I hope you enjoyed reading my previous blog about the importance of exercise for us patients. This time I would like to share with you how introducing small changes to my lifestyle has helped me to become more calm, happier and at peace with life.
Living with Thalassaemia can sometimes be overwhelming and it’s so important to stay strong and level-headed with it all. If somebody with no underlying health concerns is depressed, they are likely to overcome it with no physical problems, but if we as patients fall into this spiral and we stop taking our medication, the consequences can be very serious.
I have witnessed this myself with a good friend. He passed away in his thirties which is so heart breaking because now more than ever before we are living longer.
Why wouldn’t we want to stay as well as we physically and mentally can to prolong our lives now that we have the chance to? My aim is to share small suggestions that perhaps may help you to try something new to help yourself should you ever feel the need.
Life really is too short…. for everyone!
Firstly, I have always liked to surround myself with things that I love or memories that put a smile on my face. For example, I always have flowers in every room of my home. They simply make me happy.
I also keep a lot of plants. As well as looking pretty and giving life to my home, they have health benefits too. My Peace Lily promote restful sleep and purifies the air. A good one for the bedroom.
A good night’s sleep helps…
- keep your immune system strong.
- keep your heart healthy.
- take care of your emotional wellbeing.
- reduces stress levels.
- help maintain a healthy weight
I also choose to be in the company of people that lift my spirits. People that I call my true friends. The ones that ….
Because I do like to surround myself with things that are aesthetically pleasing, I have created a `happy mood’ board at work. It`s filled with positive quotes, beautiful images and good news stories about what my colleagues have achieved.
I even decorated the day unit at my hospital with lampshades, flowers and curtains to make it look and feel homely and comfortable…and of course we have a `happy mood` board full of photographs of staff and patients.
The things I have mentioned are actually things that a counsellor suggested a friend of mine do to overcome a difficult time during her divorce. I had already been doing this for many years prior to finding out it was professional advice, so it was good to know that there is a method to my madness!
Every now and then I pick up my ‘happy book’.
This is a blank little book which I have filled with lovely experiences that have happened to me and encouraging words that people have told me. I find this a great pick me up especially if I have had a challenging day or may be doubting myself.
I often remind myself that we should always think about what we do have and not what we don’t have.
It’s not about your glass being half full or half empty. It`s that you have a glass.
Affirmations can also be useful to some. This is something that you need to do regularly but doesn’t take up much time. These are positive statements that can help you overcome negative thoughts. When you repeat them often you start to believe in them which is when you can start to make positive changes.
I had practiced this a few years ago which did help me through a difficult time. It can feel like an odd thing to do at first, but it soon becomes part of a daily routine. Breathing and meditation are a couple of things I currently practice on a daily basis.
I allocate specific times throughout the week to sit peacefully with a lit candle in the dark to collect my thoughts, breath or simply shut my eyes and think of nothing but stillness and calm.
If like me you have anxiety, these are two excellent ways to overcome this. They also help with…
- Improving immunity.
- Relieving pain.
- Stimulating the lymphatic system.
- Improving digestion.
- Helping to support correct posture.
- Enhancing self- awareness.
- Generating kindness
During lockdown I have been going to the woods for long walks with my husband and dog. This is another place where you can be completely at peace and inhale some much needed fresh air. We tend to have some of our best conversations whilst out walking.
It`s also been thought provoking to think about nature and really appreciate what we have for free.
Being amongst nature is a great stress reliever and can actually help reduce inflammation.
A while ago I had seen a counsellor which can be daunting however this was very beneficial for me. They didn’t say much but before I knew it, they had helped me to rationalize my thoughts.
These are simply a few of my ideas that have helped me along the way. Everyone will have their own thoughts of what they would like to try. In this beautiful however sometimes challenging life, we need something to believe in, something to keep us safe (mentally) knowing that we have options and we are not alone.
These ideas and practices may seem alien to some of you but don’t knock it until you`ve tried it!
Welcome whatever makes you smile, laugh, be happy into your life every day. I’m listening to Lenny Kravitz as I write this. It’s not so much about the music if you get my drift. This is really putting a smile on my face!
Until next time i’ll leave you with this thought…
“What is the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity? Our attitude toward it. Every opportunity has a difficult and every difficulty has an opportunity” J. Sidlow Baxter