Kilkenny-based Lizzy Shortall is an author who also works as an emotional wellbeing and mindfulness trainer.
Ms Shortall has published a novel called The Lotus and the Tiger, and a children's book entitled Joy's Playground.
Joy's Playground aims to teach children "mindfulness, gratitude and self belief".
The Lotus and the Tiger, a fictional novel but with parts based on the author's life, follows Lucy Woodrow, a life-loving Dublin girl, who tries hard to make sense of her life and her family.
Ms Shortall's background in social work led her down the path to her current role, which involves helping people with emotional wellbeing and mindfulness in one-to-one sessions.
"I worked in social care first for years and I thought when I went into social work that I’d get to work on resilience training courses with people and teach them coping skills and do mindfulness and all of this. But as a social worker you really are fire fighting, and it’s a lot of case management and your time with people can be more limited than you want it to be. I worked in the areas of mental health, oncology, children in care, addiction, and it was really evident to me that it would be lovely if we could work on the prevention side more.
"I decided to step out of social work and provide a resilience training service where people could come to me one-to-one."
Ms Shortall also has two young girls so how does she fit home life, writing and mindfulness sessions into 24 hours?
"No two days are exactly the same for me, but that’s what I love, that suits me," she explained. "I’ve always felt like a square peg in a round hole when I’ve tried 9 to 5 jobs, I divide up my time between doing my writing which I absolutely love, time evaporates when I’m doing my writing, so I could write all day and all evening, I siphon off part of my day for that."
"I schedule in what suits the individuals I’m working with for appointments. My most recent appointment was with a teenager, I was working with a teenager who has severe anxiety to the point where he is struggling to go to school.
"So I was working with him to look at the root of his anxiety, what his coping skills are. He had stepped out of everything that he was enjoying, so trying to help him create a wellness plan to get him back on track. That would be an example of somebody I might be working with.
"Before and after that it’s just mayhem with two small kids, getting them to school then come home and do my writing and my appointments, then when they’re going to bed I’d often be editing my writing as well because I just love it, it’s as enjoyable as a hobby for me."
Ms Shortall finished her novel during lockdown, and was also setting up her wellbeing and mindfulness service (The Mindful Playground), which is all done online.
"It’s all online now. Because I went out on my own during lockdown, before that I was working in addiction treatment in Waterford, but when lockdown hit I got to finish my book and I set up essentially my own service, it’s been online to date, when things are open I’ll go from there, but if people are happy to do online I can do my writing around appointments, or have a day of appointments or a day of writing."