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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5 Common Myths and Facts about Physical Therapy: Ashley Smith

Chronic Illnesses, Guest Posts, Invisble Illnesses

Hi Guys,

I have been undergoing lots at  hospitals to do with Gastroenterology to update you on.I promise will be back soon writing once the University year is over!

However, today we are fortunate enough to have an informative guest post from Ashley Smith on physical therapy. So without further a do…

I will hand you over

Lots of Love,

my name


 

Most Common Myths And Facts About Physical Therapy

It is widely believed that physical therapy is the best medicine/ solution for treating any kind of a pain. Physical therapy does not have any negative side effects on your health in any way. Normally, most of us have experienced a physical therapy at some point in time. Mostly, we are recommended to a physical therapist in the case of an accidental injury or a surgery. Therefore, we believe that we can visit them only if and when our doctor prescribes it.

Any kind of a physical therapy effectively helps you in restoring the movement, increasing mobility and flexibility, and on the top of everything, it helps in relieving the pain caused by injuries and certain health conditions. Physical therapists are the experts in treating any sort of pain, including all injuries and most of the health conditions. There are various kinds of physical therapy treatments that effectively work on the specific or the affected areas of the body.

However, in spite of knowing most of the benefits of the physical therapy, many people have certain myths about it. Yes, you read that right.  People believe certain things about the physical therapy, which are not true. You will be happy to know these myths and facts, which are the actual eye-openers for many of us.


Myth: I Can Visit a Physical Therapist Only When I Am Recommended

Fact

According to American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), it is found that around 70% of the people believe that they can visit a physical therapist only if they have a referral from their doctors. But, the fact is you can visit a physical therapist even without a referral. Mostly, we all visit them only when we are recommended for an accidental injury or a surgery.

The good news is you can visit a physical therapist on your own, whenever you feel even a little twinge of pain in your back, shoulders or the neck. Moreover, it is to be noted that most of the athletes and sports people attend physical therapy sessions to improve their performance, increase strength, flexibility, and movement. Therefore, do not delay your visit and treat that little pain of yours right away.


Myth: You Can Take A Physical Therapy Treatment Only In Case Of Accidents And Injuries

Fact

As mentioned earlier, many of us must have visited a physical therapist only in the case of an injury or an accident. So, we are habituated to believing that we cannot visit them exceptionally in any other case, where we are not recommended.

The fact is that you can visit a physical therapist even if you are suffering from severe and frequent headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, or a back pain. Patients with chronic pain have chronic connective tissue disorders and they tend to heal slower. Therefore, they need an extra care to help them progress at their tolerance to prevent setbacks and frustration. In such cases, the relevant physical therapy effectively helps the patient in relieving their chronic pain. It is essential that the patient should be given the most relevant and effective physical therapy to help them overcome their chronic pain and disorder.


Myth:Physical Therapy Comprises Only Exercises

Fact

A few people may believe that going to a physical therapist will only make you do some exercises. They may think that a physical therapist can only suggest doing exercises to treat the pain caused by musculoskeletal conditions.

But, the fact is physical therapy is much more than just performing exercises. It is true that a physical therapist uses a lot of exercises to help you restore the function and movement of the body. However, they also use a variety of techniques to help you relieve the pain. The concerned physical therapists closely work with you and examine your pain thoroughly. They determine the cause of the pain and prepare a treatment plan that uniquely meets your personal needs, along with treating the pain and injuries.


Myth: Any Healthcare Professional Can Offer Physical Therapy

Fact

A majority of the people know that physical therapy can be performed by a licensed physical therapist. Yet, a few of us still believe that it can be offered by any healthcare professional, which is not true. A licensed physical therapist only can perform physical therapy, which will be accurate and effective.

Today, you will find graduating physical therapists are doctors of physical therapy, attaining education of 6 to 7 years in the concerned universities. Lots of them go ahead to earn board certification in certain specific areas such as orthopaedics, sports, women’s health, neurology, or manual therapy. A licensed physical therapy assistant can perform physical therapy under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist or a doctor of physical therapy. Any healthcare professional, who does not have a license of a relevant physical therapy certification cannot offer physical therapy services. According to Peak Motion Physical Therapy, “Physical therapists should be highly trained in corrective exercises to guide healing and restore function.”


