Client Testimonial

A lovely review from a client in her early 20s. I am so grateful that someone would take the time to write such a lovely review and hope that this will encourage others to ask for support.

I have struggled with anxiety for most of my life and did not think it was something I could ever gain control over. It would block me from meeting new people , healthy relationships, continuing education , changing careers and simply socialising . When I met Donna I was at my rock bottom and even experienced feeling suicidal but within just a few weeks of sessions I was shown an entire new way to live .

Anxiety is a clever thing , it is difficult to live with but those same feelings will lead you to believe that it will be more difficult if you could let it go . It is very easy to get comfortable and feel like the anxiety is all that represents you , and it can almost become too daunting to get any help because of that uncertainty , that worry of who will I become if I am not this ?

I can now say firsthand , getting the help was the best thing I ever did . The person I have become is one I’m already more proud of than I ever thought possible . I put my blind faith into Donna’s coaching and I’m so glad I did – her compassionate nature and unique techniques have equipped me , not for only now but for the rest of my life . She enabled me to deal with negative thoughts/feelings that may trigger anxiety in a much healthier and permanent way .

Thanks to Donna , I no longer suffer from panic attacks and the intense anxiety / depression I lived with for years. It no longer takes over my life or defines who I am . Her help has allowed me to become a much better version of myself , so much so , that I am inspired every day to help others experiencing similar mental health issues and I’m comfortable to share my own experience with others now too so that they can get the help they deserve .

This is not just a profession for Donna , she is dedicated to coaching people through life and that passion truly radiates in every single session you will have with her . I feel so grateful to have met such a kind , understanding and loving soul. She is a light that you will never forget .

Thank you so much Donna. HM , Paisley

Coping with Social Anxiety

Coping with Social Anxiety

As we start to ease out of lockdown with shops and restaurants reopening , society is beginning to be a little more social again . After months of not being able to see friends or family in close proximity , people are starting to slowly fill up their social calendars.

The prospect of returning to a somewhat normal life will be very exciting for some . But for others like myself this can cause anxiety .

If you normally struggle with social anxiety , lockdown has probably been a great relief for you. I personally relished the fact that there were no expectations to go anywhere or meet up with anyone . I liked that staying home alone and avoiding others when out in public became socially acceptable . It was basically a free pass to hide away and avoid my fears.

Although this provided a temporary respite , it made the thought of socialising again very scary at first. If you feel this way too and are panicking about the thought of socialising again , here are some things that have helped me cope . I hope they can help you too .

Ease into it slowly

Instead of jumping in head first and overwhelming myself , I took a slow approach when I started to interact with people face to face again. At first I only met up with 1 person at a time and planned in advance to allow myself to leave after 1 hour if I wanted to . When I got used to that , I increased it to 2 people and encouraged myself to stay a bit longer. I find that doing something little and often is the best way to get comfortable with it.

It’s also important to be able to hold boundaries for yourself during this time. If you don’t feel comfortable going to a bar or restaurant or meeting up with larger groups , stand your ground and just say no. Take things at your own pace and don’t let anyone rush you.

Accept that it may be a little awkward at first

I recently met up with a friend for an outdoor park workout and it was so awkward that I felt like I had just met up with her for the first time ever. I didn’t know how to keep the conversation going and felt really flustered.

I came home feeling that I had suddenly lost the social confidence that I had worked so hard to build . But I persisted anyway and thankfully it felt much more natural and normal the second time we met. She told me that she had also been feeling awkward the first time and was worried that she had forgotten how to socialise, which I think is something many people can relate to .

Talking to friends or family face to face may feel unnatural for a short time but don’t give up . This weird phase will pass, and quicker than you may think. Socialising is just like anything else, the more you practise , the easier it gets.

Share your worries with loved ones

I’ve never been a huge lover of crowds but I noticed that they have been making me even more anxious since lockdown began , especially while food shopping.

At first my partner got frustrated at me for rushing him around the supermarket at lightning speed. But once I told him that the crowds were making me uneasy , he was able to comfort me in these situations . So instead of freaking out and avoiding supermarkets forever and sending him to do all of the shopping , I now feel supported enough to keep going and push myself out of my comfort zone.

Sharing your anxieties with someone you trust will take some of the pressure off of you to get it right 100% of the time as life starts to get busier again.

Keep a positivity journal

One of the most helpful things I’ve been doing lately is keeping a positivity journal. When the first few times socialising after lockdown got me down I decide to start a journal to challenge my negative beliefs . My main beliefs were that I had no social skills and that I made everyone feel awkward.

