9 Ideas for Emotional Self Care | Self care Series

Chronic Illnesses, Invisible illnesses, Mental Illnesses, Physical Illnesses, Well-being

What is Self care and Why is it Important? 

Self care is gender neutral and is the process of taking care of our physical, emotional and mental health.  It is important to you look after yourself to be more productive, improve your self-esteem, increase self-knowledge and being more compassionate to others.  By knowing your self-worth you will be giving off positive vibes and make you seem more attractive. Although useful sensory self-care is useful it does not necessarily address your emotions but dealing with your emotions can make you less stressed for longer.

If you are sitting there thinking self-care is selfish, well I have found valuing myself more has allowed me to give more and have stronger relationships with others.  It is easy to forget that emotions are not always good or bad, they are responses to situations that you control.  It can be easy to mask these emotions by using self-destructing mechanisms like alcohol, overeating and drugs but they are only temporary solutions.This post will a part of a 3 part series to help you with self-care ideas in loving memory of Nathan Robson. Nathan sadly lost his battle to depression aged 20 on 19/04/2018.


Emotional Self-care Ideas

  1. Keep a daily diary

Take time out of your day to record how you are genuinely feeling which can help identify the triggers of your moods and what makes you feel happier. If you are worried someone might get hold of your deeper inner thoughts put the diary in a safe place with a padlock on it the old school way or keep it password protected on your laptop. A daily diary can also help you see how far you’ve come, especially if you are working with a therapist to find the route of your problems. If you don’t know where to start try use these pointers and make your own list.

Think if you I loved myself what would I…

  • Do more of?
  • Do less of?
  • Who would I spend time with?
  • What inspires me?
  • What hobbies make me happier and how will I make time for them?
  • What goals do I want to achieve?
  • Which boundarieswill I set?
  • What actions can I take now?

diary.jpg


2. Seek Professional Support

If you don’t have anyone who you are close with seeking professional support could be a good route for you. Typically you can get up to 6 free counselling sessions through your University well being centre or the mental health charity Mind (U.K).  These free sessions tend to deal with one  problem you are facing due to the session limits.

However, you maybe entitled to free counselling in your local area through your GP about cognitive behaviour therapy, which helps retrain your way of thinking and may be more beneficial if you require longer sessions.  If you feel talking to a stranger is not for you an alternative may be discussing going on anti-depressants. However,  these take usually around 6 weeks to be effective and lose their effectiveness when combined with alcohol.


3. Practice a Healthier Diet

Food is important to fuel our day and affects our energy levels – Did you know certain foods can help induce you into sleeping or make you sleep longer? Getting enough sleep is important for the self-care triple bottom line. If you have trouble sleeping why not try one of these foods just before bed;

  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Lettuce
  • Turkey
  • Tuna or other fatty fishes
  • Ice cream
  • Milk
  • Kiwi
  • White rice

Food also impacts our moods, taking multi-vitamins will give you an extra little boost or treat yourself by indulging if your favourite desert. If you find you have little self-controland are treating yourself to often why not try replacing sugary or fatty foods with healthier snacks or drinks. Lentil crisps are packed with flavour and low in calories, smoothies, herbal tea, yogurts or egg salads.

fruits


 4. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

I know comparing yourself to others is so hard, when you see beautiful people floating around Instagram and many people’s lives seem so much better. However, you are your worse own critic, deactivating social media for a while might help you to start focus on yourself.

Focus on your strengths and develop your weaknesses 

One way to identify your strengths and weaknesses is by downloading an online skill matrix.


5. Avoid Withdrawal

Most times I considered killing myself has to be to do with being alone for long periods of time and overthinking. Withdrawing from people or your surroundings are the easiest way to enter a downward spiral. Even if you don’t think being around other people is helpful to keep sight of reality subconsciously.  Avoiding withdrawal is always my biggest challenge with self care because when I feel sad I don’t want to inflict my mood onto others or socialise with them.  You may feel you have pushed most or all your friends away but you can work to overcoming withdrawal by;

  • Attend local support meetups
  • Volunteer in a charity
  • Take a random trip
  • Call a helpline
  • Buy or borrow a dog and take it for walkies
  • Reach out to old friends

6. Reminisce on old Memories

Look back at past photos and videos can really give you the feel good factor and remind you of what makes you happy. If you have time and need a hobby making these into a scrap book with quotes with lovely photos can be really fun. If you don’t have time to do this why not make albums when you upload pictures to Facebook so they are easy to find later.

