Laura Johnston says 'Let's talk about it' with guests on her podcast Just Like The Moon (We Go Through Phases)
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LAURA Johnston – who is a freelance dance artist and works at Highland Hospice as arts co-ordinator – admits that when it came to her podcast, she just jumped in.
The podcast Laura hosts is Just Like The Moon (We Go Through Phases) which talks with guests about wellbeing and taking care of our mental health.
As Laura says: “I wanted to have open and honest conversations with fascinating people from all walks of life, in the hope of learning a few self-care tips and as a reminder that, no matter your situation, you are not walking alone.
“For the first one, I didn’t do any research, I’m one of these people who jumps into it, so I recorded it on my phone. For me it was about having a really healthy natural conversation. And what I was trying to promote was that it’s OK to talk about your ups and your downs.
“We’re used to showcasing our highlight reels on social media and even when people ask you how you’re doing you always say ‘I’m fine!’.”
The podcast has grown out of In The Light of the Moon, a dance piece Laura created for the former dance company Plan B, based on her recovery from an eating disorder she had for eight years.
The original podcast that went with that was to create soundbites for the dance piece’s soundtrack.
When dance company Plan B close last year, Laura took on freelance dance work.
“The podcast has been my saving grace through lockdown because all of my dance work stopped.
“I also work part-time for the Highland Hospice and I was furloughed from that.
“So you suddenly go from 50 to 60 hours creating dance and making things with and for people to doing nothing but staring at four walls.
“That was a bit of a loss of identity, so I really delved into the podcast even more and really invested in it – and by doing that I’ve decided I want to go on to train to become a counsellor.”
Initially, Laura asked people she knew or who lived locally to take part in the podcast as her guest.
“I wanted the podcast to be really natural so to normalise conversations talking about difficult times, I recorded in cafes with the sound of chinking coffee cups.
“Anyone who does podcasts knows that you need decent audio, but I learned better and now I record primarily on Zoom because you can record audio separately and you can edit out my background noises.
“It’s taken me a little time to be confident to ask people I don’t know. But I’ve found out that the beauty is when you are asking people to share stories that will help others, people are always keen to say yes.
“And I think that is what I found so amazing. I’ve found it really comforting and you feel less nervous because actually everyone wants to talk, everyone wants to share, we’re all human.
“With telling stories it’s about the humanity of it. It’s not about getting that story that is going to tug at people’s hearts, it’s about getting the story that everyone can go ‘I totally relate to that’.”
Laura’s guest on Monday is Paula ‘Must Try Harder’ McGuire who has gone from an anxious recluse to speaker, author and, some days, trainee astronaut – having changed her name officially to Paula ‘Must Try Harder’ McGuire!
On September 7, Sylvia Mac, founder of Love Disfigure, a child burn survivor, body campaigner and blogger, diverse model and cross continent swimmer talks to Laura.
And you can still hear the podcast Laura did this week with number one bestselling author and award-winning comedian and mental health campaigner Dave Chawner who uses his comedy “to make mental health for males more palatable” and talks really openly everywhere from BBC, Channel 5 and morning programme Lorraine about his battle with anorexia and his recovery experience.
“The podcast has been brilliant but it also just feeds my soul!” Laura says.
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