Lets Start as we mean to go on…..

The last week or so id say iv been fine, not great, but pretty good, but if you asked my boyfriend I doubt he would describe me as a glowing positive light to be around.   I can tell when i’m starting to feel anxious, as cushions out of place can overly bug me, my boyfriends shoes being in the wrong place, makes me consider moving in with our next door neighbour, and despite knowing that the kitchen table doesn’t need cleaning again, I will, for the third time that day.   See I had overwhelmed myself with thoughts, worries and tasks that I needed to do, so it all took over a tad. 

Luckily I recognise it, so I paused, re focused and told myself to slow down, and take care of myself.   So apart from cleaning the house again, I did a few other things to re centre;

De-cluttered– Its amazing what throwing out old items, bagging up clothes for charity shops, and throwing away that box you said would be used for make up but never was, can do for the mind. 

Unplugged – I turned off my phone, turned off the TV and started a new book.  And enjoyed it.

Self Care Box- I made myself a self care box- I know the trigger for my anxiety was the amount of things I needed to do before surgery in the next couple of weeks, and of course the dread of having my leg sawn in half- as it doesn’t sound much fun.  So I made myself a box to come home to, everyone should have one. Whether its physical or mental challenges, our soul needs it.  See it as an emergency first Aid box for your emotions. 

Here’s some Ideas to fill your box with;

  • New Pyjamas – Fresh, new pyjamas from River Island will make me feel brand new.
  • Incense, Candles & Lavender Room spray – Creating a calming space is great for the mind and soul.
  • Chocolate- Because it makes everyone happy.
  • A Journal – A note pad, journal, something to write down anything you feel. 
  • Healthy Tea– Try a soothing tea , ‘Positivitea’  with Elderflower & Blueberry. So good.
  • Bath /Shower Gel- I cant bathe after surgery, bath salts would have been my go to. Instead I bought a new sweet smelling Ted Baker wash. Smells Amazing. 
  • New fluffy socks – As they feel nice and January is bloody cold. 
  • Mindfulness Colouring in– These really calm the mind for me .
  •  A New Book – Distract the mind with a good book, Iv chosen Fearne cottons new book ‘Happy’
  •  Eye Mask and Ear Plugs – Because a good sleep makes the world of difference. 

Just doing those few things made a world of difference.   Self care is so easy, yet we all forget to take care of ourselves.  We worry more about our goals, achievements, work load, that we forget to just slow down and ask ourselves if were actually happy.

So going forward in January,  for 30 days. I challenge us all to do one thing a day to benefit, your mind, body and soul;


30 Day Self Care Challenge 

1- Go for a Long Walk.

2- Watch a documentary – I recommend the ‘ Impostor’ or ‘The Jinx’.

3- Stretch in the mornings.

4- Sit in silence, no TV, no phone, for 15 minutes before you start your day.

5-Start a new book.

6-Have a candle lit bath.

7- Book a massage or a treatment.

8- Write, draw, Paint, colour- Be creative.

9- De-clutter your home.

10- Call someone you love to check in on them.

11- Clear out your make up bag.

12- Splurge a little, treat yourself to that new top, shoes or thing you have your eye on.

13- Arrange a catch up with some friends.

14- Ask for help-Big or small, reach out to others.

15- Download a new podcast or audio book.

16- Hug a loved one, pet or a friend. 

17- Help others, carry a bag, open a door, offer your help, listen, offer advice. 

18-Put on clean new bed sheets.

19- Unplug for an hour, no phone, no TV. and just talk. 

20-  Have a lie in. Because you deserve one. 

21- Exercise, gym ,run, swim, walk, what ever you can manage. 

22- Laugh with a friend, message or call the friend who never fails to make you smile.

23- Watch a comedy- Micky Flanagan’s Stand up comedy never fails to lighten my mood. 

24- Cook a new recipe -Try something new.

25- Try a new hobby or practice your hobby you’ve been neglecting.

26- Practice Meditation 

27- Change up your home, move things around, put out new pictures, change up your space. 

28- Complete that annoying task you keep putting off.

29- Write down 10 things you are grateful for. 

30- Slow down and take some deep breaths.

Using this list see how many of these you can tick off by the end of January, and then take note of the difference you feel.

Make your ONLY goal this January be, to go from burnt out…….to balanced. xx

 

 

 

Bad Habits die hard …..

I hope everyone had a beautiful Christmas, it came and went so quickly, but now that Christmas is over and the new year is around the corner, its time to reflect and think about what we hope for in this coming year. I really don’t like the phrase ‘new years resolutions’ but i’m all for self improvement and growing as a person, so instead i’m going to look at some bad habits I would like to break next year and some good habits I will continue doing.