Throughout the day, I would ( and still do! ) actively look for reasons to oppose those beliefs. Random stranger smiles at me and strikes up a conversation in the queue? There’s proof that I don’t make everyone feel awkward. Actively participating in a work meeting instead of just observing . That requires some kind of social skills!

The events you write about can be as big or small as you like . The main thing is to challenge your negative beliefs and prove to yourself that you are capable.

This blog was written by one of my clients who had suffered from crippling social anxiety before starting her sessions with me. If you have any questions or would like to speak to me then either contact me through my Business Facebook page A New Chapter Life Coaching or tel Donna on 07751959216 or email I offer a free 45 min initial consultation .

Anxiety Support for teenage boy

Donna has been key in transforming the life of our family. I came to Donna with my 13 year old son who was having trouble and anxiety at school. He was hating school and leaving early, missing classes. Some days he refused to go in. I thought he was just being difficult and lazy and his behaviour spilled out into home life causing disruption for everyone.

I was very sceptical that he would open up to Donna and he agreed to see her very reluctantly. After only 2 sessions we noticed a massive difference in him and his attitude towards school. Donna gave him simple techniques to follow if he was feeling anxious or panicked. He still gets worked up but much less often and calms down much quicker.

He tells her how he has been feeling and school is not a problem anymore . This has all resulted in a much happier family life . We owe this to Donna.

AL, Troon

Coping with anxiety as lockdown eases..

Coping with anxiety as lockdown eases…

Are you feeling anxious about going back to life as normal as lockdown starts to lift ? You are not alone .

It feels a bit odd admitting this , and even a little bit selfish , but I have actually quite liked the world being in lockdown . I know lots of people have really struggled during this time , with not being able to see their families or friends and are raring to get back to parties and beer gardens . I’m also mindful that lockdown has made some people’s anxiety worse than it was before .

But for me personally , the whole world slowing down made me feel normal for once . I’ve been able to create a safe little bubble that has been mostly free of the stresses and worries of every day life . I’ve been able to save time and money by not having to commute to work . I can juggle the housework around my working day and the dreaded office meetings are much less intimidating when I can hide on my zoom screen and act like I’m talking to an empty room .

Living in my bubble of safety and comfort

But there have been downsides to living in my bubble of safety and comfort. I haven’t had to work as hard on overcoming my anxiety and it’s safe to say that I have become a bit complacent with my mental health .

I only usually experience anxiety in specific situations such as socialising , going to busy places and meeting new people. None of this has been an issue during lockdown . And not surprisingly, my anxiety is at its lowest when I’m at home , where I’ve spent 99% of my time over last 3 months .

As a result of this, I’ve definitely noticed an increase in anxiety when I do have to exit my bubble . I’ve found myself stuttering and tripping over my words when making phone calls or talking to supermarket cashiers. I feel like I’ve forgotten how to act around others.

And I guess that’s why lockdown lifting is making me feel a bit uneasy . I almost feel as if I have to start from square one and redo all of my hard work again . I got so used to being comfortable and now the time to return to life is creeping closer and closer .

My preparation …

Instead of just sitting around feeling hopeless about it , I’m trying to work on some ways that will make returning to normal life a bit easier . Here are some things I’m doing to prepare myself .

  • Setting a routine – having the luxury of flexible working hours during lockdown means that I am used to waking up and working through my to do lists whenever I feel like it . For the last couple of weeks I’ve been getting up at 7am , which is when I would usually get up to commute to the office . This has been really great because not only will it prepare me for returning to work , I also get to enjoy an extra 2 hours of quiet time in the morning until then . I have also started eating at set times and going to bed at the same time every night . This routine has helped my anxiety a lot already .
  • Reaching out and visiting loved ones face to face – to get used to socialising again, this week I’ve been making an effort to reach out and meet my loved ones face to face ( socially distanced of course ) , rather than just texting them all the time . I’m not going to lie , it has been a bit challenging , but I figured the more I do it , the easier it will become.
  • Taking one day at a time – my mum used to always tell me that there is no point in worrying about what might happen because there are some things that you just can’t control. I’ve definitely been listening to that advice lately . Instead of panicking about how anxious I might feel in the future , or whether or not I’ll be able to cope with lockdown lifting completely , I’m trying just to focus on what’s happening right now . Self help books and meditation have been helping a lot with this .
  • Being kind to myself – I’m sure that we can all agree that 2020 has been a rollercoaster of a year so far . When I feel overwhelmed , I try to remind myself that we are living through a global pandemic . It’s not easy for anyone and it’s perfectly normal to experience ups and downs.


