My name is Gail Donnan and I have over 25 years’ experience in the well-being industry. I began my journey as a beauty therapist and after my training I went on to work in salons, my interest in holistic therapies moved me in the direction of Reiki, Indian Head Massage and Hot Stone Massage.
I worked for various natural skincare companies. After having a career break to bring up my daughter I returned to work as a volunteer therapist for a charity supporting cancer patients and their carers to be able to have time out for themselves. When my daughter turned school age I returned to work part time teaching beauty and holistic therapies in further education which was a real honour for six years.
During this time one of my close friends was dealt the devastating news that her cancer had returned and she passed away within 18 months. She left behind her husband and her six year old little boy. My whole world was turned upside down; I began questioning my own mortality and the precious gift that is life. I began to suffer from grief, anxiety, panic and depression and became very scared, as I thought my anxiety was never going to go away. This situation had changed my core values dramatically and I entered a dark period.
One lonely, dark day I decided to re-visit my reiki roots and use meditation again. Meditation gave me some space away from my churning thoughts, allowing me to sleep for the first time in months and I began to feel better. This led me to research ego and mindfulness and I went on to gain qualifications in meditation teaching, mindfulness and Buddhism. I again took another leap and set up local meditation classes and mindfulness workshops and as a teacher, passing on information and seeing the joy it gave to others made me realise there was hope.
In 2015 I set up The Mindfulspace Wellbeing Company to encourage the use of mindfulness and meditation workshops and classes. A BBC journalist picked up my story and filmed a piece of my work in schools for a BBC documentary. In 2016 I left teaching and opened my wellness and teaching centre in 2017 and it has become a hub for like-minded souls, both individually and professionals. I worked hard creating courses and gaining accreditation with an awarding body.
Within six months the centre had expanded to double its size and we added regular meditation classes, one to one mindfulness therapy program, a treatment menu, self-development workshops, Bach Flower Remedies, hypnotherapy, yoga, Pilates, sound therapies, Qi gong, baby and toddler groups and retreats. I have written accredited diplomas ranging from body massage, mindfulness, meditation teaching, Indian head massage, holistic facials, reiki, deep tissue massage and Mental Health First Aid and Wellness at work.
The centre also support local charities, I speak about mental health issues and take my work out into the community. In 2019 I published my first book which is dedicated to my friend that passed away – The Gateway – A journey to reclaim your power from stress and anxiety and my second book, The Gateway – Junior edition, supporting children’s mental health will be available in February 2020.
In 2018 I was given the honour of becoming an ambassador for Psychologies magazine Life Leap Club, I write regular blogs for them along with industry publications. I am also a volunteer for the global mindfulness charity Street Wisdom. I also provide free recordings of meditations which are on my website www.gaildonnan.com and have a weekly meditation slot on Inspire Radio.
Facebook: @wellbeingyorkshire, @riponwellbeingstudio
Instagram: @gaildonnanauthor, @mindfulspacemeditation