How I got a pay rise, better sleep and my middle-aged mojo back

How I got a pay rise, better sleep and my middle-aged mojo back… and so can you! It’s all down to the revival of ancient Chinese practice BaZi, VICTORIA WOODHALL says

  • How is 2023 so far for you? Victoria Woodhall says she is making ‘great strides’
  • Credits ancient Chinese astrology reading technique with good start to her year
  • BaZi, practiced here by Katie Brindle, was used by nobility to answer questions
  • READ MORE:  Oscar Cainer’s horoscope: How will your love life fare in 2023?

How is 2023 so far for you? I’m making great strides, thanks to an ancient but new-to-these-shores Chinese astrology reading that in the space of six months has already netted me a pay rise, given me a new string to my career bow and helped me sleep.

At the age of 55, I’d go as far as saying it is almost entirely responsible for my rediscovered zingy new energy and laser-sharp focus.

BaZi (baah-zee) chart reading was used by the Chinese nobility to answer the big questions in life: Who am I? What’s my purpose? Am I making the right choices? How do I live a long, healthy, vibrant life?

Now, it’s quietly gaining traction to become the secret superpower of forward-thinking midlife women, including Trinny Woodall, Lisa Snowdon and Lady Helen Taylor. Broadcaster Fearne Cotton visited Chinese medicine practitioner Katie Brindle to have hers read. ‘My BaZi chart reading has changed my life. I would never say that flippantly,’ she said. After my own reading, all I can say is I’m with Fearne. So, what’s it all about?

I’m making great strides already this year, thanks to an ancient but new-to-these-shores Chinese astrology reading that in the space of six months has already netted me a pay rise

Your Chinese astrological chart reveals the particular ‘energy’ in the universe at the very moment you were born. If you live in harmony with that energy — so the theory goes — you’re on a path to living your best life, avoiding illness, and even extending your lifespan.

Often, people come to Katie feeling stuck, with health niggles such as insomnia, weight gain, low mood and wondering what the next chapter of their life holds.

You submit your date, time and place of birth before Katie gets under the bonnet of what makes you tick and helps you understand the meaning of the challenges you’ve been through. For seven years, she has studied BaZi with a master practitioner in Beijing and still pings all her findings to him to be verified.

I already knew I was born in the Year of the Ram (thank you, Google). Each of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals has its own characteristics. Rams are also lambs and can be meek as well as stubborn, and surprisingly well mannered, apparently.

But that’s only a small part of your chart. Chinese astrology draws on the Five Element theory — that there are five energies in the universe: Earth, Fire, Water, Metal and Wood. Each of us has a dominant energy based on the day we were born. We also have a yin (passive) or a yang (active) dominance too.

These two things give us what Katie calls our ‘soul purpose’ — what we’re on this Earth to do. Health, wealth and happiness apparently come from balance and it’s Katie’s job to help you find it.

I’m ‘yang fire’, which means I’m destined to shine brightly, but I am also in danger of overwork and burnout. Katie told me I was giving too much energy to the wrong things and hiding my true light under a bushel. I needed to put myself out in the public domain more and be more assertive about my value at work, while also saying no to things.

With Chinese New Year this coming Sunday ushering in the Year of the Rabbit, Chinese medicine practitioner Katie Brindle (pictured) shares below how it will be for you…

I also needed to balance out my fiery yang tendencies by nourishing my wood and water elements and being more yin. This rang true. She was telling me things that deep down I knew but had chosen to ignore. So I made a conscious effort to ‘offset’ my busy-ness with the calming ‘yin’ practices Katie prescribed.

She gave me a simple grounding routine before bed — I run a shallow bath or washing-up bowl of warm water and rest my feet in it for few minutes to unblock energy channels and prepare my body for sleep. It also helps nurture my ‘water’ side.


Certain character traits are attributed to being yin or yang, but we each have shades of both. So even if you are an introverted and imaginative, as is typical in a yin person, you may still be courageous and confident. Open your mind and choose your type here.

Yin: Introvert, relaxed, reserved, organised, nurturing, contemplative, detached, imaginative

Yang: Extrovert, ambitious, proactive, adventurous, enabling, optimistic, emotional, industrious.


I admit I was sceptical at first, but I can see how effective this is as a wind-down tactic.

Another of her recommendations is for me to split my lunch hour into two, taking a half-hour break at 3.30pm to recharge my batteries. Rather than trying to push or ‘sugar’ my way through the 4pm slump, I rest and recharge. This is BaZi in action, understanding my energy and working with it.

In order to nourish my wood element I needed to plan more meticulously, keep my boundaries and not overdo things. I have to write a ‘love list’ of all the things I love doing, put the list in order and do more of those at the top.

To counteract stress — I’m also mother of two teenagers — there’s a ‘rescue breath’ ritual that I try to incorporate into my day. Whenever I sit down, I must breathe in deeply with eyes closed and on the long out breath imagine an inner smile extending below my navel.

Since making these changes, I’ve found the courage to set up an online platform teaching Rocket Yoga, a faster type of yoga, which I also do live online with beauty expert Trinny Woodall (@victoriawoodhall).

Day to day, I’m making better choices based on a knowledge of who I am and what I need to thrive, which in turn gives me more energy and success.

And touch wood, I haven’t got a single winter bug since my reading.


With Chinese New Year this coming Sunday ushering in the Year of the Rabbit, Chinese medicine practitioner Katie Brindle shares how it will be for you…

Chinese medicine practitioner Katie Brindle shares how this lunar new year will be for you, according to the Chinese horoscope


Birth years: 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022

An easier year, less intense, happier, more restful with time for much needed relaxation. You should be able to build on the successes of 2022, professionally and personally.