Bad habit number 1 – Stop Over committing myself 

Us humans love to talk about how stressed we are, and we are, we have stressful jobs, juggle many roles and we have endless to do lists.   Although some stress is productive, i’m pretty sick of hearing myself say ‘I’m stressed, I’m so tired.”  when asked how I am.  As actually sometimes we can and do create our own stress. We want to ensure our life is full of meaningful activities and we do not want to miss out on anything, AND we want to get everything right.

I did a lot in 2017 and although I am very grateful for that,  I also felt unnecessary stress in parts, so those activities actually felt a little less meaningful.  I over committed myself to places I needed to be, events I should book up, ( I even attended a gig with my knee in a brace, in pain, in fear of missing out- more stress then it was worth). I agreed to jobs and took on things that were not even my job role, that others had not cared to do.  

So in 2018, I intend, and not in selfish way, but to learn to take back my own time, learn when to say yes or no.  To understand I do not need to go to everything for my life to feel meaningful and full, and I intend to share the load, rather than take on too much. 

I no longer want to create my own stress.

Bad Habit number 2 – Buying a coffee when i dont need it

I love coffee and finding new coffee shops, so I wont be stopping this one entirely, but I do know my own body and I know that sometimes a coffee can make me feel more anxious, hyper, nervous and then crash and I feel a lot worse.  I need to break the habit of buying a coffee just because its on my way home, i’m not even tired, or thirsty, so did i need that coffee on the way home that now has me bouncing off the walls?! Probably not.  So I intend to break the habit….and cut down. 

Bad Habit Number 3 – Not adding Self Care into my work Schedule

I am a big believer in self care and at home I practice self care when ever I feel I need it. But when I am in work mode, I really don’t. I work with vulnerable teenagers, who are amazing, but very demanding of me.  I am passionate about what I do, but its long hours and I sometimes forget that I can stop for a minute, and do something for myself.  

This doesn’t mean to be lazy or unproductive, but I need to make a promise to myself that I will take time to recuperate, recenter, and refocus.  That way, I can give back more and make more of an impact with the young people I work with.  This can be anything from a walk on a lunch break, some quiet time, stopping on a long drive, making enough time for a healthy lunch and a cup of tea, just slowing down and refocusing.   I think we should all be making sure we are adding self-care into our work schedules, whether that is as a parent, at an office or physical work, and not letting anything take away from that time.

I was once told ” Don’t exhaust yourself for a job that if you died, would replace you in a week” Bit morbid, but you get my point. Your emotional well being and physical health comes first, as it is ourselves who face the consequences from not looking after it.

Bad Habit number 4 – Moaning at my boyfriend.

Oh come on, I cant help it, he should think to do things more so I don’t have to moan, but i’l try and moan a little less…..maybe. No one likes a moaning Myrtle. 

Bad Habit number 5 – Going on my phone instead of concentrating on that book.

I love books, I have so many books, I hear great reviews about a new book and off I go to purchase it, day dreaming on the way home of me curled up on the sofa, with a hot drink and my new amazing book that is going to have me gripped.  REALITY- Three pages later, I’m sat on my phone scrolling through pages on Instagram, chatting to friends who are probably fine to wait for me to finish this chapter of the book. Its an awful habit and one i’m sure many can relate to. Its a habit I’m determined to break…… as soon as I finish writing this post. 

Habits I will continue in 2018 

Practising gratitude.

Putting myself out there.

Learning.

Enjoying where I am at.

Being Productive and Positive.

Facing Fears.

Supporting my friends.

Spending time with those I love.

The year feels fresh and new and we all have these intentions of being this perfect person again this year.  But instead of setting yourself huge goals that are hard to reach, set yourself some kinder intentions and remember to look at all the great habits you do have and great things that you do…..and continue to do so.

The rest will follow. 

Happy New Year x

 

 

A little Thanks …..

 

I have a real love hate relationship with social media, I think mainly from working with teenagers and seeing it’s negative effects on the next generation. Photo -shopped images magnifying self esteem issues, the dangers it can bring, the worlds it can open up for the vulnerable and cyber bullying. But used right, it does also have its huge advantages, learning, sharing information, its amazing access to unreachable people, encouraging one another and supporting one another with our relate-able experiences.  For those people who feel alone, this can sometimes be a life saver.

