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.
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.
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.
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
- listening to a playlist that soothes you.
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