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“It’s in My Blood” Feature #6: Jayne Bailey

"It's in My Blood" Series Feature #6: Jayne Bailey |

Featuring Jayne Baily of “The Daily Manic”

Jayne runs a great series on her blog called “Living Well with Chronic Illness”, which I’m always eager to read. The perspectives provided by other people are always useful either for future application, or reflection. She works as a life coach and gets a lot of satisfaction from her job, which can be a pretty rare thing! She’s also very crafty, designing clothes and textiles, sewing and knitting all on her own! Writing is a newer passion in comparison, which just goes to prove that it’s never too late to discover a new hobby. Over to Jayne for now!

*Click here to submit your own entry.


Hi Sheryl 🙂 I learnt to sew when I was at primary school, and studied textiles and dress up to degree level. I think my grandmother was the one who first inspired me, but my dad was quite good at sewing too. He replaced the covers on our sofas when I was young, and made our bridesmaid dresses too (I haven’t seen him with a sewing machine since, so his timing of inspiring me was definitely spot on!).

I then learnt about pattern cutting and designing my own clothing at school, and continued at University. I used to make formal dresses for University balls, and I also made my sister’s wedding dress about 16 years ago. My sister’s wedding dress was the last thing I really made. Work kind of took over my spare time and with my health condition now, I can no longer sit upright at a table for long periods. So, other than making the odd set of curtains, I’ve have had to say goodbye to this passion 🙁

A throw in progress by Jayne.
Throws in progress by Jayne
A throw in progress by Jayne.


  • What about sewing and knitting do you enjoy?
    I enjoy the quiet time I get to do this. I find it pretty relaxing, and it’s also generally in a position that my body can handle with my legs up on the sofa!

    My grandma used to sew entire dresses for us as kids until her hands started to tremble from old age. It was such an amazing skill!

  • Do you also do things the ‘old school’ way? I.e. dream up, design, and craft it all from scratch?
    I usually need some sort of pattern or set of instructions, and then I adapt it for who I am making it for. I used the same approach when sewing clothes!
  • What sort of stuff do you like sewing/knitting up? Dresses? Accessories?
    I’ve crocheted hats and scarves, but the stuff I have most recently discovered is big knitting and making throws for chairs/beds.
  • You mentioned that you rarely sew now due to the inability to sit up for too long. Do you miss sewing and how do you replace this activity if so?
    I guess the replacement for my sewing has been the crocheting and knitting but even with that, I need a clear day to start it. At the moment, some work projects are taking my time away from that, because bringing money through the door is a necessity.
  • Any tips for those who’d like to take up this hobby?
    Don’t be afraid to experiment with a pattern or instructions you are given. It’s where your full creativity comes from and can be quite satisfying. You also learn a heap too. Youtube is also a really good place to find out how to knit or crochet (or to refresh your memory in my case!).
Completed throw handmade by Jayne.
Completed throw handmade by Jayne
Beautiful knit for a beautiful kid!
Beautiful knit for a beautiful kid!


  • You mentioned that you recently discovered a love for writing. Did this start from blogging?
    For my Masters and for my career, I wrote a lot. Crafting communication messages and writing all manner of reports. When I became ill, I began journaling my days and experiences, and found that I really quite liked expressing myself that way.
  • What aspect of writing did you fall in love with?
    Telling the story in a way that is helpful to others. Injecting some of my own humour too, since doing it verbally became restricted by my health condition (I now have an inability to talk at length or laugh too much, so I express myself in my writing).
  • What is your writing style like?
    Mostly matter of fact and not taking myself too seriously. Occasionally opinionated on stuff that matters to me, but mostly I would describe myself as being a writer for everyone (so I am mindful of offending anyone with my views).
  • Apart from health blogging, what other stuff do you write about?
    I still write as part of my work in change management. I pull together proposals, reports and communications and love losing myself in the flow of writing something. It appeals to the completer finisher in me.
  • What sort of books or genres would you say you admire? Do they influence your own writing style?
    I enjoy writing by people who don’t take life too seriously but who also are good at expressing ways to live life as best they can. I like positive, inspiring stuff.
  • What are your thoughts on the link between reading and writing well?
    I definitely think there’s a link since what you read inspires how you write. Your own particular style though is yours, and that comes from continued practice.
  • How do you come up with post ideas for your blog?
    They are a combination of what challenges I am facing, and how I overcome or deal with them. But also what insights I think others would be appreciative in respect of their own lives.
  • Any tips for bloggers who want to get started but don’t know where or what to write about?
    Just follow your heart and write. I’ve found writing extremely helpful for my own situation – it has guided me towards a better managed life, and insights about my own wellbeing.
  • Do you prefer to type on the computer or write by pen or pencil? Do you think it makes a difference?
    Definitely the computer because I edit my stuff a lot. I start out with a rough draft and keep going over it and finessing it until I’m happy with it. Pen or pencil would not allow me that flexibility or ability to create on the run.
  • Do you keep any notebooks, diaries or list? Do you find that they help you in your life?
    My blog and my posts are my notebooks – pretty much everything I’ve ever jotted down is there, or it’s in Onenote on my phone ready to become a post.

