointed others for business, that a seed was planted inside of me too, one that would grow into a business.

It wasn't long afterward that I started to wrestle with God about starting a business club. My first business had failed and I was content with being a full-time pastor with my husband, I didn't want or need to start a business. Running a business was the furthest thing from my mind yet the niggling thought persisted - start a business club!  

So I set a date for a November event, then canceled it, then set a date for a December event, then canceled it. Finally, I set a date for a 16 January 2013 event and launched the very first Women's Business Club (then called King's Daughters Business).

It is five years later now and boy oh boy have a learned a lot! Setting up and running a business has been a rollercoaster ride, it has had incredible ups and some really horrible downs but worst of all it never stops, the rollercoaster just goes on and on and on!

At first, all my energy went into building the business and establishing my reputation as a businesswoman. My passion for evangelism in my business slowly faded as I was very quickly consumed by all that my business demanded from me. A few years in I hated the business and just wanted to quit - it has become a monster that I couldn't tame. Then sometime after that, I remember how it all began and why I started it in the first place.

My deepest and truest passion is to help people realise their potential. With all my heart I believe that God put something special inside of each and every one of us and we can either find it and unleash it or go through life struggling because we either don't know it's there or suppress it for whatever reason. In my role as a pastor I loved to support people and help them unleash their potential and as a businesswoman, it was no different.

I have come full circle but with a few scars and much more wisdom and understanding. My passion now is to do both, to run a successful national business and to be anointed to reach out into the confused, hurting, lost and broken world with a message of hope.

In my next post, I will share a little bit more about my journey. In the meantime please share your story with me, I would love to hear from you - leave a comment below.


P.S. Don't miss a post, subscribe by email


Who Am I?

It's quite ironic that this is my post title today, "Who Am I?" as I started this blog nine years ago with the title Knowing Who You Are because of my passion to help women find their identity. I write to you today from a completely different place. It's not one of not knowing who I am but trying to figure out what to do with who I am and the complexities that come with being a human being. I am not just one 'thing' but I am a combination of so many things. God made us that way for good but it can do quickly turn into a bad thing for so many of us. Have you heard the saying, "If the devil can’t get you to sin, he’ll keep you busy"? It's true, we get too busy and distracted from God's purposes for our life. I am guilty but want to get out of this trap!

So my current dilemma is how to be a successful businesswoman and a great wife and mother? I love playing house, cleaning, cooking, gardening, sewing and all those lovely activities. I also love being the businesswoman that I am which means I work full time. I also love serving God and want to get to know my neighbours, get involved in the local church and community doing my part to make the world a better place. I could go on and to be honest I don't think what I am saying is very different from what you would say. Some women have a clear identity - they don't like to play house or they don't like business - they lean strongly to being a housewife or strongly towards being a businesswoman but what if you are very much both - equally divided? What if you want to do all the housey stuff and all the business stuff? There are only 24 hours in each day and I want to spend 24 hours each day on both plus other stuff, for example, I miss being involved in politics so much and would love time for personal hobbies too!

If you have followed my When Church Hurts posts you will also know that I have not been involved in a church for a while too and fear taking that step back into church life again this year as it equals more busyness. You will say to me that it doesn't have to but honestly going to church isn't God's plan for us but being a part of the church is. Perhaps I will write about that next as I have observed so much from both sides.

I can't do anything half measure! If I give myself to something I give my all. So who am I or am I all of these things but have to figure out how to make it work?

So this morning instead of jumping into work I am doing something for me first, I am writing this post. It is a small step but it is one that I hope will help me figure out this identity crisis, this schizophrenia! I want the world to slow down, to stop spinning so fast so I can find my balance. But alas it won't so how do I find balance and peace amidst all that life demands of me?  I have more questions than answers. I do know the theory and you are probably going to pounce at me with time management tips, or sound scriptural advice of putting God first and the rest will fall into place or other valuable and true advice. The chances are I have heard it, tried it and believe it to be true. But still, I find myself in this place. This doesn't mean that I cannot learn from you - definitely share your best advice, I certainly don't know it all.

Yesterday I met with my business mentor and he clearly said I am doing to much in my business. If he knew the rest of my life he would fall off his chair and say I am definitely doing too much. I have always done too much, it's just how I roll. I don't want to be like this but equally I love being like this. I don't have a problem saying no, that is not the problem. I actually like everything I do and want to do more, that's the problem.

So join me this year as I explore this question in a very real way - no more theory of what works but a very deep and real look at who I am really and what that means I should do with my life.  Tell me what you struggle with and if you have anything that has worked for you please share it too. I would love to know that I am not alone on this journey.


P.S. Don't miss a post, subscribe by email.