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7.Let yourself Cry

No matter if you’re a man or woman letting yourself is not weak. Crying can help you let go of situations and doesn’t have to be in front of everyone else.


8.Talk to Someone

Therapy is not for everyone and sometimes talking to a stranger is helpful to get an unbiased view even if you’re on a night out. If you feel you are only temporary down a helpline can really help have someone who listen to you. However, be aware Samaritans don’t tend to give advice but just give a helpful ear.


9.Plaster on a Facemask

Buying a Facemask makes you feel good when you put it on a good one can help with your skin. I find putting on a facemask triggers a positive mood and helps me relax. My favourite ones are from LUSH which cost around £7.50. You can buy fresh ones or ones that last a little longer.  If you have sensitive skin you may want to look in the Body Shop instead as there are a small about of parabens in LUSH products.The most important thing with emotional self-care, or any self-care routine in fact is you do it consistently.

Unfortunately Nathan’s mental health deterioratedonce his therapist went on leave and there was no one to replace her.


Sharing is Caring 

Please share the love to help as many people with tips for emotional self-care. Thank you.


Have your Say

Are there any emotional self-care ideas that help you – if so why not share them below?


Related Posts

Behind the Brave Face | 7 Secret Signs of Depression

Slaying the Double Depression


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#EDSBlogChallenge (Part 2)

Chronic Illnesses, Invisible illnesses, Uncategorized

Hi Guys,

If you are just tuning in and missed my initial post or want to get involved in the challenge you can still find the questions on my first  #EDSBlogChallenge post.


  1. What are your top 5 coping tips?
  • Stay hydrated with water
  • Eat small but frequent meals
  • Take naps or rest when possible
  • Be honest with other people about your limits
  • Use natural remedies like lavender and mint to help with physical pain

  1. What are your top 5 goals you want to accomplish despite your chronic illness(es)?
  • Complete my placement year in Marketing
  • Finish my degree with a 2:1 minimum
  • Travel to two countries in the next two years
  • Keep blogging as a hobby
  • Spend more time with my friends and boyfriend making special memories

  1. How do you stay motivated in your daily life?
  • I try to keep my mind occupied on University work
  • Reading books when I can focus
  • Writing whilst watching films or listening to music
  • Giving my pet rabbit and my boyfriend’s dog cuddles
  • Talking to friends and using Facebook support groups for Ehlers-Danlos
  • Asking support from people when I am having bad flares

  1. What do you want people to know the most about your life with EDS?
  • It isn’t just a joint problem that makes me look young, it is a joint problem that affects my daily life in most things I do.
  • The chronic fatigue part of it is insane and pain in one area may be different and a different severity to another part another day.

  1. When did you first start thing that the dislocations/subluxation extreme flexibility etc. could be related to a real problem?
  • Around 22-23 years old when I stopped working as a Waitress I noticed the pain heightened considerably and I became very weak.

  1. Did your related diagnoses come before or after your EDS diagnosis?
  • Photosensitivity, IBS, nut, gluten and lactose allergies, oral food syndrome and a vitamin D insufficiency came before and chronic bladder syndrome, an increase in mast cells came after.
  • My pots test came back inconclusive and I am waiting to be tested for MCAD, Chrones and celiac disease

  1. What is your biggest pet peeve about trying to explain EDS?
  • Many people think I am lucky when I explain that I am hyper-mobile and switch off when I try to explain it is much more than that.

  1. How has being sick impacted your relationships?
  • Some relationships have become stronger and some weaker. I am shyer to make new friends and talk to new people as I am worried I won’t be able to sustain new friendships.
  • I have found a boyfriend who accepts me for who I am and understands I can’t do everything and I have become closer with my family.

  1. What was your initial thoughts about being diagnosed?
  • I was such a mix bag of emotions!
  • I was happy to find out I had EDS but I thought that was the end of it. I realised it was just the start of a long journey to find out what else was lurking behind the wood works having very big digestive and bladder problems.
  • However, I am happy the doctors are more willing to find out what is wrong and try to make me feel better

  1. What healthy habits have you adopted since being diagnosed?
  • To be honest this is still a massive work in progress. I still smoke and drink alcohol but I have cut down considerably (more on the alcohol part).
  • Any form of exercise hurts and tires me out massively but I am going to try and start a full-time job for a placement in July
  • I am eating healthier eating more fruit and vegetables and making sure get lots of rest.