If you have any questions about how I can help you please contact me Donna Shillinglaw from A New Chapter Coaching on 07751959216 or email me

Anxiety support during lockdown…

Anxiety support during lockdown

I’m sure a lot of us can relate to feeling anxious with all that’s going on in the world right now . Things are feeling quite uncertain, many people are feeling isolated and some are now dealing with the added worry of losing their job.

It’s a scary time for all of us but for people who struggle with anxiety on a daily basis it can feel almost impossible to get used to this new way of life . As someone who has suffered from anxiety for most of my adult life I was bracing myself for a depression relapse when I first heard that we were going into lockdown . I thought that having to stay indoors all of the time would put me back to square one with my mental health . But I’m happy to say that I’ve been managing to cope , thanks to some new things I’ve introduced to my life . Here are some of the things that have been helping to keep my mood stable during this time.


Now, before you immediately cross this off your list , hear me out ! I used to absolutely HATE any form of cardio , especially running . It made me feel sick and dizzy , and I hadn’t once experienced that “ runners high” I had heard so many people talk about .

When lockdown started I downloaded the Couch to 5k app on my phone and decided to give it a try . ( I highly recommend this app if you are a complete beginner). When I started I could barely run for 30 seconds but now I can do a solid 5 minutes without stopping. Although it may not feel like much to some people, I feel so confident, happy and proud of myself every time I complete a run . It’s honestly one of the best things I’ve ever done for my mental health . For anyone unable to run, I’ve found walking in nature to be extremely calming also .

Switching off

As good as it is to stay up to date with the news, it can get a bit overwhelming at times, don’t you think ? At first I was reading and watching different news stories multiple times per day and I began to notice my mood dipping . I found it hard to cope with the conflicting headlines and constant updates of new deaths . I’m now only checking the news once every couple of days from reputable sources . I feel much more able to cope with what’s going on now , and know that I can keep in the loop in a way that feels good to me .


I’ve been enjoying journaling more than ever over the past few weeks . I find it really helpful for organising my thoughts and feelings and figuring out how exactly I feel about certain things . Being able to reflect back on what I’ve written at a later date is also useful for problem solving .

I’ve made it a goal of mine to just write 2 lines in my journal each day . Most of the time I end up writing way more than that but even if it is just 2 lines , it’s a nice way to check in with myself at the end of the day .

Being kind to myself

Whatever I feel during this lockdown is ok . That’s what I’ve been telling myself . It’s a weird , confusing and challenging time and it’s completely reasonable to feel scared, worried or unmotivated .

If I sleep late , have an unproductive day or feel sad about something or nothing , I’m not beating myself up about it . I’m trying not to compare myself to others , and just accept that whatever I do or don’t achieve during this time is ok. I used to think that being easy on myself would make me lazy and enable my anxiety . But I’ve actually found quite the opposite . Anxiety is much easier to overcome when you are not constantly telling yourself how much of a failure you are .

3 Good Things

I used to always attempt to keep a gratitude diary , where I would write down things I was grateful for each day . This worked well on the days that I felt good but whenever I had a down day it felt fake and irritating to write down things I was thankful for .

I’ve found that reframing it to “ 3 good things” works better. If I’ve had a rotten day I can still acknowledge what went well that day . Even if it was as simple as showering , eating my breakfast and making my bed .

I really think it helps your brain to look for the good in everything . I’ve been feeling much more positive and I’m able to find my 3 good things a lot easier as the weeks go on .

If you have any questions or would like more information contact me through Facebook A New Chapter Life Coaching , email me or tel 07751959216 .

Learning to Cope with Anxiety

How I Learned to Cope with My Anxiety…

The 2nd part of my lovely client Chloe’s story. (If you missed part one, it’s here).

If you have ever struggled with chronic anxiety you will know how hard it is to ask for help. Maybe you have tried before and it didn’t go as well as you had hoped, or maybe you don’t want to feel like you are being a burden.

I know how it feels to be completely hopeless , and how demoralising it is to keep getting knocked down again and again. At one point in my life I genuinely believed that I would never feel better and that nothing could ever be done to help me.


At the beginning of 2018 I lost all of my friends when I stopped drinking alcohol. I became extremely isolated and depressed and it started to seep into every other area of my life . I couldn’t hold down a job , my relationship was suffering and I even started to feel awkward around my own family .

