This year has been another year of change – some of it planned and some unexpected. Here’s what I’ve discovered about myself in my 39th year on this planet.

Earlier this year, my father unexpectedly took ill and then sadly died two months later. Our family was together during his illness and we spent time with him in hospital in France to keep his spirits high. As many of you already know, he was a true inspiration and had a heart of gold with such a positive outlook about life, even in the end. He supported our family in every way possible and he left a huge footprint on all of our hearts that will never go away.

He supported me in my new venture for Aspirational Living and he always said to work hard doing the things you love but to always make time for yourself and family. Family was the most important thing in his life and this has been passed on to my sister and I. Since he died, Mum has settled in with us back in the North East of England and is coping well, but obviously finding it difficult after 53 years of marriage.

We’re all trying to move forward with our lives and we have adjusted but it still seems so unfair he’s not here. I think that was made easier by the fact that he was so positive about life and I’ve got to admit that mindfulness has helped me through this difficult time. It taught me to accept what comes and let go of what I can’t control and focus on the things that I’m grateful for.

On top of this, I made a conscious choice to leave my role as Regional Training Manager at the local college and embarked upon a role at a housing association in organisational development and I love it! I’ve got the best of both worlds now – I’m able to be part of an organisation making a difference (in my own way) and I’m able to deliver mindfulness and coaching techniques to a range of people. If feels so good to be finally doing what I love – every aspect of my life is good right now.

This year I’ve learnt that I’m brave, resilient and strong enough to get through anything with my family by my side. The older I’ve got I’ve realised how important it is to show vulnerability, hurt, pain, guilt and sadness. We don’t have to be strong all the time, showing vulnerability helps you to deal with life’s difficulties and it certainly helps the healing process.

Despite everything we’ve been through this year, we’ve stuck together and we’ve supported one another throughout it all. More than ever I’ve realised the importance of family and true friendship – you don’t realise how much these loving relationships make such a difference in your life when you’re going through hardship. So thank you to all of those people who’ve supported me and sent me messages of kindness.

This year I’ve reflected on my love affair with social media too and even though I love this amazing space to share positivity and inspiration, I’m concerned that my relationship with it has taken too much of my attention and time. So I’ve become much more aware of the time I spend on it and I’m more intentional with my use of it too.

My main priority is my family and I want to be present with them while the boys grow up. As they’re growing older they’re becoming more independent and this is leaving time for Richard and I to spend more quality time together which is hugely important to us.

There will be a place for social media but, I’ve remembered the importance of compartmentalising my life. This way I get to do all the things I love, spend time with loved ones and feel happy and healthy!