Over the last two weeks I have been having a flare up. The main symptoms I am currently experiencing are pain and insomnia, meaning I feel a bit like a bear with a sore head!
However, after having flare ups like this for many years I am now getting used to dealing with them. It’s not easy, but it is easier than it used to be.
A common piece of advice I have had over the years is that ‘positivity breads positivity’ and being honest, this used to really irritate me. My illness is not caused by my thinking, by my actions or anything. It just is what it is. But, I think that reaction was a bit of a knee jerk reaction.
It’s not that lack of positivity has caused my illness (or anyones for that matter), instead this bit of advice means that positivity can help a shitty situation be a little easier. Whether it’s taking moments to be happy with small things or being proactive to help your own situation, a bit of positivity can go a long way.
Here are my top tips for coping with pain and staying positive:
1) It’s ok to complain….for a while, because we all need to get things off our chest. Being positive is sometimes the action of being proactive and moving our worries out of our minds by sharing them. Meet a friend for a coffee, go on a WhatsApp rant, whatever it may be. By saying how pants things are, you might just lessen the feeling that your head is about to explode.
2) Spend time with people but don’t worry about being social all of the time. Being tired, in pain, whatever, might mean that you need time alone. Try to arrange shorter ‘friend dates’ to keep yourself from feeling stuck in a rut. Go for dinner and explain you’ll have to go straight home, invite friends round, talk on Skype or just go for a coffee. Keeping social is really important.
3) Mindfulness and yoga are popular for a reason and starting to practice both was a big turning point for me. Although I can’t currently do much yoga, I do still do a little every day and will hopefully make it to a yin practise I’m signed up for on Saturday. Even just five minutes meditation will help you keep calm and carry on.
4) Read a good book because sometimes wanting to escape is completely fine. And it doesn’t have to be a boo, I’ll be honest that the last week I have barely read compared to my usual standards. I’ve only manage a few pages a day and have been watching a lot of TV instead. There is no shame in that! Sometimes we all just need to completely relax and escape for a bit. I would recommend listening to Conversations From The Heart with Yoga Girl, a podcast which is available on iTunes and Spotify and through her website. I also love listening to audiobooks on Audible. For TV I loved Safe on Netflix and have started The Fashion Fund which is amazing so far.
5) Keep your creativity by creating Pinterest boards or taking fun photos on Instagram. Flick through magazines, coffee books or create collages. Low energy activities that still feel creative are vital to my wellbeing as feeling unwell can often stop us doing the things that normally make us feel creative – I’m still managing to write, but not nearly as much as I normally do. I believe everyone needs space to be creative, but this can come in a million different ways.
6) Don’t beat yourself up. I know this is a lot easier said than done. I often feel rubbish that I haven’t managed to do all the things I planned to, but I have to accept that it’s not my fault. It’s the flare ups fault.
Let me know any tips you have for getting through things like this!