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Lessons from 6 years of podcasting

Mummy jojo aka Jojo Fraser on Scottish radio

I launched my podcast, time for a mojo injection, back in early June 2018.  It wasn’t my idea, I was encouraged to do it and after the initial fear, I thought why not?  I remember at the podcast launch thinking I had already achieved what I wanted which was to open up the conversation around mental health.  To normalise what was seen as taboo.  That is exactly what was happening, people were coming up to me at the launch saying they now felt able to share stuff before they had even listened to an episode. It was just amazing.

I have had many wonderful chats on the podcast, it has had over 100 thousand downloads.  I have shared my heart and soul on it.  There are so many lessons so let’s jump in for a few.

Getting to know people

Podcasts are an amazing way to get to know people.  Social media not always so much.  You may see a post saying:

‘I’m so sick of running after you’

and think it’s deep when in actual fact they are talking about the ice cream van.  Nothing worse of course, everyone deserves ice cream.

Right now I am thinking –

I feel deceived.

But that is only because my daughter watched an episode of a show we are enjoying  together WITHOUT ME.  Gutted, the wee rascal.

What people think

I laugh when I watch our dog stare at me.  Sometimes I am dancing and shaking and in the moment and I look and he is lying watching me with a blank expression on his face.  It cracks me up.  My guess is:

I hope all this crazy moving is making her hungry so she gets a snack and I can try and steal some.

Or

That looks fun but can we go for a walk now?

It’s a shame I can’t ask him what he thinks.  Be thankful for everyone who is able to open up to you and share a little bit of their soul.

Shame

Shame dies when stories are told in safe places. We are, at times, messy and your mess is your message.  When you feel strong enough to share, it’s how we learn and inspire change.  Perfection is boring.  I am so inspired by people who can wear their heart on their sleeve and admit when they have struggled or when they were wrong and what it taught them.  These conversations matter.  There are of course two sides to every story and we need to be sensitive to those involved.  It is safer to tell your story from a place of healing so take your time.  Don’t go on podcasts or social media until you are back to yourself.  This is SO hard though because you may think you are okay when you still have a bit to go.  Time gives us perspective.

Judge Less

We are wired to judge to keep us safe but when we can throw in compassion to the mix and a whole lot of curiosity, we will start to see the world in a more positive and hopeful way.  To quote one of my favourite writers, the messy and brilliant Matt Haig:

‘If we believe people must fall into the crudely divided binaries of ‘good’ and ‘bad’, we can easily risk judging ourselves forever because of one mistake.  We need kindness.  We need a way to see the difference between who people are and what they sometimes do.  And that includes us’.

Wow, powerful stuff.

Perception

How you are perceived has nothing to do with the type of person you really are.  You will be judged based on a person’s life experiences, beliefs and mental/emotional health at the time.  If someone is in a good place, they are more likely to appreciate a bright, gregarious personality.  If they are feeling low or tired, they may find it over powering, too loud or annoying.  Some may think you are over emotional whilst others will feel safe being around you.  Some people may love your bright pink lipstick and others may think it looks cheap.  None of this has anything to do with you as a person.  It’s not your responsibility to control other people’s emotions.  Be kind but be your realest, craziest self.  If you love to put others on a pedestal, it might be time to swap places and put yourself up there.  If you catch yourself judging others, it could be a sign you need to show yourself more love and compassion.

Mental illness

People can think they are doing the kindest thing when they are mentally unwell.  Pushing you away, trying to pull you close, saying the wrong thing when they think it’s the right thing, doing the wrong thing when they think it’s the perfect thing.  It is never ever personal.  All sorts of fears and thoughts and stories can get tangled up.  Everyone will tell you to let the narrative wash over you but this can be so hard to do if you feel hurt.  Get support and talk it out with someone you trust.  Take space from the person who is unwell if they have professional care.  You may feel like you want to help but if they are delusional, they won’t want you seeing them like that.

Things not to say to someone with a mental illness

‘Be good.’

‘You have a great life, I don’t get it’.

‘Why can’t you appreciate what you have?’.

‘You are so lucky’.

‘I can’t believe you would think that was ok’.

‘Stop being so selfish’.

 

Who you really are

In therapy I was introduced to a grading system and I think it is a brilliant way to take a step back and become more self aware.  This is graded from -5 up to + 5

– 5 and +5 will be a medical emergency because you will do things out of character and potentially be of harm to yourself or others.  Make a note at where you feel most yourself and most comfortable and use it as your guide.  So for example:

I feel my best at around a +2 – I have a nice amount of energy but I am able to relax and I can switch off.  I sleep well.  I have a positive mindset, am down to earth yet open minded.  I am a free spirit but have healthy boundaries.  I am a great listener.  I am a people pleaser and a big feeler.  I don’t take myself too seriously.

If I hop up to a +3 it can feel exciting and I can get even more creative and achieve lots but I need to be careful that my energy doesn’t continue to spiral upwards.  If I go down the scale then I am more anxious and I feel more critical thoughts and I feel heavier.  When I am hormonal, there are a couple of days within the month (not every month but most) where I can feel myself drop down the scale and I don’t feel like my usual self.

Visions

A strong and powerful vision and gut feeling is exciting.  But you need the right why and the best map, the right guide/mentor/people and the right tools.  Just because life can throw us some mega curve balls, it doesn’t mean you should give up.  You will be able to breathe again and paths will become clearer.

