A solo mum and abuse survivor is upswitching up her side hustle into her full time business, quitting teaching in the midst of the pandemic to launch her true passion project – supporting other mums to ignite their spark, helping them to review whether the path they are on is one they really want – or if in fact they’re holding themselves back from the life they really desire.
Louisa Herridge, 41, an English teacher of 15 years, supports other mums to over-come self-sabotage, and life trauma so that they can take control back of their lives – like she has, just 1 year after a mental breakdown saw her on her knees, after being strangled by her narcissistic partner, in front of her 4 year old daughter.
In the first stages of the 2020 pandemic, Louisa developed beyond the classroom and trained in mindfulness and relaxation coaching, sharing the wonder and healing that simple mindfulness can bring with the power of connecting the body and mind. Initially working with children, due to her having found the life-changing impact this had on her own daughter who suffered PTSD from witnessing the abusive relationship Louisa was in, Louisa soon realized that actually mums were in the most need of support, as due to lockdown, women’s mental health was suffering – and this concerned Louisa.
CARE conducted global research and found 27% of women reporting increase in challenges in relation to mental illness during lockdown; compared to 10% of men. She started to run Mum’s relaxation courses and this was the beginning of her new business, Mamas Ignited. As she saw a replication of herself in these other busy, stressed out mums – with not enough time for themselves – Louisa decided that she wanted to use her awful, traumatic experiences for good. In March 2021 in the throes of the pandemic, she quit her job as a Drama and English Teacher and launched her dream business on International Women’s Day 8th March.
Having escaped an abusive relationship and reinvented her own life, Louisa is passionate about supporting other women and their mental well-being. She knows that despite, like her, suffering; trauma, mental health conditions and self-sabotage, they too can take action and get out of their own way to become ignited in self-belief, confidence and empowered to take control of their own lives with passion and purpose. Since discovering her own spark she’s been spreading the message of turning ironing boards into surfboards as she encourages women not to give up on their dreams. She loves the saying “An Ironing board is a surf board that gave up on its dreams and got a boring job!” – and this is something she felt she did, towing the line giving up on her dreams of being an actress in her early years. Louisa has grabbed her surfboard and is now riding the waves of entrepreneurship and she is on a mission to empower all women to be able to ride the waves and take action in their lives, careers and businesses.
“An Ironing board is a Surfboard that gave up on its dreams and got a boring job. Don’t be an ironing board!”
Having developed her signature system ‘Ignite’ Louisa connects mindfulness to our energy and earth elements through her ‘5 Elements’ system, educating women on how by understanding our core 5 elements we connect with our mind body and soul, to then enable balance in our minds, and in our lives. She said; “When we tap into our 5 elements, we can ignite the women we desire to be.”
As part of empowering women, Louisa is engaged in the ongoing equality debate and topically how the pandemic and lockdown has impacted roles in the home and women’s careers. Louisa strongly believes that more than ever women’s roles and equality itself are being compromised, supporting the argument from Justine Roberts, founder of Mumsnet who said: “There is no pay gap, there is no glass ceiling, until women have children,” Last year, Louisa collaborated in a book called ‘PRIDE motivation and inspiration for women juggling motherhood and business’ and on 23rd April is due to speak at a global entrepreneurial event, BEE Inspired, sharing her journey and her knowledge worldwide.
Louisa said; “I felt empowered after writing my story of survival, when it was published in November 2020 the feedback I got from readers and strangers reaching out to me about how it had inspired them – I accepted and believed that I could inspire other women.”
Louisa’s self-sabotage and limiting beliefs go back a long way, fuelled by her suffering chronic back pain and depression in her 30s, making her ‘a sitting duck for Narcissist No1 – The Husband.’ “He had control over me. Within three years we met, bought a house, got married and then he left – he was living a double life… he had fake jobs, other relationships…. I will never know the real man that I married.”
In 2010, Louisa had two discs replaced she said: “This was life changing surgery as I got my life back and didn’t have to rely on pain medication – I finally felt I could think clearly again without the constant chronic pain that I had lived with for so long. This was when I began to see my husband for what he really was.” From here she found the strength to leave, but he left Louisa with £20k debt and suffering panic attacks and depression.
When she was 34, she met Narcissist No2 the man who went on to violently assault her, leaving her and her daughter with PTSD. Six years later, close to turning 40, she was again left picking up the pieces after this traumatic and abusive relationship. It took two years for her to break away from his controlling and coercive behaviour, which resulted in a violent assault whereby he strangled her, almost to the point of blacking out in front of their four-year-old daughter.
A subsequent eight-month family court battle pushed Louisa to breaking point an in December 2019, she had a breakdown and found herself in a very dark place mentally. Diagnosed with PTSD, her mental health declined and she hit rock bottom. Louisa was signed off work and took the first steps towards her recovery – Louisa had an occupational health referral and had CBT, she said it was the talking therapy element that was really incredible, “as well as being healing, it was also very forward thinking and positive and I realised in these sessions that I didn’t need to be a teacher for the rest of my life… which was an assumption that I had made.” Alongside this, Louisa was recommended to try Relax Kids for her then 4-year-old daughter who was also suffering with PTSD and anxiety. They had a mindfulness session and it changed both their lives – “we experienced the incredible power in dedicating time to be mindful, close and together.” This was where her mindfulness coaching journey began.
Louisa is on a mission with Mamas Ignited to encourage all mums to believe in themselves, prioritise time and set their ‘non-negotiables’ in order to ignite their inner fire and to create sparks for action! She runs a successful free Facebook group, The Bloomery – a space for mums to believe, relax & ignite their dreams and will be relaunching her online course Time to Ignite course very soon.
Louisa is also currently writing her first solo book, ‘Ignite’ The 5-step mindfulness system to ignite your spark’ – which will take readers on a journey through the elements as a ‘go-to-guide to keep mums motivated and mindful, helping them set their non-negotiables and take time to be away from the juggle-struggle of life.’
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