Myth: Insurance Plans Do Not Cover Physical Therapy

Fact

Most of the insurance plans cover physical therapy treatment. In fact, a majority of the insurance companies have a list of physical therapy providers in their network. So, it is advisable that you check with your insurance company if it offers a cover for a physical therapy treatment and if so, then inquire about the deductible amount and the relevant details. It is vital that you should know your financial liabilities before you begin your treatment.


Myth: Only A Surgery Can Heal My Pain Or Injury

Fact

In lots of the cases, physical therapy has proved to be very effective in treating injuries without having you to go under the knife. Physical therapy can effectively heal injuries and pain without needing a surgery in many cases. Physical therapists are the best people, who can accurately identify your pain and heal it effectively with the most relevant pain-relief therapies and rehab services. So, visit a physical therapist today itself if you are suffering from any such injury or a pain.

Thus, do not believe your myths and get your injuries and pain treated without further delay by a licensed physical therapist.


Sharing is Caring 

Please share to inform those suffering on these myths and facts to encourage physical therapy.


Have your Say

Have you experienced any myths discussed in this article or know of any other ones? – If so I would love to hear them below. 

 

5 Ways to have a Productive Day with a Chronic Illness

Chronic Illnesses, Invisble Illnesses, Mental Illnesses, Physical Illnesses, University life

“Having a productive day is very subjective; what is productive for one person is not for another”.

Some days, I find waking up, washing and eating productive. Others assess,  I am being productive when I  do University work.  What I have noticed though – is we all have tasks that need to be completed and this can send us into panic mode. The vicious cycle, of where to start and where to finish has a ripple effect – like a child who got denied candy at the fun fair.

 If you are someone sat there reading this with a chronic illness, I am sure you have an inkling of the cycle I am talking about. If you don’t well… I sit here, in envy.   What I am going to call the ‘ torrential storm cycle’ makes you question which direction to go in first.   Anxiety and stress are no strangers, crawling around your body, taking its toll , physically and mentally.  This post is designed to stop you in your tracks, so you aren’t continuously interrogating yourself about ability and self-worth.

“I spend 90% of my time in bed, but a chronic illness does not mean accomplishing your goals are not possible”.

Achieving those goals may just take comprise, planning and longer than you anticipated.


5 Ways to have a Productive Day with a Chronic Illness

1. Evaluate tasks ft. the spoon theory

If you haven’t heard of Christine Miserandino’s Spoon theory , it is a great place to start to help you have a productive day.  The theory in a nutshell, is that anyone who is chronically ill has 12 spoons each day (each one resembling energy) and spoons are exchanged for tasks.  The amount of spoons exchanged will depend on factors such as the length of the task and how strenuous. The point here, is spoon must be used wisely so you don’t burn out. By ordering tasks by importance you can identify what needs to be done on what day and start to put a plan in motion.

spoon-theory-e1510325926400.jpg

 In reality, you may find executing a plan is not always possible. However, the spoon theory gives you a general consensus of how much you can get done in a day.

You may find – once you start having a productive day you are at the opposite end of the spectrum. At Uni, I get told a theory is just that a theory. I am taught to challenge theorists view. So it may not be a surprise to hear I wasn’t a firm believer of the Spoon theory at first.  I was so productive one day I felt on top of the world. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I had completed an exam, handed in an assignment, found a job, booked a flight, travelled home from Uni and packed for a holiday and cuddled my little bunny.

Shortly, after this semester came to a close – I realised I used the reserve of spoons for months. I had to fly home 3 weeks early from working abroad, quit the job I found and was  behind in every subject at Uni. Barely, attending lectures and hospital appointments.  What I am trying to emphasise, is pushing yourself one day really can have a detrimental effect on your health.

“You need to work out what is realistic to get done in a day for YOU”.

 Which takes me to by next point…


 2. Break down tasks

 Breaking down tasks makes things more manageable.  Something,  I am training myself in like a disobedient dog. I am one of those people who seeks to think holistically to even do a task.  However, breaking down tasks can relieve stress, because you know you are achieving something – which has got to be better than nothing, right?

goal

I have found people have been more understanding about my illness when they can see that I am trying rather than wallowing in self-pity.  The amount you need to break-down a task will depend on its complexity. It may be a case of trial and error, but you know your body better than anyone in time you will have this down to a tee.

 If it’s something academic, you could try and break things down with titles and research areas and tie the ideas together later.  You may not get the best grades you are used to due to time constraints.  However, at least you will pass and can try and work harder when you are feeling a bit brighter on future work. If the task is practical, like cooking, you could do prep at a certain time and then cook later in the day.  Or if you’re a little bit cheeky – ask someone to help you to make the task manageable.


