Sadly, our busy modern world leaves people, especially middle-aged women, feeling increasingly overwhelmed, disconnected from who we are and what we want or need and consequently unfulfilled. Study after study shows that far from making us happy, our ‘always on’, stressful lives and an inadequate relationship with nature are leading to unparalleled levels of exhaustion and anxiety.
If this sounds like you, don’t worry, you’re in the right place.
I’m here to help you find your way out of that frustrating place and reconnect with your joy and well-being. The foundation for flourishing is returning to nature and nurturing the most important relationship that any of us will ever have.
You don’t have to throw away your mobile phone and become a wild woman of the woods – there are plenty of ways in which you can gradually and sustainably deepen your connection with the rest of the natural world and find your true self in the process.
Who am I and how can I help you?
Hi! I’m Julie Fox, the founder of Feel More Connected.
My own journey from near burnout back to joy and vitality has taught me so much about wellbeing and nature connection.
My aim is to use this knowledge to help you find your own way of living life to the full.
Let me share a bit of my story with you first…
My career started in a bank, where I became a coach and trainer but felt trapped and unfulfilled in a corporate setting.
I quit that job, aged 26, to travel the world then got a degree in Communications before embarking on a new career as an English teacher so that I could live and work in other countries.
Several years later, I settled in Portugal and began a blog in order to help others by sharing my experiences of living and traveling here. I developed this into a successful business, helping independent travellers plan unique trips to Portugal.
Reaching breaking point
I love the freedom of working from home but building a business has challenged me in many ways. Because I had no clear boundaries between work and home I was constantly exhausted and overwhelmed.
On the rare occasions when I spent time with friends or family, I was never able to fully relax as I needed to constantly keep on top of client requests. My relationships suffered as did my health and well-being. Going through peri-menopause certainly wasn’t helping matters, especially my sleep!
Things came to a head in the aftermath of a horrendous wildfire in October 2017 that devastated the countryside for tens of miles surrounding my village and killed 41 people. Luckily, our house only suffered peripheral damage but the forests all around me were obliterated and I was devastated.
I’ve always been drawn to nature and felt the need to spend time in green spaces but I hadn’t realised quite how vital it is for my well-being until it was suddenly gone.
Everywhere I looked and everywhere I went was charred black or brown and, for the first few weeks, it stank like a wet ashtray. There was one tiny patch of unscathed greenery nearby and I would walk backwards and forwards along that short track, desperately trying to get my fix of trees and plants before returning home through an alien landscape.
At that time, I was also in the process of setting up a limited company and having to work out of the local library while internet connection was restored to my area, which took months.
Despite these obstacles, my Portugal travel business was taking off and I was snowed under with work. As soon as I had internet at home again, I was back to working 7 days a week. My life was pretty much all work, except for depressing dog walks in the blackend countryside and my weekly yoga class. I piled on weight, used wine as relaxation and reward and, unsurprisingly, wasn’t sleeping properly.
I was so tired I just wanted to cry and the slightest setback would send me spinning. My business was doing well but I really wasn’t.
I finally acknowledged that I had a problem when a dear friend asked to visit us for a couple of days while he was in Portugal and instead of being happy at the prospect of spending time with him, I burst into tears. I simply couldn’t cope with the extra effort of ‘entertaining’ when all I wanted to do was sleep for a week.
That’s when I began reaching out for help and learning how to take better care of myself so that I have the energy and motivation I need to do all the many things I’m excited about.
At that point, I still didn’t fully appreciate how important my relationship with nature would be in this transformation. Now that I’m a certified nature connection (forest bathing) guide, I understand the science behind the therapeutic powers of nature.
Getting my bounce back
1. Learning to ‘just be’
My first coaching programme helped me understand and shift some of the limiting beliefs I had around money and time. It also taught me the benefits of a regular meditation practice.
My coach helped me set boundaries around my work and home life by introducing a cut off point for my working day. She also prescribed a 10-minute ‘lie on my back and do nothing’ session each day as I wasn’t able to sit still at the time without feeling that I ought to be doing something ‘useful’.
That has turned into a daily meditation practice and I’m now able to sit in the garden and simply be, rather than constantly looking for things that need doing.
2. Connecting with my body
I still recall the sensation of applying body lotion to my legs for the first time in years – a simple act of self-care I’d been too busy for!
I no longer take my body for granted; I listen to what it needs and what it’s trying to tell me. Having lost most of the excess weight I gained while I was overworking, I’m now fitter than I’ve ever been and do exercise that makes me happy.
3. Connecting with other people
Now that I work sensible hours, I am able to enjoy spending time with people I care about and who inspire me. Having realised that being ‘fiercely independent’ isn’t such a good thing, I’ve finally learned to ask for help and receive support and kindness from others with grace, something that I’ve always struggled with in the past.
4. Connecting with nature
The greenery around our village started to look reasonable again after a couple of years and it’s now beautiful; I can see green from every window of my home.
Since the first green shoots and spring flowers started to reappear in the fire-scarred landscape, I’ve been developing an even deeper and more loving connection with the natural world, through observation, mindfulness and study. It’s a constant source of wonder, joy, calm, insights and inspiration.
5. Connecting with my purpose
When Covid hit and sent my travel business into a coma, I embarked on an exploration of joy, creativity and purpose to see where it would lead me. As a result, Feel More Connected came into being.
How my well-being journey can help you
Over recent years, I’ve tried all manner of tools and techniques, read countless books and taken many courses in psychology, well-being and nature connection, most of which have been beneficial.
I’ve had the support of great coaches and mentors and learned from experts in the world of well-being and leadership.
All of this deep inner work has given me a clearer understanding of what’s important to me and what I want from this precious life, as well as my purpose. That is to use my skills and knowledge to help other women flourish in midlife.
I’m not perfect, nor will I ever be.
I’m always learning but I’m probably a little bit further along this journey towards well-being than you are right now. I’d like to use what I know about reinforcing your relationship with nature to guide you along the path to rediscovering your true self and get your bounce back.
I’ve pulled together my extensive experience, research, knowledge and community to help you do just that, with the help of my small but wonderful team.
I aim to share my experiences with you to help you quickly find the most appropriate resources for enhancing you life and avoid wasting your precious time.