A New Day

It is November, a year since my last post on this blog. The sun is shining and the birds chirping outside my bedroom window on this crisp autumn Monday morning. I'm chatting to God and remembering yesterday's church service with warmth and realise that I am looking forward to going to church again next Sunday. It occurs to me that I haven't felt this way in many years. I feel excited about going to church for the first time since we had our own church, D7 Church. I never dreamed the grief process would take so long. I never imagined that it could hurt so much and that my church life would become so complicated!

It's a new day today. I feel a little flicker of something I used to feel. There is hope. But I'm taking it slowly and just enjoying going to church each Sunday. I still fear someone speaking to me and may seem very unfriendly when someone does. The thought of being asked to serve on a team still terrifies me. There is a long way to go in this healing process I can see. But just being in the House of God each week is healing. I love the time of worship and can't get enough of it. Hearing the word preached is another layer of healing and each week I see how important our weekly church gatherings are.

The church isn't the Sunday meeting, it is the people and together we are the church 24/7 but there is still something powerful that happens when we gather together each week.

I never thought I would ever get to feel this way about church again, but I can honestly say that I am looking forward to going to church again this coming Sunday.


What happened to me?

I remember a time when I was heavily pregnant with Daniel who is now 10 year old! During that season our church was about an hour's drive away and we were very involved. Eric didn't have his driver's licence at the time and he played in the church band, so every Thursday I would drive him to church, sit through band practice and then drive him home. To make this journey work I would prepare Eric's dinner and give it to him to eat in the car as I picked him up from work on the way to church. On Sundays we would get to church very early to help set up and then rest in the car in-between the morning and evening services so that we could attend both. It was too far to drive home and come back again so we decided to stay in town and wait. Thursday's was our home group night which we attended each week and occasionally we would have to head over to church for a team meeting. This was our life. I may have mentioned this season previously but wanted to refresh your memory to show the contrast from when I was that in-love with church that I would give 110% to whatever we needed to do, to how I feel now.

Now I feel like I am holding back. I fear being asked to help with anything. Sunday's approach each week with dread because I still feel numb inside. A part of me want to run again. I want to get stuck into church life and help build it in whatever department I am needed. Another part of me wants to run in the opposite direction forever to get as far away from church as possible. What happened to me? How did I go from being so passionate and sold out for the cause to where I am now? Will I ever have that kind of passion again? Will I always feel so horrible inside and so lost?

Since Eric has made a career out of church and we no longer serve together I feel weird. We have divorced our church life. We no longer dream together about what could be or pray together over what we are building. Our conversations are no longer passionate for the cause but all about him and his career. Church has stopped being something that I love and more something that I have to endure so my husband can do what he wants to do. Will this division ever end? Will we ever build together again? Will our dreams ever be one as the once were? Or is this it, do I walk on my own path and simply survive the journey?

All I have right now is questions, confusion, hurt and aloneness.  Not loneliness, I have friends. Aloneness because I don't think anyone can understand me right now. I am sure they would try and would offer the best advice that they could muster but if I don't understand this season I am in how can anyone else.


Back on the Path

We went to church on Sunday. Eric, Daniel, Amy and I. Together as a family for the first time in ages. At first I felt nervous going back. I knew it was right and it was time. The season had changed and there was no reason for me to stay away any longer. My heart felt full, I was no longer tired and all my other reasons and excuses had faded away. To be honest, I actually missed church. My reasons for being nervous are too many to list starting with fear from all that had happened in the past all the way to fear of being hurt all over again and everything in between. Despite all that was going on inside of me emotionally something stronger was drawing me to church.

Choosing a church wasn't an option, it had to be a Baptist church so that Eric could do his placement for his studies and it would continue being a Baptist church for the two remaining years of his studies. I was ok with that. I accepted that church would not be as exciting as it had once been both because I was fond of the Hillsong style of church and also because I had been hurt so many times that I would keep my heart protected and remain cautious for some time by choice. I felt a sense of responsibility to the Baptist church and knew that God had something in mind for us as a family.

Eric is back on the path he is meant to be on and so I go to church of my own free will to support him on his journey and to get connected again as I should be. My heart pines for church to be fun, full of life and... well as it says in 1 Chronicles 22:5 ," ... the house to be built for the LORD should be of great magnificence and fame and splendour in the sight of all the nations." In my mind church should be magnificent, full of joy, worships should be loud and make you want to dance, prayer should be powerful and yielding results such as healing, miracles and deliverance. Even the building should shine either because it has cool lights or more importantly because Jesus is there.

I digress. The point is that Eric is back on the path that I believe he is meant to be on and we are back at church as a family. Our new pastor is a woman and she is really amazing, taking the church over the Jordan and into new and exciting things. We are honoured to be a part of what God is doing at our new church and will serve the pastor and the people to the best of our ability.