This blog was started as an outlet, a supportive hand to others and an excuse to be creative, with surgery lurking it was a good base to record my progression.  That said I do not want to spend my time only writing about surgery or putting up pictures of knees, knees are boring, surgery is a big deal but it’s boring. To me a recovery of any kind, is to record challenges, positive thinking, journeys of self improvement, but also to share the things that make me happy on a day to day basis to stay present and grateful. And in turn hopefully others can take some positive feelings away too.  

But this blog was also a chance to seek out others who have had this particular operation  (tibial tubercle transfer ) or similar, and to receive advice from others in similar boats.  From doing so, it reminded me how kind us humans can be.  Of course nothing beats the support and love from those who know us, but as suffering is universal almost all of us have felt joy and pain, the particular details may be unique, but we can all relate to others and us humans have a real empathy for those who are battling something we once endured ourselves. Whether its heart break, a mental health condition, loss, an addiction, or a major surgery, we want others to not feel alone. We offer advice, tips and support to strangers, because we can relate to their situation . We have a new surge of empathy as we have been there. 

The feelings we experience as a result of social networking can also serve as a reminder that we are not alone in any challenge we face. They are shared by all human beings on their own personal challenges too.

From writing this blog I have had some great advice to take on board, ready for my recovery, so I just wanted to share some of that advice in hope it can aid others in recovery or those who have a major surgery coming up.

Advice; 

1) Listen to your Doctor and Physio everything he has to say and everything they suggest to do! I can not stress this enough.

2) Before the operation Clean the house, de-clutter, throw out things you don’t need, prep meals – Do anything that will cause you anxiety you can’t do after surgery.

3) This surgery is a BIG DEAL continue to seek out support from others who have had this surgery for motivation during recovery.

4) Fight through the pain as getting up and moving your ankle also is important -And try and strengthen your good leg before hand. it will be worth it.

5) ICE ICE ICE ICE

6) “You can finally watch the Kardashians from the start while you recover ” ( Not to sure about that one – but thanks Danni)

7) Follow instructions , Take it easy and keep on top of pain medication – it’s easier to mange the pain then to bring the pain back down again .

8) Remember it’s not a sprint it’s a marathon – Document your progress to keep yourself motivated .

9) Make the most of being looked after – prepare to cry and be stressed as it’s a long recovery but stay calm and relax and enjoy being waited on.

10) Try and focus on the things that you CAN do rather than those that you can’t – Arm weights etc

11) As it’s bone work, Ask for a nerve block- Stay on your medication – Do not get discouraged when learning to walk again,  Ask for mobilegs crutches. Much more comfortable.

12) Invest in an electric ice machine , shower chair and shower stool. All life savers. Good luck.

13) Buy the book ” Kitchen table by Dr Rachel Naomi Remember . Great for anyone going through any health challenges and it helped me immensely on my health challenge.

14) Physio is the key to the success of this operation, do not give up, stop or be lazy, your end results will depend on this.  Keep going. Good luck. 

Thank you for all your kind words and advice – It has taken me years to get in the right mindset for surgery, so all of your positive stories and taking time out to give  tips and advice, has helped me stay motivated.  And I hope this will be useful for others also.

So anytime you feel the desire to give a hug, a gift, a smile, a kind word or … just some relate-able advice to a stranger, but you think it makes no difference, or that you don’t have time.

Do it.

As it matters. More than you could ever know. X

 

Fresh Starts & New beginnings

By next week social media will be flooded with ‘Fresh Starts’ & ‘Goodbye 2017’ quotations. With a new year comes a new energy, a new hope and a motivation to start again. Goals are great to set for 2018, as there is always room for improvement in ourselves, but firstly give yourself a pat on the back for everything you did achieve in 2017. Any challenges you overcame, before you set yourself new goals for 2018 (using the things you didn’t do in 2017)

For me in 2017, I have come on in leaps and bounds in terms of mind-set and confidence.  My personal achievement was finally booking surgery for a long pre-existing health problem, which is a big step in the right direction for me. But new goals and new beginnings really can happen when ever you choose.

New beginnings can be exciting, but for many also really daunting.  There will be many people not feeling the joy of the new year bells ringing on new years eve, I recall that feeling oh so well.  I still remember starting over. I lost my relationship, my job, my home (and my marbles) all within a few months and I spent New Years eve in bed feeling extremely sorry for myself .  I did not approach any of this with a strong willed mind-set. I stayed in bed, I cried for way too long and I felt like things would never be ok.   But in time I did come to realise;  I didn’t actually like that Job. That home was not one I called my own.  And the relationship sadly had been broken for years. So I stopped seeing it as a negative, I stopped seeing it as I had hit rock bottom, and I started to view it as this was my ‘opportunity’ to change things up.

