The good, The bad & The ugly….

Depression is so rude isn’t it. The way it just shows up uninvited, waves over you, and slaps you around the face.  As if dealing with a major surgery isn’t big enough alone, but delivering it with a heap of depression and anxiety to, well thanks very much.

Do you ever wake up and just know it’s going to be a bad mental health day ?!  I felt really angry with my brain recently.  So I had a little word. It went like this. ” Not only do I give you a healthy break from the TV, I eat well, I read, I stay positive, I even meditate, and this is how you re-pay me?  With a gloomy feeling from my old enemy depression ?!  Ok, I’ve not lost it.  But after this little chat, I then realised, there had been a few patterns in my daily routine, that had lead me to this negative place.   Now more than ever, I realise just how much our daily routines effect our minds.  I’ve really had to make a conscious effort during this recovery, to take care of my mind, not just my body. And I can definitely feel the difference on the days I make those efforts, and those days that I don’t.

With any kind of recovery there are going to be some good, some bad, and some pretty ugly days. Two months post opp, I think I have now covered an array of these.  I previously wrote a post about preparing the mind, body and soul for surgery. Preparing your, Mind . Body . Soul.  But now sitting at 6 weeks post op, it’s a very different challenge sustaining a positive mind.  So I wanted to share a few of the things that I have been doing, to keep my mind, well… Well.  

For those going through post surgery, have a surgery coming up, are in a form of recovery, or for those who just suffer with glum days.  None of our situations may be exactly the same, but we are all healing, and we are all on our own paths, to self improvement. 

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First up;


Morning routine

This is a huge one for me. Start the day, how you want the rest of the day to follow.

Morning one – Wake up, scrolls on phone, scrolls on phone, eat cereal, scrolls on phone, watch TV, get dressed. 

11 am  feelings = Fed up. Tired.  Low mood.

Morning two – Wake up, stretch, open curtains, wash, get dressed, healthy breakfast, TV off, scroll on phone (15 minutes)….onto something productive.

11 am feelings =  Positive. Happy. Motivated.


Change things up.

 If like me your mobility is restricted at the moment, it sounds silly but change where you sit.  Six weeks of laying with your leg up in the same place can become very mundane. I now make sure I sit in different places, and change up my views. It’s amazing what this can do for your mind. I used to get told, take a different route to work from time to time, go by train instead of driving, and it works. Changing the small things up, can help your state of mind for the rest of the day more than you realise.  


Accept where you are.

From talking to others going through a similar recovery, the one word I have noticed we all throw around (including myself) is, ‘frustration’.  You didn’t want this injury, this physical hindrance,  you don’t want to be in that place. You want to be further along.  You should be further along.  See I was born with two legs out of alignment both are weak, sore and have dislocated too many times to remember. I am now healing from the surgery and have been guilty of  throwing around the words, ”Why can’t I have normal legs.”  I am grateful and lucky enough to not have had a life threatening surgery,  but sometimes frustration can get the better of us.  Accept where you are.  You can’t control everything about the healing process, but you can control how you feel, and where you go from here.


Make some small plans.

Being cooped up in recovery is tough on the mind, and there really is such a thing as Netflix and too much chill ! I’ve found making small plans for the day, keeps my mind more productive while I’m off work.  I planned to do a dinner party ( sounds like nothing, but with a stiff leg, on crutches, it’s an ordeal.) I planned to sort out my clothes drawers and de-clutter, sounds boring, but wow it feels good after doesn’t it. And of course just arrange to see people.  The little things make all the difference as we all know. Complete a 30 day self care challenge during recovery. Lets Start as we mean to go on…..


Get dressed.

Ok, you may not have anywhere to be, you don’t have a visitor today, who’s to impress….So what ?! Get out those damn, comfy pjs, and put on some normal people clothes.  I’v been pretty good at this, and on the couple of days I haven’t got dressed, I definitely felt a difference in my mood. It will give you a little more motivation to start your day.


Sleeping plan

First week or so after surgery, medication can make you feel drowsy and you may take naps, go ahead you have been through an ordeal let your body rest. But after this, if it’s just laziness, stop. Sleeping in the day time and staying up late at night, will only make you feel like utter rubbish. So keep your sleeping pattern strict, and the same as it was before. I am always tired, but I keep myself up till 9 pm ( wooo go me ) . The nights that I did stay up late, and slept in the day, were my lowest and most anxious days. So take note of how you feel and learn from the mistakes. 


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These are just a few of the things that I have noticed help my mind during recovery so far, the most.  You may have others that have helped you.  Our roads to recovery can seem long, bumpy, and no one person’s is the same.

The truth is we are all moving forward, day by day, it’s just hard to see at times. 

It takes time, patience and everything you’ve got.   

