Sunday 24 November 2019

Nourish You Social Life // Self-Care Week 2019

Looking after our social wellbeing is just as an important part of self-care as looking after our physical and emotional well being.

Being connected to other people is vital, it helps us to feel valued and boosts our confidence and self-esteem.

Some of the things we can do as part of social selfceare is spend time with family and friends like having a games or film night or having a meal together, going to hobby groups to meet new people etc, attending places of worship etc, going out for coffee or a cinema trip or have a DIY paper session with your friend.

Social self-care is important, but also difficult to those who are chronically ill. I know this from my own experience. Being mostly housebound and only really leaving the hose for medical importance takes it toll on my social self-care, especially when you see the same few faces week-in, week-out, but finding other who understand your help needs can help and even when meeting friends in person can be difficult there are alternative ways of still being able to engage in self-care.

Even just sending someone a text or talking over FaceTime or Skype can be a way of socialising with others to was isolation. For me personally I love writing letters, it's a fun and creative way to connect with others and it gives me that social contact I'm not able to do much of in person.

Other things you could do is find a common interest group either online or if you want to try and get out more you could go to your local library of community centre might where they may have some good resources for you interns of finding a group, they may even hold some groups there. This can vary from craft groups, coffee mornings, physical activities like dance or yoga, cookery or gardening.

Saturday 23 November 2019

Self-Care When You're Chronically Ill or Have a Disability // Self-Care Week 2019


Self-care can be more difficult in some ways when you're chronic illness/disabled as 
A) we get so wrapped up in prioritising in dealing with our health and getting through the day and the demands our of our minds and bodies
B) some things like going for a walk or meeting up with friends may be more of a challenge for some people

Sometimes we're so busy trying to keep afloat with managing our health and all that come with it (phone calls, emails, attending appointments etc) that self-care doesn't become a priority and it can be hard to find a space to take time-out. However, self-care when you're chronically ill/disabled is even more important as it supports our all-round welding. But even if you can find 5 minutes each day to do something like for a mindfulness exercise, do some stretches or put on a face mask.

Self-care, even the small things count

Even though we may not be able to do some of the 'big' self-care things, we can sell engage in self-care in smaller and more manageable ways.

Even the small simple things count for example:

  • Drinking plenty and eating healthily
  • Ensuring you remember to take the right medication
  • Going and sitting out in your garden or local park -  you don't need to walk or wheel to enjoy nature
  • Take up new things, like find a mindfulness app that works for you
  • Do some simple easy yoga at home or get out your physio exercise sheets and put that into your day
  • Pick up a new manageable hobby
  • Invite a friend or two round for coffee or a pamper session
  • Have a movie night
  • Take time out from social media
Even if you can't make it out the house or your are bed bound there are plenty of simple low-energy self-care activities you can.

Self-care is very individual, what might be helpful to one person might not necessarily work for someone else. It's all a case of trial-end-error to find what works for you and try not to get frustrated if you keep trying things and they're not for you. You'll find something eventually. It's important to listen your your mind and body and what it needs and what your limits and and it's a forever learning and evolving process. 

Even I'm still trying to figure out what works for me and trying to get into a daily routine of self-care.

So, how do we practise self-care when you're chronic illness/disabled?

1. Recognising and monitoring your own boundaries

Setting and monitoring blundering and learning to say 'no' when needed is an important part of self-care when living with a chronic illness/disability. You can't prioritise if you don't self clear boundaries.

Make it clear to other people around you - friends, family, carers what you can do and when you need help with; for some people this may change day-to-day. Making this clear to others helps others to know your boundaries so they can give you some independence but support you were and when needed to take the pressure off, and also so you don't get pushed beyond your boundaries. 

2. Reviewing our self-image

Having a chronic illness/disability can often come with a lot of negative feelings which can make it difficult to make self-care a priority as we don't feel we deserve it or it's not a priority.

But it's important to try and challenge ourselves and review how we feel about ourselves and try and achieve inner peace and be happy with our inner selves as well as our external selves and be accepting of the things we cannot change and think of all the things we can do and celebrate those achievements which make up feel more positive about ourselves. It's important to celebrate those achievements, no matter how small they are because you you they are the big victories.

