Cornelia Gräf is a German content creator with a love for languages. After graduating with an M.A. in German and English Philology (Linguistics), she worked as a communications officer for the Student Services in Germany, before moving to New York City for an internship at the German Center for Research and Innovation. On returning to Germany, Cornelia decided to become a freelancer, enabling her to balance managing a family life and taking care of her own well-being. In a bid to bring some positivity into the world, she has also completed several courses on natural health topics and positive psychology to become a life coach.
Hi Cornelia! Where in the world are you based?
Hi, I am currently based in Essen in the German Ruhr Area. Originally, I am from Heidelberg in the south of Germany. In non-pandemic times I would divide my time between the two cities. But I have also lived in the UK and in New York, a place that will always be in my heart.
How long have you been a freelance content creator and what drew you to this profession?
I have been a freelance content creator for more than five years now. Languages seem to be something I am naturally drawn to and always have been my strong suit. When I was four, an American family became our neighbours and so I learned English easily from an early age on. Of course, in school languages were a favourite subject and finally I decided to study German and English linguistics. What I find fascinating is that languages relate to everyone, every day – or to quote Paul Watzlawick: One cannot not communicate.
What does your average week look like?
Up until recently I wouldn’t have had an average week, as I would be travelling a lot back and forth in Germany as friends and family are quite scattered across the country.
But for a bit over a year, I’ve been renting a small, cosy office here in Essen, just a ten-minute drive from the small flat I am sharing with my boyfriend and our dog. As my boyfriend works nightshifts as a nurse, he’s got quite an unusual schedule. So, on the days he’s working, I would take over all of the chores and would go on afternoon walks with our dog, which makes days quite busy. During his days off, everything is more relaxed.
How do you manage your work-life balance?
Being a freelance content creator gives you an amazing opportunity for a healthy work-life balance – if you’re able to say “no” from time to time and are able to accept that taking days off results almost always in some kind of income loss. Having an office away from home helps me create that “Feierabend”-feeling as we say in German, meaning if I am at home, I am (more or less) off-duty. Also, I try to take one day a week – be it Sunday or any other day – off to relax and gain new energy.
What’s your ideal way to spend a day off?
If weather and circumstances allow, I love going on small trips with my partner. Exploring a new city or the countryside before treating ourselves to a lovely dinner at a restaurant is a great way to spend a day off. However, especially during wintertime I also enjoy watching TV while doing an old-school jigsaw puzzle. Another great way for me to get my mind off every day business is spending hours in the kitchen cooking and baking.
What made you want to become a life coach?
There are several reasons for that. Like many others who pursue such a career I’ve experienced some tough times myself and so you get in touch with ways and methods to maintain your physical and mental health. Secondly, when I was a student at Heidelberg University, I worked for three years at their student counselling and career service. Counselling students was a very rewarding experience for me. My intention was to have content creation as something that satisfies the mind and coaching to satisfy the heart. It turns out, that I am combining my expertise in both fields now by creating web content for other health practitioners.
If you could go back to when you first started writing, what advice would you give yourself?
Trust your capabilities, know your worth and keep going.
What are your goals for 2021?
Stay happy and healthy – and spend less time reading online comment sections, which will only make you feel upset.