Happy Healing xXx

(Now……get out those pjs x ) 

 

 

Preparing your, Mind . Body . Soul

Third night in a row waking up at 5.30 am. Why do our brains insist on waking us up with thoughts we do not need at stupid o clock.  This time my brain decided to wake me up to have a little chat, ”What will you do if you wake up in so much pain after your operation and there is no one around?” . ”What if your recovery takes much longer or it all goes horribly wrong?”  Suddenly i’m wide awake, heart racing.  Thanks for that brain. 

With only a week till surgery, I know some anxiety is perfectly normal.  The mere thought of surgery is often very scary.  The thought of a stranger cutting your body open taps into a primal fear. And the anticipation of surgery is so full of uncertainty and possible problems, physically, financially and emotionally,  so its natural for our minds to explore all these avenues.  But stress does not aid the healing process and we all want to go into anything difficult in life in the best possible fame of mind and health. 

The body is more than the sum of its parts, Mind, Body, Soul means that our well-being comes not just from being physically fit, but from our mental health and soul too.  And to be healthier all round humans, we must pay attention to all three aspects.  Recently my head is on a roll, alert, over stimulated, full of big ideas, ready to take on the day (at 5.30 am). My body is dragging behind asking do we really need to walk anywhere, feeling heavy and sluggish.   And my soul is feeling a little flat at times.  The Key….to find some balance.

This can help not just those preparing for surgery but for any human in any challenging situation.  


MIND

Start the day differently;  I feel like my working week days can sometimes start over stimulated with too much information, reaching over for my phone to check emails, messages, scrolling through social media, putting on the TV to watch the end of that programme from last night while I eat breakfast. I want to give my mind a break this week. I owe it that.  So this week my mornings will start with just a drink, some silence and love.

Face the Fears; Whether its Surgery, worries or anything big you have coming up, it can be terrifying, in can take over your mind and replay on a loop, while we try desperately to fight the thoughts away.  But its best to accept your reality, face your fears and WHEN you feel them, let them simply ‘run you over like a train. ‘  Then you will see,  nothing actually happens. All fear wants is to be acknowledged, its worked before with other situations, so I will now do the same with surgery fears. 

Change night time routine;  Iv let this slip recently and I know the full benefits of having a better routine for my mind before bed. Over stimulation with technology before bed, and reading up on operations is not the answer for a peaceful nights sleep.  So this week I will be more disciplined. Reading before bed, listening to an audio book or just relaxing in silence.  


BODY

Exercise;  Do what you can. Whether its stretching in your living room, yoga, walking round the block, or going to the gym. I cant do much as my knee’s are in a lot of pain after long walks, but I can stretch in the mornings, I can go for short walks along the seafront, get in what you can before surgery.  Your body will thank you. 

Eat healthy;  As much as I would love to order pizza all week and stuff my face with chocolate, I know my body needs as much goodness before surgery and during. Following a nutritious diet is important for everyday health. but If you are preparing for surgery, a healthy diet is even more important, getting the right nutrients can boost your immune system and help heal faster.  The blender is on the go as I write and I have a list of new smoothies and healthy soups I want to try. Yum. 

Holistic Health;  Iv stocked up on vitamins, herbal teas, ”Positivitea- Elderflower and Chamomile” is my favourite, manuka honey, turmeric paste, turmeric Latte’s, ( helps inflammation ) herbal sleeping aids. Basically Holland and Barrett is my best friend. 


SOUL 

Having a more positive, optimistic outlook;   I know this is one I will have to refer back to many times when times are tough and I’m unable to get about. But this week, every time I have a thought about the things this surgery will effect for me, or the things I am going to be unable to do, i.e walk, be outside, be independent.  I will take 30 seconds to imagine how I expect to feel when recovered, visualise walking, hiking, dancing and the prospects this surgery will have for my future. (And no one likes a martyr) 

Practice Relaxation techniques;

  • deep breathing
  • meditation
  • listening to a playlist that soothes you.
  • Reading.

Distraction;  Ok, we have faced the reality and faced the fears, but no one wants to sit around thinking about something they are dreading. So organise something nice for yourself,  plan some thing with friends for the week before, have fun, go shopping.  I decided to go shopping, yes I bought the boring bits, shower chair, bath stool ( I wont bore you with those pictures), but seeing as i’l be in hospital for 4 nights and then unable to leave my home for 6-8 weeks, a girl needs some nice night dresses.   Primark and Topshop do some lovely bits, if like me you cant wear trousers for some time, these long night -tees are perfect. 

Who said buying things for surgery is boring.


 

Everyone has their own way of finding balance between their body and mind. No journey is the same.  But In life we would prepare for a wedding, a job interview, a physical competition, to get in the right frame of mind and health. So why not prepare for a major surgery, recovery or major challenge too. 

Keep your body fuelled, your mind healthy, and keep dreaming of all the big and wonderful things that are to come on your road to healing x