Reviewing how we view ourselves can help us to feel more happy with ourselves and our bodies/minds despite it's flaws. We also need to find ways to value ourselves instead of valuing the things we do.

3. Connecting with ourselves 

When we have a chronic illness/disability we become experts at looking after our physical bodies - attending appointments, taking our medication, doing our physio exercises etc. However, it can be harder to nurture our inner self. As mentioned before, this may be because we feel inadequate or have a poor self-image of ourselves or we may feel that we have little value or that you may never be "good enough". It may also be because we are so wrapped up in looking after our physical selves that looking after other aspects of our holistic self don't become a priority.

It can be good to take time-out to connect with ourselves and try not to feel guilty about this. If you're going through a rough patch, whether it be physically or emotionally it's important to recognise that, connect with ourselves and ask ourself what we need. This may be doing something like prioritising our diary, rescheduling to a later date non-urgent medical appointments, planning a free day/week off of nothing in your diary to rest and recharge and reconnect with ourselves.

To try and connect with yourself you need to try and not hide your feelings from yourself. Try and find way to take care of your mind like creating a positivity jar or journal/scrapbook, notice and name your feelings, accept thoughts and emotions, practice self-compassion and being kind to ourselves and enjoy activities that just involve yourself such as arts and crafts, meditation or mindfulness, yoga/pilates, doing a jigsaw puzzle or activity book like sticker-by-numbers, dot-to-dot or colouring books, or sitting in the garden or local park or green space. Here's a blog post I did yesterday on 30 Things to Put into a Self-Care Box and tomorrow I'm publishing 30 Self-Care Ideas.

4. Pacing, planning, prioritising and rest

Often, and I'm guilty of this, when we're having a good moment we often use that moment to get things done, but then we push ourselves too much until we're running on empty adrenaline leaving us feeling utterly crashed which can for some of us set us back hours, days or even weeks. And then we do the same and we get stuck in a 'boom and bust' cycle.
This cycle is both damaging to our physical, intellectual/cognitive, mental and emotional states. But, great news, this cycle can be avoided with the practise of self-care and pacing.
I did a whole blog post on Pacing, Activity Management and Rest which you might find helpful if you want to read more.

Friday 22 November 2019

30 Self-Care Ideas // Self-Care Week 2019

  1. Go for a walk
  2. Spend time in nature like watching the bird in the garden
  3. Have a pampering bath/shower
  4. Give yourself a DIY facial
  5. Have a digital detox
  6. Practice mindfulness, meditation or prayer
  7. Enjoy a quite cup of tea/coffee
  8. Ask for help if needed
  9. Eat healthily
  10. Drink plenty of fluids
  11. Give yourself permission to have a nap
  12. Reassess your priorities
  13. Let go of perfectionism
  14. Put exercise/movement into your daily routine
  15. Treat yourself to a massage or a manicure
  16. Read a book or magazine
  17. Do some colouring
  18. Attend a social or worship group
  19. Create an enforce boundaries
  20. Go and see a film, either own your own or with a friend
  21. Treat yourself to a drink from a café
  22. Have a clear out of your wardrobe
  23. Get into a good sleep hygiene routine
  24. Give permission to treat yourself to something like a new handbag
  25. Listen to some music, a podcast or audiobook
  26. Go to a yoga class
  27. Take up a new creative hobby
  28. Keep a journal 
  29. Know it's okay to cancel plans
  30. Reflect on the day that just been

Thursday 21 November 2019

30 things to put into a self-care box // Self-Care Week 2019

Self-care boxes are a great tool to keep to hand for when we need moments or prompts to keep calm and look after yourself. Anyone can benefit from having a self-care box. From things that bring us comfort, bring up special memories or help ground up and calm our mind in a moment of crisis.