As a result I isolated myself even more . At my worst I would go for days at a time without leaving the house or talking to anyone other than my partner . I had tried to talk to him and my family about the way that I was feeling but I could sense that they didn’t really understand and that made me feel that I could never be “fixed”. I thought that nothing I could do would ever help and I often wished that when I went to sleep I would never wake up…

Seeking Help

This mental battle continued for 18 months , until I was introduced to Donna.

Donna and I worked together over the following months and she was exactly the person I needed to help me get better. She taught me lots of useful coping techniques and we explored some of the issues that were causing the anxiety.

But aside from the practical help Donna gave me , the most important thing was that she listened . Truly listened . Not once did she undermine my feelings or try to sweep them under the carpet. There was never any “ don’t worry it will get better” or “ things could be worse” . She just listened . I felt so validated and understood for the first time in my life and that in itself was so healing.

Journey to controlling my anxiety

The more I saw Donna the more my confidence improved . Using the techniques and advice given I was able to get back to the gym , start a new job and join fitness classes to be around others again . My relationship with my partner has improved so much since then and I can now visit my family again without feeling unwanted . I’m no longer paralysed with fear when I try to leave the house and I finally feel like I’m living a normal life .

The anxiety isn’t completely gone but the difference is that I now know that I’m in full control . I no longer expect that everything should be perfect 24/7 and know that anxious spells won’t last forever . I also realise that although my friends and family may try their best to help , they’re not always equipped with the skills to do so and I shouldn’t take that as a sign that they don’t care.

Sometimes it takes a professional who is qualified to help . If you have already tried therapy with little success I would encourage you to try again . I had seen about 4 different therapists over the years but I didn’t click with any of them as well as I did with Donna .

Coming out the other side of this I’m so grateful that I sought help . I could never have done this on my own.


If you would like some support from me, like Chloe, please contact me through A New Chapter Life Coaching Facebook page or tel 07751959216



My Anxiety Journey

My anxiety journey

This is a blog post written by one of my lovely young clients called Chloe who wants to share her story….

For as long as I can remember, social situations have made me feel intensely anxious. Talking in front of groups, meeting new people, or even just talking to people that I know well but am not super close to. I’ve always been labelled the quiet girl, always been asked why I “never talk” and I’ve often been dismissed as rude, antisocial or stuck up because of social anxiety.

Now, when I say social anxiety, I don’t mean it as in the “Oh, parties make me feel a bit nervous” type of way. I mean social anxiety disorder, which is different from just being shy or nervous.

Defining Anxiety

For anyone who’s not familiar with it, the best way I can explain social anxiety is that it’s like being mentally paralysed. It’s not something that can be fixed by just acting confident, thinking positively or wishing it away. It’s affected my self-esteem, relationships, mental and physical health, and limited my career and personal growth.

Some say social anxiety is caused by genetics and environment, while others say it’s triggered by a traumatic social experience. And although I’d always been a shy and quiet child, I don’t remember it ever being an issue until I got a bit older.

Around the age of 12 is when I started to notice people pointing it out. They’d make comments like “Wow, you can actually talk!” or “Speak up, nobody can hear you!”. I just remember being made to feel like being quiet wasn’t OK and still to this day those comments continue. When the whole world is telling you that your personality is “wrong”, you start to believe it.

Trying to Fit In

I learned that I had to be different, or essentially just be anything other than myself, in order to fit in or be accepted by society. And I think that’s when social anxiety kicked in for me.

When the anxiety is at its worst, I feel sweaty, shaky, dizzy and like I can’t breathe properly. I have an overwhelming urge to cry and feel like there’s a huge lump in my throat. I worry intensely about what I’m saying or doing so as not to offend other people or embarrass myself, and I have a strong feeling that everyone secretly hates me.

In other words, I become very paranoid and self-conscious. There have been many, many times that I’ve excused myself from parties and work meetings to go cry in the toilets because these self-critical thoughts became so overwhelming.


Accepting Help

As I’ve gotten older and sought help, it’s become a lot easier to deal with. It’s not that the anxiety has gone away, it’s just that I’ve learned how to live my life in a way that minimises it, without having to hide away in bed all day. I now also know how to cope better when it arises.

Although Western culture strongly favours extroverted and outgoing people, I’ve learned to accept that being a quiet person is completely OK because it’s part of who I am, and I no longer listen to anyone who tries to tell me otherwise. I’ve adapted my lifestyle, relationships and career to suit my own personal needs instead of trying to fit myself into a mould that I’ll never truly fit into.


Remember, You Are Not Alone

We all handle our anxiety in different ways. What works for one person may not work for another. In these times it can help to know you are not alone.

If you would like some support from me, like Chloe please contact me through my A New Chapter Coaching Facebook page