Celia Gaze, Founder and Managing Director at The Wellbeing Farm Ltd
Providing a fun, unique and magical venue for weddings, parties and corporate and training events
With the benefit of hindsight, I went back to work too early after having my first child. A programme director for the NHS – overseeing many complex projects – I became overwhelmed by stress: chest pains, feeling judged and tearful, and no longer able to function as I had for the past 14 years.
It took me a long time to admit to myself I was burnt out. I’d been fearful of having anything stress-related on my medical records in case it put me in jeopardy getting a corporate role elsewhere, but in 2010 I realised there was much more to life than what I was putting myself through. That year I resigned and went on my own personal road to recovery – enjoying my time at home as a mum and enrolling on all sorts of stress-related courses so I could get a handle on what had happened to me.
Taking over my partner’s neglected farm, the dream was to create a venue that had wellbeing at its core. Following many challenges, everything changed when I put one of dad’s bow ties on my llama – a crazy idea that piqued people’s interest. A sight which is now integral to our brand identity, it definitely makes us stand out from the crowd!
Since opening the farm in 2013, I’ve streamlined my offering from 14 different on-site business ventures to focusing purely on events – especially weddings, where our venue has become widely recognised within the industry following a number of award wins.
On 10 January 2020, a book about my journey – ‘Why Put a Bow Tie on a Llama?’ – is being published by Practical Inspiration. Available to pre-order on Amazon, it’s an honest account of all the remarkable lessons I’ve learned since going self-employed and chronicles the outcomes of the many challenges I’ve faced – including tribunals; near bankruptcy; court hearings; staff issues; system problems; and what I did to survive to tell the tale.
Recovering from corporate burnout gave me the impetus to transform myself, so for those people reading my story who are currently in a similar situation, please don’t lose hope. Always remember that it IS possible to follow your dreams and go on to achieve them.