  1. A mini comfort blanket
  2. Headphones
  3. Tangles or other fidgets
  4. Aromatherapy oil or aromatherapy oil roller to put on pressure points or aromatherapy oil spray
  5. A weighted lap blanket
  6. Tea, hot chocolate or coffee sachets
  7. Colouring book
  8. Felt-tip pens or pencil crayons
  9. Puzzle books, sticker-by-numbers or giant dot-to-dot books
  10. List pad to write down coping skills as a visual reminder or to write a 'now and next plan'
  11. An elastic band - this can help those who struggle with self-harm
  12. Lip balm and/or hand cream
  13. Fluffy socks
  14. A packet of tissues
  15. A list of numbers and people/organisations you can contact such as friends, local crisis team or organisation like the Samaritans, Mind or Papyrus UK
  16. A 'Where's Wally' book
  17. Special memories such as a card or letter or photographs
  18. Mindfulness activities
  19. A tea bag to smell and hold to help with grounding
  20. Miniature puzzles like a miniature lego figure you can concentrate on and build
  21. Kinetic or magic sand
  22. A small soft toy
  23. A notebook to write and draw how you are feeling
  24. A favourite DVD or CD
  25. Your iPod or MP3 player
  26. Nail polish
  27. A 'Calm Jar' or snow/glitter globe
  28. Sensory tactile items like a spiky ball, play-doh, a koosh ball, squidgy mesh ball or glitter slime
  29. A favourite book or comic
  30. A favourite snack or hard boiled sweets or a lolly

A photograph of one of my self-care boxes

Wednesday 20 November 2019

7 Areas of Self-Care // Self-Care Awareness Week 2019

Physical Self-Care

This involves looking after our bodies including health, nutrition, sleep, rest etc.

Some examples include:
  • Going for a walk
  • Having a bath/shower
  • Getting enough sleep and resting during the day
  • Eating a nutritionally balanced diets
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Take a rest or nap during the day

Emotional Self-Care

This involves emotional literacy, emotions, increasing empathy, managing stress and anxiety, developing compassion.

Some examples may include:

  • Writing a gratitude journal or creating a gratitude jar
  • Be more kind to yourself
  • Do a stress management course
  • Making time for reflection 
  • Working on developing emotional literacy
  • Being aware of ones own boundaries and saying 'no'

Intellectual Self-Care

This involves learning new things, thinking and creativity.

Some examples may include:
  • Practising mindfulness
  • Journalling
  • Reading
  • Learning a new skill
  • Doing a digital detox
  • Do a colouring or puzzle book

Social Self-Care

This involves having a supportive network of family, friends and others such as colleagues at work who you trust and can turn to when needed.
Having  a supportive and caring network of people around you helps build up a sense of belonging and connection.

Some examples include:
  • Join a social group, such as a local craft group
  • Asking for help when needed
  • Meeting new people
  • Spending time with others
  • Speak with friends, either send them a text, call/video call them or even send them a letter
  • Go out with people such as cinema or coffee dates

Environmental Self-Care

This involves being organised, having a clutter-free space to work at either for work or hobbies, a tidy room for rest and sleep, your home environment, a tidy care. Also minimising waste and monitoring home mine time we spend with technology.

Some examples could include:

  • Having a declutter of your home or work environment
  • Having a wardrobe clear out
  • Recycling as much as possible
  • Monitoring technology time
  • Tidying up after yourself
  • Maintaining and clean and safe living environment

Spiritual Self-Care

This involves your beliefs and values that are important to you and that guide you in the way you live your life. This could include pursuing goals and practises that help you develop your spiritual awareness.

Some examples could include:

  • Meditation or mindfulness
  • Having a reflection journal
  • Volunteering
  • Spending time in nature
  • Preyer, either alone or with another person
  • Find a place of worship where you feel comfortable

Financial Self-Care

This involves being responsible over your finances such as daily living expenses, income, insurance, savings etc and having a good relationship with money.

Some examples could include:

  • Knowing where your income in going in
  • Knowing what and when your outgoings are due
  • Paying bills on time
  • Keeping insurances up-to-date
  • Opening a savings account and saving money more wisely 
  • Using an appt or finances book to get track of ingoing and out going expenses

Tuesday 19 November 2019

What is Self-Care // Self-Care Week 2019

Self-care is looking after your mind and body to support your physical, social, emotional and intellectual wellbeing.

