Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Merry Christmas 2014!

Merry Christmas My Jaw-eous Lads and Ladies

Christmas and New Year can be a magical time, but for some people it is a very difficult time. For people who have had the operation and cannot eat, do not worry, those extra calories are no good for you anyway. You can pig out double next year. Winter is finally here in the UK and don’t we know it?! The cold plays absolute havoc with our jaws and I feel especially sorry for those of you who still have your titanium plates and screws. Try to cover up the best you can.

For those of you, like me, who suffer from chronic pain, Christmas can be a very tough time. Being surrounded by family who are happy and healthy can be upsetting. Not because you begrudge them happiness, but because you feel like your happiness is out of reach. There is the added pressure from all of the endless to do lists; cleaning, wrapping, shopping, visiting, cooking, money worries etc. I just about cope with my normal duties!

For those who find it difficult to fit it all in and to do everything they want to, Christmas seems like more of a punishment. Sometimes though you just have to put things into perspective and say ok, well I am not a healthy and fit person, as much as I would like to be, maybe I need to find another way around this? Maybe sacrificing on wrapping and putting everything into gift bags is a better idea? Maybe asking for help with the cooking and cleaning is a better idea than soldiering on? First world problems ay!

Me 6 months after Double Jaw Surgery! First Xmas

I know it is difficult to see the wood through the trees sometimes. Over the past few weeks everything seems to have fallen apart around me. This time last year I lost half of my family and now this year something equally as shocking has happened. It is really upsetting. After going through the different emotions and having time and space to reflect on the situation, I have had some very sobering and humbling thoughts. There are people all over the world who do not even have food or a roof over their head. Not through any fault of their own, but because they were born in a different part of the world. We take so much for granted and some people just cause unnecessary hurt and drama for no reason. Some people are fighting to survive the day.

Life has never been about the material for me. But living in a society where everybody shares their lives has its drawbacks. You may look at people’s lives online and they seem so perfect. You may look at the things they have and be jealous and/or upset. Damn it, so many times I have seen things on Facebook and thought, I wish that were me. But you know what? I speak to a lot of people and what I have come to realise is…. Facebook is a depressive and what you see online is not reality. Most people will not even realise what a negative effect Facebook or other online social sites have on them. But trust me they do. Everybody is trying to soothe their ego and make themselves feel important, in a world where we are all in competition with one another. It is so sad and life really should not be this way. I ask that you be mindful of this the next time you are scrolling through your news feed.

Ok so it is all very well and good for me to say this, but what is the alternative?

Try to surround yourself with positive people and positive things. I like to read inspirational quotes when I am feeling down. I like to look through photos I have taken on my travels. I write down positive affirmations for me to read. I read nice books and watch uplifting and happy films.

Write to do lists and be proactive. Even if you complete one task a day or you managed to make a phone call to your friend, accomplishing a goal or target you set out to achieve will help to lift your mood. Make sure your goals are SMART and that you remain organised throughout the day. Give yourself structured breaks and be kind to yourself. As humans we love to create patterns and stability, so a daily schedule may be helpful over Christmas.

My final message is for everyone, from the Jaw Surgery patients, to people who have long term pain and health conditions, to my friends, family and readers, be compassionate to yourself and your body. You are one of the same. So many people are not able to be compassionate to themselves. I was directed to Paul Gilbert’s work in August of this year. It has been one of the resources I have used to get me through.  You need to create some time for you and to do what you want to do. Spare 30 minutes a day for relaxation; meditation, a hot bath, listen to music, read a book in a quiet room, walk in the park or be outside in nature. Please find below a link to one of Paul Gilbert’s Seminars. I have found his teachings and tasks to be very useful.

After learning to be more compassionate to myself I set up my own Freelance PA & VA service. I am now working for myself and having the time of my life. My confidence is growing and I finally feel like I am back on track.

I do not pretend to have the answers for you, but I do know that you are important too. This is your Christmas and your life. You cannot be superman/woman 100% of the time. If you have recently had surgery please be careful over Christmas. Be mindful of your limitations and what you can manage. You cannot afford to push back your recovery time. Also, please be careful when you go out in these icy conditions.

Sending you and your family my love and best wishes for this festive period. I hope Santa brings you everything you wish for. 

Steffie x.x.x

You can now continue the chat and speak with other patients on my new closed Facebook group:

Looking forward to connecting with you soon!

Lots of love always,