A little Ray of Sunshine………

Recovery is long isn’t it. Whether it’s recovering from surgery, mental health, addiction….it can feel like a long slog to feeling like your bright, shiny, self again……but we will get there. And it will all be worth it. 

I am all for living in the moment, making the most of the now.  But sometimes you just need a little exercise to lift your spirits and take your mind off of  ‘a difficult/ mundane time or long recovery,’ and it’s great to have a few things to look forward to in the pipe line.

So today I got thinking about summer. Ok, I know it’s only April, but we’ve all had a little taste of the sunshine, and it’s gone to our heads. ( I hope I wasn’t the only one who was stressing out that I have zero summer clothes, frantically looking online for a new wardrobe, for all 3 days of sun we had.)  But it did get me thinking about this summer, and how I would like to spend it.

IMG_3043

I’ll be spending the majority of my summer in Brighton. I love Brighton, it’s definitely my happy place.  I’m not sure exactly why I love Brighton, but I do remember after a stressful day at work, when I stop, breathe and look around me. I felt an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and content ness to be in such a happy, colourful and vibrant city. So choosing to live here was an easy decision.

I told myself I would do so many things last summer in Brighton and due to life , work and knee problems, I didn’t get round to even half.  So this summer I intend to make more time.  So what better way to lift the spirits, than to write your own summer bucket list.   It’s not about jumping off bridges ( unless that’s your thing ). But about looking for reasons to celebrate, and enjoy the places we live, doing things we love, no matter how small.

IMG_3509

Here’s my list for anyone visiting Brighton, or like me surgery recovery has been such a slog, you just need a little something to look forward to.


#summerbucketlist

  • Be tourists for the day down Brighton Pier.
  • Go to more open mic nights (Love the Brunswicke pub in Hove for this .)
  • Eat Fatto Mano Pizza ( the best ) on the lawns on a warm summer evening.
  • Watch more coastal sunsets.
  • Check out as many new Coffee shops ( Hixon Green, Flour Pot Bakery & Red rooster faves )
  • Have a picnic in St Anne’s Gardens.
  • Dance the day away at Gay Pride
  • Cycle from Brighton to Hove beach ( little hopeful, but if knee is willing)
  • Join a yoga class above Six in Hove (once knee recovered)
  • Try out more Vegan restaurants.
  • Host a big BBQ
  • Summer evening date night at Theatre Royal
  • Summer day drinking on Brighton Beach.
  • Go to Brighton Food festival.
  • Watch more live gigs/ comedy (Komedia Comedy Club is the most popular )
  • Stroll along the colourful north laines and buy some vintage bits.
  • Read books on Hove Lawns and dog watch ( So many cute puppies down there.)

Feeling better already. 

Ready to soak up the season.  Now roll on the sunshine………….

x Happy Saturday x

.

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. 

StockSnap_Y2B2ZAQ18F

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. 


IMG_9955

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 ) 

 

 

Lazy Days, or Stuck in a rut ?

You may notice I tend to write a lot of positive posts, how to look after your mind, how to feel better, beating negativity etc etc.  Now, I don’t do this because I’m sitting here with ribbons in my hair, singing along to musicals.  But I write them because that’s what works for me. It keeps me motivated, allows me to check in with myself, and I like to think others like a positive read also.

But on the flipside, it’s ok to admit when we have shitty days.  We all have those days where every idea we had to be productive goes out the window.  The days where we say we will DEFINITELY be going to the gym, but instead we then spend the whole evening scrolling through ‘Andy from school’s photos,’ on social media. Because god forbid we don’t look through all those, even though we haven’t seen Andy for 8 years.  Or those days where you spend hours looking up healthy recipes and meal plans, to then just order a Dominoe’s. And we have all experienced times where we plan a productive ‘day off’, to then just watch TV all day and feel cross eyed by the end of it.

But then why not ?! We need those days! We are hardworking multi functioning humans, with a lot going on.  Our brains need that down time.  But it is when those days start to become our routine, bad habits creep in, and our planned ‘lazy days off’, leave us feeling unmotivated, with zero energy, or any feel good feelings at the end of them.   As I am currently off work on recovery from surgery, those days are easy to slip into, so after a 4 day stay over in ‘Rutsville’ I’m ready to find some balance again.