A natural leader, you will attract support this Rabbit year where you need it most — you will not be alone. 2023 will be a good year to launch new projects and plans but make sure that you prepare properly and avoid cutting corners or you could find you need to go back to the beginning and start over.

February, June, October and November will be particularly good for you, with Tigers born in 1962 and 1974 being the luckiest throughout 2023.


Birth years: 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023

The start of your new 12-year cycle, this year especially will empower you to encourage others to share your love of peace, tranquillity and harmony.

You will find many new opportunities coming your way, whether that’s a new home, setting up a business, getting married or starting a family. You are likely to be successful and happy. As one of the best years in your 12-year cycle, now is the time to think big and forge the path you truly desire.

March, July, October and November will be good for you, with Rabbits born in 1963 and 1975 being particularly fortunate.


Birth years: 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013

As a snake, you are intelligent, cultured, elegant and refined. You resonate with Rabbit’s delicate energy. You will enjoy a year of creativity, beauty and even indulgence. 2023 will be a time for you to find contentment and relaxation both in the home and in your social sphere. You can be assured of good times ahead. January, April, May and September will be your best months, with Snakes born in 1953 and 1965 being most fortunate.


Birth years: 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014

Last year was likely to have been a good one for you, highlighting what needed to be cleared away. 2023 will be the year to carve out and consolidate the path you want to be on. Business and personal endeavours will flourish. Aim to make deeper, meaningful relationships, rather than the sometimes superficial friendships that Horses are inclined to make.

February, June, July and October will be particularly good for you, with Horses born in 1942, 2002, 1954 and 2014 being the most fortunate.


Birth years: 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021

Gentle and solid, you appreciate peace and harmony in all of your connections, so the Rabbit energy of 2023 will be very welcome, soothing and calming any relationships that need a little TLC.

Both your health and your life should improve as the year progresses and you face fewer of the obstacles you experienced in 2022.

May, September and December will be your best months, with those born in 1973 and 1985 being particularly fortunate.


Birth years: 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012

With few problems to contend with during 2023, you will find peace and harmony after the trials of 2022 and its turbulent year of the Tiger energy.

This peace will bring good fortune and stability to your life, allowing you to enjoy good friends, social situations and, most of all, calm.

Make the most of the relaxed and serene energy of this year and take good care of your health as you prepare for the start of your next 12-year cycle.

April, August, September and December will be especially good for you, with Dragons born in 1952 and 1964 being the luckiest.


Birth years: 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015

For you, the rabbit is highly compatible, so this Rabbit year will be especially lucky. In fact, it is likely to be one of the best years of your 12-year cycle.

Focus on self-care and healing, making sure you don’t succumb to melancholy during the winter. You may be inspired to launch a new project or business, or plan a major life move such as marriage or children.

March, June, July and November will be your best months. Goats born in 1943, 2003, 1955 and 2015 will be particularly fortunate in 2023.


According to Chinese Five Element Theory, each of us has a dominant element that can determine our health, wellbeing, character traits, and even the life path that would be most suited to our temperament and constitution. Find yours by working out which description resonates the most with you…

Wood: Loves to plan and strategise, has good metabolism, may overwork and be prone to outbursts and, healthwise, vulnerable to liver/digestive issues.

Fire: Energetic, charismatic, expansive, joyful, may be prone to heart issues, high blood pressure, anxiety and insomnia.

Earth: Solid, loyal, steadfast, peacemaker, prone to over-giving, prone to weight gain, fatigue, stagnation.

Metal: Courageous, strong, self-disciplined, grateful, melancholic, may have trouble letting go and may suffer lung imbalances such as bronchitis.

Water: Self-contained with a thirst for knowledge, gentle, can be reclusive and fearful and suffer from dry skin, thinning hair, UTIs and memory loss.



Birth years: 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018

Expect a year of ease and contentment when you can heal and rest. Rabbit’s peaceful influence could encourage you to settle down, to move into a new home or into a new relationship.

You may have had opportunities during 2022 that you weren’t able to act on. Now will be the ideal time to revisit those so that you can keep a low profile during 2024’s year of the Dragon.

February, March, June and October will be your best months, with Dogs born in 1982, 1934 and 1994 being the most fortunate.


Birth years: 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017

Your diplomatic efforts and teamwork will be rewarded under the guidance of Rabbit, but you need to make sure your rather direct approach doesn’t cause you to become frustrated with Rabbit’s gentle, daydreamer energy.

Be careful not to engage in teasing or banter that might cause offence as the heightened sensitivity of the year may cause you to be misunderstood.

April, May and September will be the best months for you, with Roosters born in 1933, 1993, 1945 and 2005 having the most luck.


Birth years: 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016

A very good year. You will be supported as you regroup after the trials and tribulations of 2022, the year of the Tiger.

Rabbit energy will bring a harmonious influence on your life, helping you to succeed, particularly in the business world.

Take care, though, that your bold Monkey energy doesn’t overwhelm the gentle Rabbit or you could lose support just when you need it.

April, May, August and December are your best months, with Monkeys born in 2004, 1992 and 1944 being the most fortunate.


Birth years: 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020

Analytical, insightful and clever, you are a natural planner so Rabbit’s intuitive and emotional energy may baffle you, causing you to criticise others less decisive or direct than you.

Keep your cool, stick to your plans and lay the groundwork for an extremely lucky year in 2024 when you may launch a business or embark on a significant project.

April, August and December are most favourable for you, with Rats born in 1972 and 1984 being the most fortunate.


Birth years: 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019

Extremely compatible with the Rabbit, you can expect a calm, peaceful and fulfilling year. A good year to move home, express your creative side and socialise.

Naturally kind-hearted and generous, you will enjoy much well-deserved appreciation by others this coming year.

February, March, July and November will be your most favourable months, with Pigs born in 1983, 1935 and 1995 being the most fortunate.

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