We could engage in self-care by eating healthily, exercise like going for a walk, attend an activity group, talk with a counsellor or take time out of the day of a spot of mindfulness.

The dictionary definition of self-care is:

Self-care is good for us as it empowers us to take control and look after ourselves and be more self-reliant and become resilient both interns of of physical health as well as our mental health. Self-care also helps catch problems early and prevents problems from getting worse. You don't need to be ill to engage in self-care, intact it's better to engage in self-care to prevent problems occurring int the first place, especially when it come to our mental health.


Monday 18 November 2019

Self-Care Week 2019

This week marks Self-Care Week 2019. Self-care is a vital tool look look after not just jour emotional wellbeing but your physical, social wellbeing too. 

This week I'm going to post some self-care info to help you look after yourself.

I will be posting about self-care boxes, mindfulness activities, yoga and other ideas for looking after yourself to get you going on your journey to self-care.

Wednesday 6 November 2019

100 Best hashtags for Social Media for Chronic Illness Bloggers

  1. #blogpost
  2. #chronicillness
  3. #chronicinsta
  4. #invisibledisability
  5. #invisibleillness
  6. #invisibledisabilitylookslike
  7. #sickbutinvisble
  8. #chronicpain
  9. #chronicfatigue
  10. #illness
  11. #disability
  12. #disabled
  13. #morethanadiagnosis
  14. #healthblogger
  15. #chronicillnessblogger
  16. #disabilityblogger
  17. #chronicillnesswarrior
  18. #mentalhealthblogger
  19. #spooniebloogger
  20. #selfcare
  21. #mentalhealth
  22. #zebrastrong
  23. #spoonie
  24. #spoonieproblems
  25. #chronicillnessproblems
  26. #emotionalwellbeing
  27. #chronicillnessblog
  28. #theworldseesnormal
  29. #awareness
  30. #disabilityawareness
  31. #invisibleillnessawareness
  32. #chronicillnessawareness
  33. #mentalhealthawareness
  34. #spoonielife
  35. #chroniclife
  36. #chronicsick
  37. #sicklife
  38. #mentalhealthmatters
  39. #emotionalhealth
  40. #emotionalwellbeing
  41. #itsokaynottobeokay
  42. #endthestigma
  43. #beingincurable
  44. #careaboutrare
  45. #raredisease
  46. #rarediseaseawareness
  47. #accessibility
  48. #mobility
  49. #mobilityaids
  50. #babewithamobilityaid
  51. #caregivers
  52. #holistichealth
  53. #chronicillnesswarrior
  54. #[insert illness]warrior e.g #MEwarrior
  55. #chronicillnesslife
  56. #painsomnia
  57. #fightingformyhealth
  58. #tubefed
  59. #spooniesupport
  60. #spoonielife
  61. #butyoudontlooksick
  62. #health
  63. #fighter
  64. #chronicdisease
  65. #awareness
  66. #hope
  67. #healing
  68. #chronicillnessfighter
  69. #chronicillnesssucks
  70. #pain
  71. #thebarriersweface
  72. #makeourinvisiblevisible
  73. #inVISIBLYdisABLED
  74. #brokenbutbeautiful
  75. #disabodypositive
  76. #bodypositive
  77. #spooniecommunity
  78. #disabledcommunity
  79. #disabledtogether
  80. #wheelchairlife
  81. #wheelchair
  82. #assistancedog
  83. #chronicallyfabulous 
  84. #hospitalglam
  85. #disabledandbeautiful
  86. #painwarrior
  87. #iamapainwarrior
  88. #painwarriorstrong
  89. #disabiledwarrior
  90. #keepfighting
  91. #myscarstellastory
  92. #spooniestrong
  93. #disabledandbeautiful
  94. #brainfog
  95. #appointment
  96. #drsappointment
  97. #hospital
  98. #hospitallife
  99. #wellness
  100. #millionsmissing
  101. #disabilityadvoocate