Jayne Bailey at her desk.
Jayne Bailey at her desk


  • You mentioned that this is one of your biggest passions in life. I think it’s wonderful that your job is so meaningful and brings you so much joy! Perhaps you can tell us how it all began? Was it an idea that popped in your head one day, or you had specific goals right from the start?
    I have always worked in project type roles but as my career progressed I became more curious about what it takes people to change. So the latter half of my career has been in more purist change management, learning and development roles.

    More recently, I’ve become interested in personal change, as it relates to illness due to my own experiences, and am now marrying the two aspects together to help individuals manage their own change.

  • Which aspect of your job is the most enjoyable for you?
    Seeing people achieve their goals. I get the biggest kick out of that. I also like work generally – that feeling of achieving something – the completer/finisher in me.
  • What about the most stressful or difficult?
    It would be the volume of work. I have an adrenaline problem which compels me to be busy and get revved up. Nowadays, if I take on too much or talk too much, I get extremely fatigued and have lots of headaches/migraines, undesirable adrenaline and blood pressure impacts.
  • Running your own business means covering all aspects of it, from finance to planning and execution. Do you delegate any work or do it all by yourself?
    It’s all pretty much done by myself at the moment at a pace I can handle. I work very part-time.
  • If you run it all on your own, do you enjoy it, or would it be better if there was someone else to help out?
    I still enjoy it, but some days it can be hard especially when my body isn’t playing ball and there’s a deadline. Those days are hard. I do have back up support however, and I do use it when I need it.
  • What are your clients like? Are they very different?
    I have a couple of corporate and private clients. Everyone is different, but often the problems they are navigating are similar. That’s what makes change management so interesting – the differences you find in the people, and how they manage certain situations.
  • Big knitting needles
    Big knitting needles (how do you even use these, Jayne?!)

  • Where are they mostly from? From your own country, or all over the world?
    Australia at the moment. I’m hoping to expand more globally with some online/ecommerce change products and services I am in the middle of developing and launching.
  • Is your business sustainable for your lifestyle and medical bills?
    It’s manageable but it’s not easy, especially given I can only work predominantly from home these days. I was the major breadwinner until I got sick. Now hubby and I are on par salary wise, and I’m earning about a quarter of what I used to bring home. We’ve had to make a lot of changes to reduce our expenses so we can live. Not easy when you have small children but you do what you have to do. There are people worse off than us.
  • Are you looking to expand your business in future, and if so, in what ways?
    I’m hoping to offer my knowledge more in an online capacity, which is more affordable for customers and still allows me to participate in something I love.
  • How do you manage it when sick. For e.g., if you get hospitalised.
    That’s always on my mind so hence reinventing what I do to be more online and more self serve. If I get sick these days, stuff just has to get deferred since my health is paramount. I think I’ve got to a place where I know what not to do to ensure I don’t get badly sick. A lot is down to how I manage my day and how I pace myself (or not).
  • Tips for people who aspire to take up this line of work?
    I think the overriding thing is to find something you are passionate about. I kind of fell into change management, but I love it and can’t ever see me falling out of it! Follow your passion basically, and find a way to make it work for you.
  • Is it necessary to have some sort of qualification or degree in your line of work?
    To become a coach you need a coaching certificate ideally accredited by the International Coaching Federation. To work in the broader field of change management, you can get accredited in one of the change methodologies (PROSCI or PCI for example).
  • If I’m searching for a life coach, how do I go about finding one, and determining if he or she would be most suitable for my needs?
    If you are searching for a life coach to have sessions with in person, it’s a really good idea to meet them or have some experience of them first, so you can establish you have a connection. Having trust and rapport is really important.
  • What are your personal, unique qualities as a life coach?
    In terms of my approach as an online life coach, I believe my qualities of honesty, pragmatism, empathy, positivity and strong outcome orientation are probably what best describe what I can bring to the process. For those with chronic illness who are seeking change in their lives, I believe the first hand experience I’ve had in navigating illness myself is also extremely beneficial to these relationships.
Handmade wedding dress by Jayne Bailey
Divine handmade wedding dress by Jayne for her sister

*All images here used with permission from Jayne Bailey. Click here to submit your own entry and to check out more people!

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Jayne Lives with the Following Illnesses:

Learn more about her experiences living with them on her blog.

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Contributor Bio

Jayne Bailey profile

My name is Jayne Bailey and in 2015, at age 44, I was diagnosed with a complex health condition. Prior to that I had a successful career in the corporate world as a change coach and advisor. A little ironic that I was about to go through a pretty significant change myself! I now work part-time mostly from home and I write about life, change and health at The Daily Manic and for Thrive Global. Find her here: Facebook, Pinterest & Twitter.

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Lisa Ehrman
October 23, 2017 11:00

I loved sewing and crochet, but it’s too painful now. You’re very talented 🙂

Sheryl Chan
October 23, 2017 12:33
Reply to  Lisa Ehrman

She is, isn’t she? That wedding dress is absolutely divine 🙂