  1. How do you feel about your current treatment plan?
  • My current treatment plan isn’t very good as I am back taking Tramadol and a few other tablets and strong vitamins.
  • I was meant to do the 3 week intensive therapy course at RNOH but I currently am struggling to stay up 9-5 to do this.
  • I am also waiting for planning instillations and I am having an Endoscopy soon. I feel once I see a mast cell specialist the EDS will get better if I can block out some flares.

  1. What do you think is the most misunderstood aspect of EDS?
  • That it is even an illness(to those who don’t know what EDS initially is)
  • for those who do I find they think all the types are the same and even people with the same types have the same issues

  1. What are your top things to pass time when you’re stuck in bed?
  • Eat and sleep!
  • Watch Netflix
  • Text or speak to friends on the phone
  • Blog or do Uni work
  • Smother (I mean cuddle) my boyfriend

  1. What is your favourite motivational quote and why?
  • It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you don’t not stop.
  • I love this quote because it shows that resistance is key and no matter how long something takes if your determined you will get there in the end

 Sharing is Caring

Please help me in my quest of raising awareness of EDS by sharing this post


Have your Say 

Do you have EDS or know anyone with it with similar or different experiences – then why not comment below?


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Thanks for Reading

Lots of Love,

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#EDSAwarenessMonth Blog Challenge

Chronic Illnesses, Invisible illnesses

 

zeb

Hey Guys,

As the sun is shining it is clear summer has started … but for those of you who don’t know  May is also Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Awareness Month.  As University is winding down for the year I am hoping to get back in the swing of blogging.

I found the #EDSAwarenessMonth Blog Challenge by Kali at  This Spoonie Speaks. I have decided to participate but please bare with me as I catch up… To begin I will answer the first six questions but if any of you fellow Zebras want to participate in the challenge, I have listed the questions at the end of this post.

my name


1.Introduce yourself and explain what type of EDS you have.

I am Morgan, quarter of a century old in my second year studying BA (Hons) Business and Management at Oxford Brookes.  From my knowledge there are 13 types of recognised EDS, but I have the most common type which is type III known as hEDS. I was diagnosed with EDS at 23 years old by a rheumatologist but I had showed signs from an early age.

One of reasons why I was not diagnosed earlier is because hEDS does not have a specific blood tests and symptoms can vary between patients.  However, there are more stringent guidelines for diagnosing EDS now, known as the Beighton Score.

You don’t need to wait to see a doctor to see if you can do the 9 tasks you will be asked to perform when seeking an official diagnosis.  I don’t remember my Beighton score but I remember it being relatively high with more flexibility in my upper body ( you don’t need to be able to pass all 9). My lower body has become more flexible over the last two years.However, a common misconception is your only symptom is hEds is hyper-mobility.  My other main symptoms of EDS are joint pain,  bladder and bowl pain, chronic fatigue, bruising, problems absorbing vitamins and severe photo sensitivity.


2. What other illnesses do you have that are related to your EDS?

It is common for EDS to coexist with other conditions, however this is not always the case.  Unfortunately, for me this is not clear cut.

I suffer with multiple allergies and gastroenterology issues which are still under investigation. I was born lactose intolerant and then developed allergies to gluten, nuts, tree pollen, grass pollen cats and nickel being sensitive to numerous other products and being diagnosed with oral food syndrome and IBS.

I am suspected to have Crones or Celiac Disease but have not been able to intake gluten for 6 weeks to be tested. I have also been waiting over a year to see a mast cell specialist and bladder instillation’s due to chronic bladder syndrome.  When I was younger I suffered a lot with urine and bacteria infections associated with eating certain foods. My POTS test came back inconclusive but I I an renown for  low blood pressure.


3.How long did it take you to get your diagnosis? How many doctors did you see?

After my brother suspected I had EDS it took me about a year to get an official diagnosis. However, my parents paid for me to go privately as my GP was convinced it was all in my head despite my brothers diagnosis and similar symptoms for years. Initially I saw a Rheumatologist but due to  the time of my diagnosis and the changes in EDS regulation I saw another one on the NHS to confirm I did  have EDS.


