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

A Sunday Well Spent…..

One minute your enjoying your weekend, thinking that brunching and browsing shops for new candles and cakes is now your full time job,  next your hit with the realisation that tomorrow its back to the grind of working life.  Dread hits.  Between the ups and downs of work, kids, duties, life, Sunday nights are the perfect time for most, to re-energise and think about the week ahead, to feel organised and prepared for whats in store. All great. But the truth is we are so busy moving onto the next ‘thing to do’, overwhelming our heads with worries of what the week entails, that we rarely slow down and reflect on whats just been or appreciate the now.  So with that in mind, I’m going to make Sundays my day that I reflect on my week just gone, write down what I have achieved (no matter how small it is), and more importantly what I am grateful for.  I am always on a quest to include new habits into my life that can improve my mood, so I believe doing this will increase a more positive mindset, decrease anxieties  and diminish for some that dreaded Sunday night feeling.

When we have a busy week ahead, or an early start, ( or like me an operation ) these thoughts can overwhelm us, make us feel tense and lower our moods, so then its really easy to lose sight of everything we have to be grateful for.  So even if your feeling low, worried or anxious, struggling to find the positives, still write these things down tonight, (fake it till you make it,) as these practices will eventually in time help lift your mood.

I was lucky enough this weekend to have my friends arrange me a ”new knee, new me ” Lunch. Go for pancakes in Brighton and spend some time puppy sitting :).  So as I sit here full from lunch, content from my day, and ready for my Sunday night ritual of bath, face mask, book and bed…. I thought i’d put pen to paper and reflect on my week  just gone. 

Achieved- 

  • I walked along Brighton/Hove Beach, I was aching after and pretty sore, but I managed one last, long walk, before my operation as I had hoped.
  • A glowing appraisal at work ( go me )
  • I walked past 3 cake shops today and didn’t go in and buy any ( big for me anyway)

Grateful – 

  • I am grateful for living by the sea.
  • I am grateful for supportive friends who have made, what could have been an anxious weekend, a really positive one.
  • I am grateful for all the thoughtful gifts that I received, for post surgery (Is it my birthday ?!)
  • I am grateful for the man who works in ”No where man” coffee shop in Brighton, for making the best pancakes I have ever had.
  • I am grateful I have my health ( despite the operation, ) as I know how tough others have things.
  • I am grateful for a warm, clean, happy home.

So enjoy your Sunday night, light some candles, enjoy a long bath, put on a face mask, and reflect on the week just gone. What are you grateful for this week?

Happy Sunday-ing 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 

 

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