Sharon de Caestecker
I have a real passion for all things health-related. Why? Because I’ve experienced the exact opposite, both physically and mentally.
I started my career as a nurse, witnessing first-hand the effects of chronic illness, obesity and poor health. I moved into palliative care, working with patients for whom there isn’t a cure. My courageous and inspirational patients taught me a very valuable lesson: Without exception they spoke about the importance of relationships and life experiences. Not one of them talked about climbing the career ladder or spending more time at work. I vowed to take this lesson with me.
I then moved into the world of education and climbed to the dizzy heights of Director. My department grew and grew, we had major sucess, we became an award winning department and we had significant impact on the way in which end of life care was delivered as a result of our education programmes. However, as I progressed in my career, I found myself dedicating more and more of my time and energy to my work. I became exhausted. I just couldn’t muster the oomph I’d had previously. As I tried to keep it together at work, my family had the worst of me – the tired, grumpy, grouch. I talked about the things I’d like to see and experience ‘in the future’. I told myself “it’ll be ok when I get this project finished…”, “it’ll be ok when I learn to be more organised”, “it’ll be ok when…..”
But then I realised that the “when” I dreamed of might never arrive. I remembered the words of my patients and was struck by the realisation that the life I’d created just wasn’t working for me. I wanted something different.
It took me two years to resign from my job. I thought long and hard first about how I’d survive, but also about how I could bring some much-needed joy back into my life. What I’m going to say next sounds simple, but believe me it wasn’t: I decided to eat better. I made the time to exercise and rediscovered the joy of movement in the great outdoors. I left the office earlier, went to bed earlier, nurtured myself and reengaged with my family.
I immersed myself in all things health and wellbeing. I studied nutrition, health coaching and laughter yoga, and started to live a slower, more meaningful life. Having learned the hard way, I’m now passionate about supporting others in their quest to reengage in life. I’ve found balance, and would love to support others in doing the same.
Registered General Nurse
Bachelor of Nursing: Palliative Care
Masters Degree: Ethics of cancer & Palliative Care
C&G Teaching & Assessing in Higher Education
Certificate in Counselling
IIN Health Coach
Laughter Yoga Leader