As a proud and busy working mum and grandmother, Ann has spent a long and happy career in education including being a primary school headteacher. Ann and her partner moved to a rural village in Norfolk four years ago – into a house with gardens and a paddock in need of restoration.
Ann explains, “As I’m planning to retire at the end of this summer, our home in Norfolk provides me with the perfect project for our retirement years as well as a place for our family to come and enjoy a slower pace of life!”
Ann has always loved spending time in nature and in her garden. As a headteacher, Ann ran a kitchen garden club, encouraging those parents who maybe didn’t have access to a garden to come and work alongside their children to grow vegetables and fruits as well as flowers.
However family, work and other life demands often got in the way of Ann being able to spend as much time outdoors as she’d have liked to: “Looking back, I know I would have been a happier person and have led a more balanced life if I’d have prioritised this more.”
Given Ann’s career in education, it’s no surprise that Ann has a love of learning new things. Over the years, in addition to her ongoing training for her career in education, Ann has taken counselling and coaching courses, an RHS gardening course and more recently some short courses in horticultural therapy with Thrive.
I was particularly drawn to Thrive’s Cultivating Wellbeing course as I felt it would give me the opportunity to focus on myself for a change – to shut out the busy world around me and enjoy some mindfulness and ‘in the moment’ reflection.
In terms of my own mental health, the course has helped me to recognise the value for me – and for everyone really – of spending time outdoors to re-charge and re-frame.
Ann concluded, “Looking ahead, I am planning to start volunteering with a horticultural therapy group soon and will also be taking Thrive’s accredited diploma in horticultural therapy from September.”