Emma Kenney psychologist
The founder of healthy lifestyle website Make Your Switch, 43, on helping others find happiness
I wake up at 6.30am, get my 13- and 11 -year-old sons ready for school, and drink the (sometimes awful) green vegetable juice my husband makes for me, before heading to my office in Manchester. After briefing the team, I’ll spend the day writing and filming content for the site, squeezing radio interviews, meetings and a lunch of dahl soup in between. I go to the office four days a week, putting in a minimum of 25 hours on the website and spending another 60 hours working for corporate clients, writing for magazines, appearing on TV and seeing private therapy clients. All this extra work keeps me going financially so I can make Make Your Switch | a reality – it’s a labour of love and the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I never B wake up thinking, “I hate my life”.’
LIVING THE DREAM
‘I was 14 years old when I decided to become a psychologist, after seeing one myself and deciding I could do a much better job After studying psychology at university and training in therapy, I spent 18 years working with children who were truants, entangled in crime or came from abusive families.I became involved with television work 10 years ago, as it was fun and I enjoyed making psychology interesting and easier to relate to. But I still had a dream to offer wellbeing advice to the masses on an even larger scale.‘It was in 2010, after my first husband had left me and my sons, that I had the idea to create my website. Frustrated that I couldn’t go out to exercise because I had to stay in and carefor my kids, and concerned about how to feed them well with little money, I wished for a website that would plan all my meals for me on a budget, offer exercise and give me a community of people to share experiences with, and help me track my progress. When I realised it didn’t exist, I decided to create it myself.
The Founder Of Healthy Lifestyle Website Make Your Switch, 43, On Helping Others Find Happiness Photo Gallery
After three years of planning, I got backing from investors and we finally launched in November 2015. The site has qualified experts such as Dr Hilary Jones, dietician Faith Toogood and celeb PT Elise Lindsay, all providing advice and content. Basically, whether you’re a diabetic with heart problems, or are suffering with depression and have limited mobility, there’s a plan for you on the site.‘There’s no other website like it, but right now it’s just a pinhead of what I Want it to be. We’re launching an IOS app soon, and are constantly trying to fill the gaps in information, launching a parenting section and seven-day psychology plans on areas such as confidence, mindfulness and motivation in the new year.‘Eventually, I’d like it to be the Google of wellbeing, and accessible to people on a limited budget (we’re currently talking to local councils to see if we can give them a good deal to access the site and help those who couldn’t afford it) so we can help as many people as possible.‘After a hectic day, I get home at 6.30pm and sit down with my sons to help with their homework before enjoying a vegetarian family meal of homemade pizza, pasta or salad prepared by my new husband who works from home, giving me the time to fit in everything I do. I then spend the rest of my evening working outwith my husband or writing my new book on mindful parenting. What switches me off from work is to switch on to something else and really be in the moment while doing it, so by the end of the day, I’m ready for bed at 10pm and sleep really well.’
EMMA’S WELLBEING TIPS
• You can’t please everybody. Prioritise what’s important to you, whether it’s your health or family, and learn to say no to distractions.
• There’s no point in dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Practise mindfulness regularly to help you live in the moment.
• The world is seen through your eyes. Worrying about what others think about you is a waste of your time and energy.
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