Therapy

It can be wonderful but it may take time to find the right person.  You also need to be ready for it and also be up front with your therapist about any triggers before you dive in.  Something that is very important to me is that I feel safe when I leave a session.

Money and Time

Money provides freedom and allows us to have wonderful experiences but the majority of us would choose time if we were given the option.  If you could get the last 10 years back, I bet you would grab them over the offer of £100,000.  My daughter told me last week that she wants to go back to Primary One again.  It really got me.  She has loved her time at school so much, she knows it’s time to go into the big world but she feels it.  It made me feel so emotional.

With a new decade, we learn SO much.  The biggest insights are often in our mistakes.  We are given this brief human experience to feel all the highs, lows and everything in between.  Whilst the natural thing to do would be to beat ourselves up with regrets, we have to be kind to ourselves.  And of course learn the patterns that are no good so you can avoid pain in the future.  This may require help.  Always ask for help.

Shot through the heart

There are certain people in this world that only you are meant to reach.  A legend is just a normal person who is extraordinary at something. Again, this can be down to personal perception.  And if that gift they have gets you to REALLY feel something then fantastic.  It could be a writer, singer, actor, teacher, dancer, speaker, coach, sportsman, politician, painter, skater, performer, whatever.

Pain

Pain doesn’t last.  Nobody can dodge it.  We are meant to feel it.  We need pain to grow, it shakes us up.  Sometimes it will hit an all time rock bottom but it inspires you to take action.  Action that has been needed for a long time.  Pain sucks but it can be the greatest catalyst for change.  All change starts with being honest.  I had an all time rock bottom low at the end of May 2023.  I wrote a song shortly after called No More Pain.  A year later and I now have the support I’ve been told I should have been offered as a priority back in 2020.  I have a physiatrist, a psychologist AND a psychiatric nurse, all part of the same team and sharing the same notes, helping me and for that I am so thankful.  Better late than never.

Even when you feel you have hit an all time low and life is just too hard and so confusing, there is still hope.  I missed so much of June 22/23 but this year I have been relishing every single moment.  Sports day, dance shows, concerts, trips, meals, walks, games, fun, love, chilling out, music, swimming, lying on a pink flamingo.  SO precious.

The path

The path can sometimes feel lonely but that doesn’t mean it is wrong.

Look for it

Look for the lessons in your hardest times.  Always.  You may not understand why bad things happen.  You may need to cry a lot or be angry, scared, confused or sad first.

Choice

You can still choose to be happy even when times are tough.  Hold onto the wee moments of joy for dear life, those glimmers of hope are all around us.

Follow

Follow the goosebumps.  Follow the heart.  Follow the soul.  Follow the hunger.

Being

You are a human being not a human doing.  Be more.

Appearance 

Our weight can fluctuate like the stockmarket due to our physical/mental health, medication, environment, sleep, hormones, relationships etc etc.  Be kind to yourself.  Aim for bright eyes and a calm face.  That looks so good on you.

I see you

Feeling seen, heard and understood is priceless.

Mindset

People who live with a mental illness can have better mental wellness than those with no mental illness.

Change

Time will change things.  When I launched the podcast, I was full of zest for life with a massive passion to help break down stigma. I was loving every minute.  There was a level of innocence to me, I trusted easily and saw the world through rainbow shades.  I had a lot to learn.  A year and a half later I was having my first ever mega breakdown.  I remember sitting in the acute hospital ward, being SO confused.  I recorded a podcast and put it out there for thousands of people to listen to.  I now have legal protection in place to ensure that if I ever get so unwell again, I will have all technology removed.  But part of me feels that this episode would have been useful for people.  To see someone so high on life sound so broken and confused just shows that it can happen to anyone.  We all have darkness and light within us and that is the law of being human.

Grudges

Don’t let grudges take root in the soul and turn into hatred.  Forgiveness is a beautiful life skill and of course a choice to replace a negative judgment of a person or situation with a positive feeling.  I remember being encouraged in a meditation to dance with someone (in my mind, heart and soul) that had hurt me.  When we can step back and view the person from a place of compassion, despite our pain and hurt feelings, we can avoid feelings of righteous indignation.  If we only see people as good or bad, we are going to be mentally inflexible.  However, if we can keep an open mind and remain curious, we will be able to cultivate a healthier mindset.  One of the greatest lessons from interviewing so many people is that we are all capable of growth and change.  Having a fixed mindset that implies ‘this is just the type of person they are’ can only hold us back.  Never put people in a box.

There is still so much I want to say.  I could easily fill a book but we will stop there for now.  Podcasts are amazing.  They show us a different perspective, they remind us to judge less and love more.  They allow us the space to remove shame.  Thank you so much if you have ever tuned in, been a guest or shared an episode.  So much love, Jojo x

 

Jojo Fraser - motivational speaker and wellness author/podcaster

 

Jojo Fraser aka ‘Mummy Jojo’  is an award-winning mental health researcher, author, podcaster and speaker, dubbed as ‘the Queen of positivity and a kindness advocate.   She is a Tedx speaker and a regular contributor on BBC radio.  Jojo is known for normalising discussions around our mental, emotional and spiritual health, making it accessible and relatable to all.  She has quickly grown a reputation for having a huge impact even on the most sceptical of people.

She is a mega foodie and water baby and loves going on adventures, wild swimming and music.

Connect with her across social @jojofrasermojo

(the old Instagram was hacked)

Listen to her Tedx talk about the power of removing our masks.

Contact – mummyjojoblog@gmail.com

 

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