3. Follow your Body Clock

Most people would say, sort out your body clock first and foremost. It may work, but it is something I have been trying to do for over 10 years. My body just likes to be up during the night. The fatigue and pain is more manageable after I have digested by one meal per day.

“To have a productive day you must follow your natural body clock”.

You don’t want to set yourself up for failure by taking a U-turn and trying to achieve tasks when your energy levels and pain threshold is low.

body clock

“Remember you can always move tasks to another day as long as you’re motivated to accomplish them”.


4. Relax… just not too much

Whether you have a chronic illness or not, everyone should take time to wind down.  If you’re fortunate enough TAKE a bath, or go and visit someone who does! Watch a comedy, listen to music or sit in silence, do what works for YOU. I am not saying you are not going to wake up still feeling fatigued because you probably will BUT subconsciously your body and mind is still getting a valuable break and you get a hint of happiness.  I find relaxing whilst doing a task slowly usually gives me the right balance. However, this may not work for everyone.

“Just remember, don’t relax too much or you won’t get anything done”.

bath.jpg


5. Relieve stress with a pet

Patting pets are proven to having a calming effect on humans (Rodriguez, 2012), which may help you to think more clearly and be more productive! It is ideal if you own a pet and go and give them love when you are stressed and they are in a good mood. If your pet is moody, trust me try hugging your friends’ pet or the other four tips AND come back to this one later.  When my pets are hungry they treats me like food and it makes me feel rejected and has the opposite effect.  If you cannot keep an animal, I suggest you look out for the nearest dog on your walks or go visit an animal shelter. That way you can have your rare day out, killing two birds with one stone.

 


Thanks for visiting Brains & Bodies. I hope I have shed some positive vibes on how to have a productive day.


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I would love if you shared this post to help others with chronic illnesses have a productive day – everyone deserves one! For some reason all my shares reset back 27 from 84 , but please keep sharing. 🙂


Have your Say

Do you have any tips how to have a productive day? – I would love to hear them below.


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Over and out,

my name


References 

Rodriguez, T. (2017). Pets Help Us Achieve Goals and Reduce Stress.

Spoon theory (2017). The Spoon Theory written by and spoken by Christine Miserandino. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jn5IBsm49Rk [Accessed 10 Nov. 2017].

 

A Day in the Life of Someone with Epilepsy

Guest Posts, Peeping through the Keyhole, Physical Illnesses

Hello, everyone.

Today’s post is written by Ariel (formatted  and edited by moi), a courageous American woman living with Epilepsy. I would like to thank Ariel at Different Frame of Mind  for collaborating with Brains & Bodies to share an insight into what it is like for someone to live with this condition.

Ariel and I believe it is important to increase awareness of illnesses to try and improve how they are understood and perceived.

For those of you who don’t know much about Epilepsy, in simple terms it is a serious brain disorder which causes seizures. Just in the U.S, on estimate 2.5- 3 million people are diagnosed with Epilepsy (Health line, 2014). The type of seizures and frequency vary from person to person but may be attributed by similar factors such as; flashing lights, tiredness, not taking medication and stress. Some patients, do not know when seizures will arrive, which has a significant impact on their lives.

Now, that time has come to leave you in Ariel’s safe hands.

Over and Out.
my name


A Day in the Life of Someone with Epilepsy

One day I woke up and my mother was staring at me like she had never done before. I mean one of those stares that have you worried from the start, I was in the 3rd grade mind you. At that age you understand what is going on, but not to the full extent when you should. I repeatedly kept asking my mother what was wrong while she was crying.

She then told me that she believed I had a seizure in the idle of the night, as I was shaking uncontrollably for a few minutes. Which lead her to calling and scheduling me an appointment to see the doctor, more specifically a neurologist. When I received the news that this had happened to me, I simply accepted it and went on wondering what was happening to me. After doing an EEG, the doctors informed my parents and me that I had a condition called grand mal seizures, absence seizures and later on I would discover that I also had a sun sensitivity condition.

       Try telling all of that to a 3rd grader and see what they say.

brain

The doctors put me on some medication, but they said it was the dosage they would give to a 2 month old baby. I began to ponder why I was taking it in the first place. I did not have my next seizure until I was in the 5th grade, this was when I felt a shift in my entire life. I was typing up a report for school, when the computer caused me to have a seizure. I cannot tell you what happened. I can only tell you what others said happened around me. I woke up in the hospital with a cut on my throat, a knot on my head and a hurt tongue.

