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

 

 

 

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

 

Knee Saga

 

A little bit of background.   So Iv had ”funny” knees since I was a child and they began dislocating at 13 a scary, horrible experience, but weirdly one I got used to.  They have dislocated walking down stairs, in a swimming pool, and a night  out with the girls would often end in my painful party trick of me on the floor with a knee that had dislocated.  But I would persevere, ice, rest and carry on with life.

I mainly put off the idea of surgery, due to my driving test, travelling, shopping, washing my hair…. you get my point I  avoided it.   The pain was a factor for this, but not the real reason behind neglecting my knee’s for so long. I was scared of how much it would change my life, my job, my relationship, my social life. Also hearing the recovery was sooo long, I was scared I was going to ‘miss out.’   I was also scared it would leave me worse off.

I Know its just an opp, but I developed a deep rooted anxiety around the issue,  every dislocation left me a little more anxious, I think that’s called a trauma. Youd think it of pushed me toward getting it done, but it made me avoid it more . But that’s anxiety . It makes no sense . I think others going through any physical or mental recoveries can relate to that, not just those TTT rare knee people . 

But things changed. I cant live in constant anxiety that my knee may pop out should I slip in a swimming pool, or walking downstairs or I move to quickly, any longer.  So I am booked in for a TTT/TTO surgery ( Tibial Tubercle Transfer).   Basically, you know the bump below your knee (tibial tubercle) they move that, by breaking that off your tibia with the patellar tendon attached and move it to a more ‘appropriate’ place.

   I have found a few people online who have had this surgery which is great as its a rare knee surgery, so it would be great to speak more to you. 

But no matter your surgery/Recovery I think its great to share stories to support and help one another on the bumpy road x