Knee surgery entails not a lot of going out, but also these cold months are inevitably the months many of us spend time indoors.  Our days off from work, we plan lazy days in, but this doesn’t mean those days can only be filled with TV and endless scrolling through social media every time your at home, leaving our brains feeling like mush by the end of them.  So I have devised a list of things to do for those during recovery, and for those feeling in a rut, who may want to add a little variation to their lazy days off.  Here we go.


Podcasts-

I’m nowhere near as dedicated to listening to podcasts as I would like to be, but once you get into one, it’s a really nice change from just staring at a TV.  They are entertaining and broaden your mind and a great night time listen, for those who don’t like reading. I am always looking for new podcasts to grab my attention, I’d recommend these old favourites;

Serial – An old one now, but still great, listen to a crime tale unwind, it had me hooked.

Ted Talks DailyInteresting, motivating and will broaden your mind. Pick any subject your interested in, and prepare to feel empowered.

Crime Town- I am currently listening to this as I write, working my way through this gripping documentary, for the ears.


Read –

I love to read, but I became better at ordering new books and then looking at them lovingly as they sit on my bookshelf. But I’m breaking that bad habit and my latest reads are;

The Kind Worth Killing- Peter Swanson-  I read this book in two days, crime thrillers as you might tell are my thing, if you’re looking for a psychological page turner, full of suspense and twists, this is the one. This is everything I hoped Girl on Train would be.

Happy- Fearne Cotton An honest, insightful, intelligent read, which is a reminder that we never can tell who is suffering.  It’s a positive book which reminds us all to slow down and look after ourselves.

Elanor Oliphant, is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman– A chick flick, with humour and purpose.  It’s about a 30 something girl, and her humdrum existence.  So far I am enjoying this book, it’s a great escapism from reality, and I am loving her quirky character already.


Box Sets

We all love a binge watch. I have given myself a set amount of ‘healthy binge time’ a day during recovery, as I love it, but my brain aches after a while and not in a good way.  If you’re needing a new tv binge, the following I found impossible to turn off;

  • The Jinx – The life of Robert Durst – A crime documentary with a twist, if you haven’t seen it. You need to.
  • Big Little Lies – Girl power at its best.
  • Line of duty – An extremely intense who done it, who doesn’t love one of those.

 Although I still feel like I am the only human who’s yet to watch Game of Thrones. Am I missing out…


Research that Business idea

Remember that business idea you said you never had enough time to look into, or research. Well those two hours a day you just just spent watching repeats of ‘friends’ or facebook scrolling, take an hour out and read a business book, jot ideas down, make a mood board.  This is something I do once a week at the moment and want to do a lot more of.


Be Creative 

Draw, write, paint, make something, do anything you enjoy, it does wonders for the mind.  I am currently printing off all my favourite photos into a scrap book/ album. I no longer want the majority of the photos I own to be on Facebook and not in my home. Its strangely therapeutic and relaxing creating your own photo album.


Wall Art

Buy or create a print or a motivational quote that means something to you and frame it. I have put one above my sofa, seeing as that’s the place at the moment that I tend to have my many ‘I cant do it’ moments. So this was the perfect place to hang up a little motivational reminder for me.


Create a Mood Board

Go onto Pinterest and create your own mood board of anything you are interested in. Whether it’s new recipes you want to try, decor, fashion, travel.   I am moving home in a couple of months, so my mood board is made up of new decor ideas for our new place. There are so many pretty things on Pinterest and, amazing ideas to feel inspired.


Meditate

UNPLUG. Turn off phones, radio, TV, and relax.  I have been doing this every night during my physiotherapy exercises, I set the scene by lighting my favourite incense, playing calming music, (ocean or spa music is my favourite,) and I take some deep breaths. I always feel good after and now I can’t imagine not doing this as part of my evening routine. Try it, if you don’t already. Give your brain some time out. It will thank you.


And of course, carry on doing what works for you, what you enjoy to do on your lazy days off, but if like me without realising it, you had been caught up in bad habits for so long, not realising why your feeling fed up, bored or sluggish, after what was planned to be a ‘perfect lazy day in’. Then try some new things.  Now that I am aware of my bad habits, that have been hijacking my happiness. I’m making better choices on my recovery days, and taking better care of my mind.

So I’m off, to turn off my phone, put on some new pjs, light some candles, eat a giant chocolate bar, and sink into a new book.

What are you doing for your mind this weekend ? xx

 

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