I was devastated and felt out of place, it had finally dawned on me that I was no longer a normal kid. When I returned to school, all of the other students judged me and made fun of me. I thought, “Great I have to spend the rest of my time at this school known as seizure girl.” Even the girl I fell on was afraid of me, from that point on I felt not normal, misunderstood and not accepted by society.

My entire life revolved around making sure I got enough sleep, to making sure I wore sunglasses or a hat etc. I had another seizure in the 7th grade and did not have another until I was 20. I spent most of my high school years not telling people about my seizures unless my mom made me hand my teachers a handout on what to do if I had one. I was completely devastated doing that, but I knew it had to be done for my protection. I tried out for track my freshman year, but ran into a dumpster and about broke my arm due to my sun sensitivity.

Sun sensitivity causes me to wave my hand back and forth in front of my eyes, looking almost as if I am brushing my hair back. I have zero control of my body when this happens, which means I could walk in front of a car without knowing or not see something and trip. I have had a few seizures caused by this. Which brings me back to my seizure when I was 20. I had just embarked on my first vacation with a friend but without any parental supervision. We finally arrived in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and checked into the hotel. I knew I should have taken a nap since I barely got any sleep, but I was way too excited to see the ocean.

The bright sun shines on a blue sky background.

About 20 minutes into the vacation, I fell over on the beach and had a seizure due to my sun sensitivity condition. I woke up in the hospital, without anyone around that knew about my condition. My friend was supportive, but you could tell the friendship between us had changed. I wanted so badly to give up the vacation and just go home.

My mother talked me out of it and I ended up having a wonderful time. Although I do not have seizures as much as many people do, I still live with seizures. I still feel out of place and wish that I was normal. I love sitting out in the sun, but I have to find ways to shield my eyes from the sun. Instead of letting it get me down day in and day out, I find ways to learn to cope with it. I used to let seizures stop me from doing things that I wanted to do.

Now that I am older, I understand my condition better and find ways to control, deal and cope better with it compared to when I was younger. A medical condition only defines you if you let it. I still continue to work full-time and live my life to the fullest. My biggest piece of advice to anyone recently or in the past diagnosed with epilepsy is that there are others out there that understand it. I felt so alone, but you are never alone. Also do not give up on life or let the diagnosis define you, there are always ways to cope with this.


  About the Author

ariel

My name is Ariel and I am the creator of  Different Frame of Mind  blog.  My blog focuses on travels with little funds, medical and psychological disorders. I was born in Kansas, but currently reside in North Carolina. I am married and have two wonderful puppies.

I am a bucket list traveller and have plenty to still check off. I have been on a cruise, travelled to 34 different states, swam with the dolphins and so much more since 2010.

Join me on my journey on one of the social media links below.

Pinterest

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Xoxo, Ariel


Sharing is Caring

We would love if you shared this post to raise awareness of what it can be like to live with Epilepsy.


Resources

Have you or know someone who has been recently diagnosed with Epilepsy?

 Epilepsy Action  helps Epilepsy suffers learn how to manage their condition better. The accredited course costs £40 but can be done in an environment whereby you feel comfortable and lasts 8 weeks.  I (Morgan) think this is great to give you or a loved one confidence in managing the illness.

Epilepsy does not just affect the patient.  Epilepsy helpline can provide the patient or carer with emotional support if you are having a bad day.

Telephone number (U.K) 01494 601 400*

                                             * Check the website for opening times.

E-mail Helpline@epilepsysociety.org.uk


References 

Epilepsy Action Learning. 2017. Epilepsy and you | Epilepsy Action Learning. [ONLINE] Available at: https://learn.epilepsy.org.uk/epilepsy-and-you-june/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5batouLh1gIVwZPtCh2XKQfCEAAYAiAAEgJSr_D_BwE. [Accessed 08 October 2017].

*Epilepsy Society. 2017. Epilepsy helpline | Epilepsy Society. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.epilepsysociety.org.uk/epilepsy-helpline#.Wdp_IFtSzIU. [Accessed 08 October 2017

Healthline. 2014. Epilepsy: Statistics, Facts and You. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/epilepsy/facts-statistics-infographic. [Accessed 08 October 2017].