How comparing will steal your joy .

Comparing yourself to others is a dangerous game, which brings you little, to no joy.  Luckily, Iv never been one to feel envy or competitiveness in everyday life.  But since my operation just 6 days ago, Iv found myself worrying profusely, where I should be, at this stage of recovery, in comparison to others.  I think it began at the hospital, when the nurse told me on day 1 ” You should be using your crutches, not me supporting your leg you know”  whilst I sat crying in pain, as it was the first time I had moved since the operation.  At this point I hadn’t even seen a physiotherapist to show me how to use crutches safely, so she was wrong,  but I still worried about the words  ”should be.”   On day 3 I felt extreme nausea from the pain and the physiotherapist said, ” You should be lifting your leg alone, as your going home today.”  And I thought should I ?!  Well I couldn’t.  On the day I was discharged  I felt wobbly and sick, which is obviously expected, Id just had my leg broken and screwed back together.   But on arriving home, using crutches, one wrong move, and I felt my leg give way from under me, I hit the pavement.  Iv never felt pain like it.  And as I laid in the street, I thought ” You should be doing better than this ”

So it hasn’t been the best of weeks, but of course no first post surgery week ever is.  But to make matters worse when I got home and recovered from the fall,  I spent most of my time looking online at others who have had this operation, ( a TTT & MPFL reconstruction) to see what stage they were at by day 5.  Yes this is great for guidance, advice and support, but the direct comparisons made me feel awful.   I had others telling me how high they could lift their leg by day 3, or how far they could bend it on day 4, when I was finding both IMPOSSIBLE to do. 

My mood dropped, I felt anxious, sad.  I had done that to myself.

When you compare your journey to someone else’s, you instantly set yourself up to feel unhappy, But I’ve woken up today with a clearer mind and with a vow to start over.   I have learnt from this. And I know learning to walk again in an alignment my leg has never been since birth, is going to be strange, painful and slow. I understand that my lack of patience and comparing,  is really just a fear that I wont get to where I want to be. Which I will.  Maybe not as soon as ‘Sue’ and her bendy leg.  But I’ll get there.

So whether you find yourself comparing your surgery recovery, your mental health recovery, that new mums waist line to yours, or just the place you are in, in life.   When you catch yourself doing this. STOP.  And tell yourself, we are all on our own journeys, at our own pace, and as long as we are trying our best to reach our own realistic goals, then that’s all we can do.


A better focus is on what you are already blessed with, and how far you have actually come.  As I mentioned last Sunday, Sundays are a great time to re-energise, reflect and re focus.  Looking at both what you have achieved, and that you are grateful for, no matter how bad the week has been, (just look a little harder.)   This week for me, I

Achieved;

Going through with an operation that I have put off since the age of 17.

I managed to walk to the bathroom on crutches (no brace) on day 2, which on day 1, I never thought I would do.

I managed to bounce back from a nasty fall quite quickly.

I haven’t cried today (so far)


Grateful for;

My boyfriend –  So far he’s been my rock, carer, chef, cleaner and my best friend.

My friends and family – For the cards, support and little pick me ups. I am aware of what a privilege this is.

The kindness of strangers – When I fell in the street, two strangers helped my boyfriend carry me to my sofa, they couldn’t bend my leg and I was making no sense, so it was very slow and they were so patient and kind.

Peppermint tea and ginger biscuits – Try these for nausea. God send.

My kitten –  Despite trying to jump near my leg, the one place she shouldn’t, she means well, and her little morning purrs have made me smile.


So give it a go yourself,  put pen to paper, and if you to, have been comparing your journey to others, then start over today.  Remember a flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. 

It just blooms. x

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