4. What do you want newly diagnosed EDS-ers to know?

Its okay to feel relieved when you receive a diagnosis but also overwhelmed.  The difference is know you have the resources and language to help you start recovery when you are ready. However, do not expect a diagnosis to be a quick fix, the NHS has long waiting lists and you may find a EDS diagnosis is the start of your journey to rule out other conditions.

Although it may not feel like it a label can help you out in so many ways. It can make your GP more understanding, support you apply for mitigating circumstances in your studies and your employer is likely to let you take more short-breaks.  I would say don’t try and figure everything about EDS in one day because this can leave you panicked or frustrated. You can find a local support group, or if you have a busy life or feel unwell social media has many virtual ones online. I find because everyone experience of EDS is not always the same I prefer to listen to specialists, but I know this does not work for everyone

It is all about finding out what works for you!


5. How have you adapted to your diagnosis?

I am still coming to terms with my diagnosis because mental health plays a big part in a physical illness and stress makes joint pain worse for me.  The biggest change is now knowing I cannot keep up with everyone else and going out one day will make me tired for two.  My life is having really productive days and long periods of nothing.  I am trying to get into a routine to do a 3 week inpatient physical therapy rehabilitation course at RNOH I have started taking Tramadol, Codiene and co-codamol when the pain becomes unbearable again.I also consume loads fizzy drinks for bursts of energy – Although, I don’t recommend this.

Hot water is my best friend and I find I always have a hot water bottle to hand and take multiple showers a day because  heat helps loads.   I am soon to be go back to full-time work properly for the first time in years but I will keep you posted on this – As I am still spending loads of time in bed.


6. How has EDS changed your life for the better? 

I am not going to lie to you and say EDS has changed my life for the better overall but it does have some positives.

Firstly, it helped me become an EDS advocate and find this hobby of blogging, sharing my experiences to help others.  Secondly, EDS has brought my family and I closer together because now they understand I am not being a drama queen and I am actually in pain.  Although I have lost friends by staying inside I have found by being in pain all the time I now found I appreciate the special memories I make with my friends and boyfriend.


Sharing is Caring 

Please help me in my quest of raising awareness of EDS by sharing this post.


Have your Say 

Do you have EDS or know anyone with it with similar or different experiences – then why not comment below? 


Like what you see? 

Join me on my journey;

Facebook page

WordPress

Twitter 

Instagram

Pinterest


 #EDSAwarenessMonth Blog Challenge Questions 

  1. Introduce yourself and explain what type of EDS you have.
  2. What other illnesses do you have that are related to your EDS?
  3. How long did it take you to get your diagnosis? How many doctors did you see?
  4. What do you want newly diagnosed EDS-ers to know?
  5. How have you adapted to your diagnosis?
  6. How has EDS changed your life for the better?
  7. What are your top 5 coping tips?
  8. What are your top 5 goals that you want to accomplish despite your chronic illness(es)?
  9. How do you stay motivated in daily life?
  10. What do you want people to know the most about your life with EDS?
  11. When did you first start thinking that the dislocations/subluxation, extreme flexibility ect. could be related to a real problem?
  12. Did your related diagnoses come before or after your EDS diagnosis?
  13. What’s your biggest pet peeve about trying to explain EDS?
  14. Has being sick impacted your relationships?
  15. What were your initial thoughts about being diagnosed?
  16. What healthy habits have you adopted since getting diagnosed?
  17. How do you feel about your current treatment plan?
  18. What do you think is the most misunderstood aspect of EDS?
  19. What are your top things to pass time when you’re stuck in bed?
  20. What is your favorite motivational quote and why?
  21. What is your favorite piece of medical equipment that you own?
  22. What things have you learned from being chronically ill?
  23. What was your worst medical setback? How did you overcome it?
  24. What was your worst encounter with a doctor?
  25. What is the worst unwanted advice you’ve ever gotten?
  26. Have you found books that have helped you cope with being chronically ill?
  27. What would your coping advice be to friends or family of someone who’s chronically ill?
  28. What is the strangest question you’ve ever been asked about EDS?
  29. Do you think changes to your diet helped or contributed to your symptoms or the severity of them?
  30. What has been your biggest outlet to help deal with being sick?
  31. What are your favorite memories from EDS Awareness Month?