This was my chance to try my hand at a career in something I really wanted to do. I had nothing to lose.  I had worked in the financial industry previously, it paid the bills, so like you do, I went for jobs in the same field to start.  As I sat awaiting  an interview in the stuffy office corridor, I could hear the same familiar words being thrown around from the office ” Have Aviva called back ” ,”Let them know it will be a 15% sub-charge”.  A feeling of panic came over me and the realisation that, ” If I get this job- I’m in the same place”.  So I left, I ran, before they even called me in. I’m so glad I did.  It lead me onto train and work with vulnerable young people and their families, which is something I am passionate about.

It may of taken a couple of years, but I moved from my lovely home town and I now live in my favourite City, Brighton.  In a place I call home, it has all the touches that make it home and it really is my happy place.  And I’m in a relationship that flows, clicks and brings me a lot of happiness.

I feel like 2017 turned out how I had hoped, and none of this is to say ”hey come over here, so I can gloat at how great things are going” ….but to show that, Iv been there and yes new starts can feel over whelming.

But remember, if you feel like you’re at rock bottom, you’re not,  you are just re-decorating your life…………….

 how it should be x

Mind Full to Mindful

A few years ago I was definitely someone who was at the mercy of my own thoughts. I felt completely out of control, I did not trust my own thoughts and nor could I control them. Stress was a big trigger for this, my mind would dart around with thoughts that I would describe as fast traffic, or a ping pong game.  Just back and forth, with no real reason, direction or conclusion.

I looked into everything I could to help just slow it all down, I even took a ‘break’ from the corporate world and worked in the country, where there was nothing but lambs, hay, landscape and views for days.  This definitely helped slow things down ( I’d recommend it).  It also led me onto looking into mindfulness, I read every book on the subject frantically searching for ways to make me feel better.

I also joined a mindfulness Group in Brighton, this consisted of group chats, meditation and mindfulness practices.  The teacher was kind, the people were sincere and you could tell we were a group of adults all looking for some peace and quiet from our own minds. We had to do exercises as a group, one which involved looking and feeling the ridges of a raison.  All fine, and I completely understood the concept behind it. But when we then had to put the raison to our ear and listen for a ‘squeak’ and no one but me could see the funny side to this, I knew my raison listening days were over. It just wasn’t for me. I didn’t return, but I took from it the great meditation practises, which I use at home when ever I feel I need it.

One thing I found that helped me, was keeping a journal, getting my thoughts out of my head and on to paper has always helped. I told myself to make a daily note only of all the positives in my day , this in time ( along with the scenic views of the country ) made me feel more present, less trapped in my head, I had more clarity and I felt much more grateful for the things around me.

A few years have passed since then and I would say I am now a much more positive, present person, but with Surgery lurking, I know I could slip.  I think during a recovery or major surgery it is very difficult to go through the challenges of recovery and feel ‘grateful’ for the pain you are enduring, but I also believe keeping a daily gratitude journal during this period, makes you focus on the things that you are grateful for, get you out of your head and also hold onto fewer negative feelings.

I am going to be using ‘Gratitude pen’s http://gratitudepen.co.uk/product/gratitude-pen-pad/ The founder of Gratitude pad survived pain and loss and although gratitude does not lessen the pain, it helped him on his healing process  . The journal also has great motivational quotes and a beautiful layout.

Sometimes it takes a conscious effort to enjoy the journey and be content with where we are. Its not easy and it wont be easy.

But its always an option. And I choose to be happy x 

Staying Positive -What makes you Happy?

Now, it goes without saying that what makes me most happy is my partner, my family and friends. So I will be listing some of the things that makes me smile, and some of the little things in life that I may tend to over look at times.  We all know that the grand things in life bring a lot of pleasure, but it really is all the little things that bring us happiness.

During a physical or mental recovery or pre-surgery date, it can be easy to lose sight of those things that made you happy.  My plan is to go into surgery in the best possible mindset I can, of course knowing I will have those days I struggle with seeing the good in anything. So I wanted to write a list of all the little things that genuinely make me feel happier, So that during my recovery, in those bleaker moments, I can refer back on this list and implement the ones I am able to do, into my day. 

I know that during depression that can be very difficult to do, as little enjoyment is found, but persevering and even ‘faking it till you make it, ‘eventually brings some light back into your days.

I think it is great when we all can be comforted by these small things, that make us happy, when we need it the most. 

So here is my list;

15 Little things that make me Happy –

1- Coming home to my kitten. ( Fur baby)

2- Clean new bedding.

3- Finding a new cute coffee shop in my area.

