Welcome to a bit of Monday motivation. One of things I love most about where I am today is being able to make connections with other women and gain inspiration and motivation from other peoples journeys. I hope to be able to share some guest blogs each Monday that will offer a bit of positivity and food for thought for the week ahead.

This weeks guest blogger is Lesley Greenwood,BSc (hons) MSc Clinical Science Psychotherapist/Counsellor. Lesley Is 55 and feels Fab which I love!

"Menopause is a bit of a pain but I don't let it define me , I started running age 51 and ran my first Marathon in London age 52 ! I think we should worship and be thankfuul for whatever our bodies can do!"

I am a Psychotherapist and counsellor and have a degree in Psychology and age 53 I got my Masters degree in Clinical Science from the University of Chester.About 12 years ago now when the WWW was new to me and I was struggling with the internet and computers in general I went to a night school class at the local high school to learn how to use a computer properly. I was terrified of being left behind in the ever complex world of new technology. Little did I know then that it would lead me to graduating from the University of Chester with a Masters Degree in Clinical Sciences, which happened to me yesterday!

When I look back I was so nervous actually walking through the door of the class room as I hadn’t been in an educational setting since I left school age 18 after my A levels (as it was then) in 1982. I took a job in an office and shortly after in my early 20’s married, as was often the case, you took a job , got married and had a family, Gosh how we have moved on as women!!

Stepping back into the learning environment in 2007 was quite daunting but I told myself its only night school no one will know me and if I don’t like it I don’t have to go back… before I went I was filling my mind with negative thoughts.

However as with many things the experience of night school was much better than I had anticipated, everyone was in the same boat, nobody new how to send an email and I stuck it out for 6 months and we all helped each other. I was also lucky enough to meet an amazing lady who was our teacher and mentor and I got chatting to her one night after class and she told me she had a degree in Psychology. I had secretly always felt I’d missed out not going to university in the early 80’s and Psychology was the subject I was fascinated with as people are just so damn interesting and everyday I’m amazed and inspired as to what the human race can achieve.

I went home with my head spinning and the next week I applied to the University of Chester to take a Psychology degree. To my utter amazement they accepted me, and in 2008 I began the course, It wasn’t easy life got in the way, sick in laws financial problems due to the crash that started in 2007 and feelings of self doubt, however four years later after lots of hard work determination and support from family I graduated with a BSc (hons) Psychology degree. I couldn’t believe it.

I started working and write about Psychological issues and mental health and well-being and upped my walking activity to get a bit fitter. Healthy body, healthy mind, etc. I then started to walk a bit faster and in May 2016 I ran a local 5k race without telling a sole, I doubted myself again, as many of us do, but to my utter amazement I finished it !!

It inspired me to run a little further, and the weight started to come of first time in years (I so struggle with my weight and menopause doesn’t help!)

11 months later I ran the London Marathon finished, got a medal and was in total shock age 52 I had completed my first marathon having only taken up running 11 months earlier!

I then started a Masters of Clinical science age 53 and graduated from that 2 years later yesterday, and was lucky enough to be presented my Degree of Master of Science by the wonderful Gyles Brandreth, but to top it of receiving an Honorary doctorate at the same time was the amazing actress Joanna Lumly…It really was an absolutely fabulous day!!

I’m now a professional psychotherapist and health and well-being advisor and guest writer for the wonderful www.countrywives.co.uk community run by the inspiring duo Annabel & Grace, a career I thoroughly enjoy.

If you had told me 12 years ago that this was where I would end up , after walking in the night school class being shown how to send an email I would never have believed you! But more than that I would have found the whole experience just too daunting and would never have started the journey.

So my very best advice to everyone out there considering any change in life is

“small steps BIG CHANGES!” it’s the smallest of actions that can lead to enormous changes in life. Who knows where it will take you, who know ‘s who will inspire you along the way? The important thing is to take that first step. Even if you have been reluctant to venture out recently try by going for a short walk in the countryside with a friend or even alone with a pet, the fresh air and nature will make you feel so much better!!

Have a wonderful week ladies and remember “small steps, BIG CHANGES!”

Best wishes

Lesley Greenwood Bsc Pschology (hons) MSc Clinical Science MBPsS

You can contact :-

Lesley Greenwood BSc (hons) MSc Clinical Science Psychotherapist/Counsellor

Twitter @Lesley Ann Green

Psychology Today https://www.psychologytoday.com/profile/412570

Email LuluGreen64@hotmail.com

What small steps can you take today ? I'd love to know what you all have planned this week to keep you moving forward and help you step out of your bubble.

Keep being fabulous

Rachel x