Alexandra Walker

Alexandra Walker is a Life Coach, Author and Musician based in the North West Highlands of Scotland. She had the life of her dreams, graduating top of the science faculty at St Andrews University. Achieving a Doctorate in Applied Mathematics. Demonstrating a flair for music that saw her perform Grieg’s piano concerto and composing and producing a successful musical. Then rising to leadership positions in the civil service and charitable sector in the heart of London for 15 years.

In the summer of 2023, Alexandra left her corporate career to launch her brand new business, Damsel Not In Distress. She came up with this name as she is no longer a damsel in distress and is ready to help thousands of women take their own transformative journeys.

In August of 2023, Alexandra released her new book ‘Reclaiming Christmas: Four Dimensions of Healing’. In this book, Alexandra shares her experience of how she went from loving and being excited about Christmas to finding it almost impossible to participate in festive activities. In her own words: ‘My Christmas joy was stolen from me by emotional abuse that I experienced from my father. I faced this throughout my life, and Christmas was often a particular flashpoint. She  has a Level 5 Diploma in Nutrition, Health and Wellness Coaching and a Women’s Health and Wellness Coach Certification with Well College Global, and Level 3 and Level 5 Diplomas in Counseling. She is an Accredited Member of the ACCPH ( Accredited Counselors, Coaches, Psychotherapists and Hypnotherapists)

Please share your early life experiences

I am now living my true calling as a life coach, author and musician – but things didn’t start out that way. Some challenging life experiences have led me to where I am today. I was an only child, so I learned to be pretty self sufficient. My mother was a gentle soul who doted on me but, unfortunately, my father was a more complicated personality. I have come to understand that I suffered emotional abuse from him from a very young age. My first memory of him is being wary. From my experiences, I would describe emotional abuse as behavior which is calculated to cause emotional harm. My father was a Jekyll and Hyde character, to borrow from the Robert Louis Stevenson novella. One of the most difficult aspects was that he could be

a kind, loving parent – but he could also unpredictably be sullen and dark, or very angry, and these characteristics were exacerbated by alcohol. I strove to be perfect to avoid an outburst from happening. Of course, it’s great for a child to be well disciplined, but taking it this far took a big toll on my mental health.

My school was an absolute haven for me. It was a comparatively small school, and it felt like family to me – I could be myself and I made some really great friends. I was a studious child, and school allowed me to focus on the things I truly loved – math, music and art!

My top value has always been integrity, and I think the key value that my parents instilled in me was the importance of working hard. The blessing in that for me now is that I have high levels of discipline, and am able to complete necessary tasks even if I don’t find them particularly inspiring!


Please share with us your career journey and what you learnt about yourself in this process

When I finished my undergraduate math degree, I went on to do a doctorate in applied mathematics, which was related to the beautiful northern lights! I was really attracted to math when I was younger, partly because I had the brain for it and partly because I loved the predictability and logic of it – there was always a correct answer if you knew how to find it, which can be different to more complex, messy experiences we have in life! However, I discovered that this type of research didn’t inspire me – whilst it was adding to the sum of human knowledge, which is an important endeavor, it wasn’t directly helping people, and I discovered that this mattered to me.

I went on to pursue a career in the civil service and charitable sector in London for fifteen years. I worked in many areas, including international aid, social care policy and environmental issues, which was very stimulating. My favorite job was when I was working in a small organization – I discovered that I prefer to be able to be involved in activities across an organization, rather than a more specialized cog in a bigger machine. I also loved the commonality of purpose in the senior team there, it makes such a difference!

However, I never quite settled in my career after that. I kept telling my friends that, this time, I had found my “dream job” – but that then turned out not to be true…

What led you to start Damsel Not In Distress? 

The last few years have been a real rollercoaster for me and my husband. My father’s alcoholism escalated which led to our estrangement in 2022, and then he died last summer.

I had already done work for over a decade with trusted professionals, to understand why I had developed a range of mental health problems including obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety, as well as chronic insomnia. However, it was only at the point of estrangement that I could fully come to terms with the impact his emotional abuse had had on me.

At this point, I felt a huge pull to help other recovering souls to thrive after life challenges – which could be similar or different to mine. I wanted to use the coaching skills I’d built up whilst leading teams, and I built on that experience with diplomas in counseling and health and wellness coaching.

Since last summer, I have been launching my new business, whilst also of course juggling the complex grief which has accompanied those events.

What have been your proudest moments? 

My proudest moments tend to revolve around being brave to tell my story to help others. My first real experience of this was a few years ago, publishing a blog about my mental health challenges as a senior leader in my organization, to help break the stigma that can still exist around these issues. More recently, I have stepped this up a gear or two to raise awareness of emotional abuse – which I don’t believe is all that well understood. I published my first book, Reclaiming Christmas, last summer – it tells the story of how I redeemed the festive season, which had been tarnished as a flashpoint for my father’s difficult behavior. I did this by liberating my mind, emotions, body and spirit!