4- Seeing my boyfriend happy when his football team win ( But I wont be telling him that incase he makes me watch more)

5- Having a laughing fit with your best friend over something so ridiculous.

6- When you find a book that doesn’t make you want to look at your phone. 

7- Rainy Sunday evenings in with my boyfriend ( cliche but I cant deny it) 

8- When my 6 year old niece asks for me to do her hair, just like mine.

9-  Chilly Autumn walks, in Autumn clothes, in beautiful places.

10- Home Decor- When all the things I bought for my home piece together perfectly. 

11- Cinnamon- In coffee, in yoghurt, in candles. 

12- When you realise you have Monday off. 

13-  New cute Stationary.

14- Wandering down Brighton lanes, window shopping & people watching.

15- Chocolate. ANY kind. 

There is something to love in everyday no matter how small. Try making yourself a list too, to remind yourself what makes you happy.  x

 

Preparing for Surgery

Knee Sagacropped-stocksnap_w28qpzpak6.jpg

So you have your surgery date booked, you’re happy with your surgeon.  Now its time to do your own preparation. Being ready, healthy and prepared is the best way to go into any surgery, it helps reduce anxieties, stress and improve overall mental attitude.  Here are some tips of things I’m currently doing to prepare ;

1. Do your homework

Those who feel the most informed and most prepared are the ones that approach surgery day with confidence. Do not research to the point of raising your anxieties, everyone knows most people post horror stories. But try and Inform yourself with positive stories, as a reminder that you are on the right track. Reach out to others on Instagram and surgery forums (http://www.kneeguru.co.uk/KNEEtalk/index.php) Is a good one. This will help you gain as much practical information as possible.  These people have been there, they know how you feel and not only will they give you useful tips and insight, but they will give you that reassurance everything will be fine.

2. Appointments 

Before your operation date, being organised is the key in avoiding any other unnecessary hurdles that could be avoided after surgery. Any bank, doctors, dentist, eye appointments you have due, or have been avoiding, get them booked in and done. Also any medication you need whilst you are off, ask your doctor for, or sign up and register for repeat prescriptions on https://pharmacyoutlet.co.uk

 3. Get Organised

I am a list freak. I write lists for work, for shopping, for everything . Not only does it help me stay organised, but it gets my messy thoughts out of my head and onto paper. Its a great way to offload.  Making a list of things you need to do before surgery is key. It will keep your anxieties at bay and things will run a lot smoother.  I am currently writing a list  of healthy meal plans I will be buying before the surgery that i can prep before hand. ( as I sit here eating mince pies ) 

4. Entertainment.

If like me your surgery is going to make you a couch potato for some time, your going to need some good entertainment. Books, Box sets, puzzles, crosswords, podcasts, music, what ever your idea of entertainment is, get it bought/downloaded before hand.  Personally signing up to Netflix will be my source of entertainment. That TV series you’ve not had time to get round to watch. Now is the time. Iv been told i must watch Game of Thrones, along with ‘Pretty little liars’ and Suits, so they are on the list.

Pre-order any books you’ve been dying to read.  Personally I have ordered a couple of light heartened books; Sophie Kinsella and Marian Keys are great for this, they provide some light escapism, keeping my thoughts light and positive is key for me.

 5. Support Network

Having a support network of people around you is something I feel grateful to have, having these  key people around after a surgery or any kind of recovery is so helpful.  Making sure you talk through with someone what you will need, e.g a drive home from hospital, help with every day tasks, walking the dog . Asking for help can be difficult, Iv always felt this ingrained feeling that I dont want to burden people with my stuff ,or bother people.  But my job and other experiences has made me realise how much we need one another. So don’t be afraid to ask. Talk through any worries you may be having with a friend, family member or parent. If you are feeling very anxious, having people to talk to can reduce those fears. 

If you do not have a support network around for what ever reasons, tell your surgeon this, they can arrange some home care for the practical side of things and also refer to point 1 above. Its amazing how supportive strangers who have been through the same thing, will support you in an emotional way.

6. Get packing 
 Pack a bag.  My bag currently consists of a good book, pack something to keep you occupied before or after the procedure.
Any medications you are on or may need should you be staying in hospital, take them anyway even if this is unplanned.
Small bag of personal toiletry items if your surgery will require an overnight stay (don’t forget to bring glasses or contact lenses )
Lose fitting comfortable clothes for coming home in.
 Now i’m off to enjoy a short walk along Brighton seafront, with a large cappuccino  from my favourite coffee shop.  I’m Making the most of those times, whilst I am able to do so. 
 
 
        7.  Go and enjoy the little things too x