Then, earlier this year, I told my story to a UK national newspaper. This was a massive moment for me – revealing that my father had been a UK politician for nearly twenty years. I felt a responsibility to do this to raise awareness, since I am free to speak about what happened to me in a way that others who suffer abuse often are not for various reasons.

What are some of the biggest misconceptions of doing inner work?

I think sometimes people can pitch a particular method of doing inner work as “the” way to get results – I think often they do this with the very best intentions, since they have achieved great results and want to share that with everyone. However, I feel that we’re all different and it’s up to each one of us to figure out what works for us, given our particular characteristics and circumstances.

Also, people will sometimes say that a method will only work properly if done very regularly, for example once or twice a day. Whilst I have found this to be true in some cases, for example, when learning to breathe more healthily, I tend to take a more pragmatic view.  For example, I have found journalling to be a very effective tool, but I have never journalled every day! It’s a practice I use when I feel the need, perhaps once or several times a week. Physical exercise is a good analogy – exercising once in a blue moon won’t help us, but we also don’t have to exercise every day, in fact that might cause us to give up.

I think this boils down to having a combination of healthy discipline alongside a curiosity to find out what really works for you. This does involve trying out a technique for a decent amount of time, to give it a chance to work. Having the input of a coach can be helpful here, to add some accountability and encouragement to the process!

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by people overcoming serious challenges, and turning something harsh or tragic into something beautiful.  A Beautiful Mind is one of my favorite films. It’s based on the story of mathematician John Nash, a genius who was plagued by complex mental health issues. He eventually managed to overcome ugly odds and was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. The film also showed him reaching a place of peace with his demons. One of the key visions I have had for Damsel Not In Distress is that I want to support recovering souls to thrive after challenges by giving them a bunch of keys (knowledge, tools) as well as a bunch of flowers (creative inspiration)!

How do you look after your emotional well-being?

I have found that I need to nurture my mind, emotions, body and spirit to really look after myself. I explained more about this in Reclaiming Christmas. For example, I liberated my mind by writing and repeating powerful, tailored positive affirmations – but not so positive that I found them unbelievable! I liberated my emotions by having ways to deal with the strong swings of emotion that I knew would inevitably come up – including being gentle with myself on down days, which allowed me to recover more  quickly. I liberated my body through mindful breathing, walking and – my personal favorite – improvised dancing! And I liberated my spirit by focusing on the light – I became very attached to candles – and by really leaning into my intuition, that calm, wise voice within.

For me, freedom is about being able to express myself authentically and be accepted. With freedom comes responsibility – which includes being mindful of others so that my freedom doesn’t impinge unfairly on them.

How do you define freedom?

What a great question! For me, freedom is about being able to express myself authentically and be accepted. With freedom comes responsibility – which includes being mindful of others so that my freedom doesn’t impinge unfairly on them.

Equally, I want to be open to constructive challenges and different ways of thinking.  We also have the freedom to change our minds without being embarrassed – life is a journey and we can constantly learn and evolve if we’re open to it!

I have also found freedom in my Christian faith, which has undergone its own evolution over time. Trusting that God is watching over me and my endeavors means that I don’t have to sweat the small stuff – although I would freely admit that I’m still learning on that front!

 What experiences do you enjoy during your free time?

My top love is hillwalking! When Simon and I lived in London, I decided that I wanted to climb all the Scottish hills over 3000 feet tall, known as the Munros. Which was a crazy ambition given that we had to travel over 500 miles just to get to the hills every time we wanted to climb one! There are 282 of them in total, and we completed them in 2021. Hillwalking has been a particularly treasured experience for me on my healing journey – there’s something about putting one foot in front of the other for hours on end, watching the landscape transform slowly around you, which I find meditative and inspiring! I also love playing and listening to music – I play the piano, sing, and write songs. I hope that some of my songs will feature in my business down the line!

What’s next for Alexandra?

Having produced three practical self-study courses, this year I plan to develop online coaching programmes which will provide tools and support to move forward freely and boldly after life challenges! I also plan to launch Reclaim Your Christmas next November – a course which will support people to redeem the festive season which may have been complicated for them for various reasons, such as grief, divorce, difficult previous Christmas memories, or family challenges such as mine.

Another key upcoming project is to write my second book. I want to explore my healing journey in more detail, following up on Reclaiming Christmas. I’ll look at the different stages I went through, including what it felt like to be stuck in mental health problems for so many years in my early adulthood, and how I began to be able to work through them. Then I’ll unpack the great upheaval I have lived through over the past few years, before exploring my homecoming – letting go of my painful past and moving into my exciting new purpose!

Overall, my core aims this year are for my next book to be an Amazon bestseller, and to sell my programmes and books to support at least 1,000 people so that they can move forward after life challenges and fully flourish and blossom!

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