Be Kind to Yourself
Being kind to yourself is about not putting pressure on yourself to achieve or be what you were pre-illness. It’s about accepting that you can't do things the same way you used to or that you might not look the way you want to. It doesn't mean that you can't do things or that you should give up on doing things, it's just about being kind and compassionate to yourself.
Each time I get stressed, overwhelmed or frustrated at a situation I turn back to my healing journey mantra ‘what does my eye need in this situation to be able to heal?’
Taking the ‘need’ back to my body and out of my mind, away from my ego, is a much calmer place to come from. My mind and ego want the house looking clean and they want me to be doing all the things that I used to be able to do so they put pressure on me to strive and achieve. But once I turn to my eyes and ask myself what they need to heal in this situation then I receive a much gentler, heart-felt answer.
Steps to being kind to yourself:
Write yourself a manta – what is the most important thing to you on this healing journey? Mine is ‘what does my eye need in this situation to be able to heal?’
Learn your new limitations – what can you do? What can't you do? Accept these as the way things are for you at this point in time. It may be this way for days, weeks or months, but eventually you will learn to adjust and you will find new ways of doing these tasks.
Learn to listen to your body – if you tune in to all of the parts of your body it will tell you whether or not it can handle this task right now. Do a mental scan of your body, starting from your toes up to your head. What is your body saying? Are there aches or pains twinging at the thought of doing that activity? Or is your mind or body exhausted and you need a break?
Have a plan to apply your limitations throughout your day – for example, I know that on my work days I come home exhausted with headaches and blurry vision. So I keep my evening free, I come home, get changed and go and lie in the lounge room with the lights off and listen to an audiobook or the TV for an hour or two while my body settles and restores itself.
Have a daily reminder to be kind to yourself – I have set an alarm in my phone for 4pm each day (you may prefer to have a note on the fridge or bathroom mirror). The purpose of the reminder is to stop those automatic habits that have us wanting to do things and remind us to stop. My reminder beeps and displays ‘You have permission to rest. Resting will heal your body’. If I’m already resting it’s like a pat on the back for a good job, or if I’m not resting then I finish up what I am doing and tell myself that I can come back to it after my rest.
Have kind thoughts about yourself – if you are looking at yourself in the mirror and are not happy that your clothes don’t fit the same or you can see your injury / illness... Take yourself back to your kindness mantra, my priority is my eyesight so if my body isn’t the same size and shape that it was before is that more important than my sight? NO WAY! I want to be able to see. So I look in the mirror and assure myself that I am on my sight journey and when my graft has healed I will be able to concentrate on making my body look good again.
Do something you love – be creative, do some gardening, colour in, cook a beautiful recipe, make something, catch up with a friend, sing a song terribly loud. This is being kind to your mind and your soul.
Be grateful – as you’re scrolling through the list of everything you can’t do, stop yourself and turn them around. What can you do? Be grateful for the things you can do. This one was hard for me and took a couple of months to be able to do naturally. I started with one gratitude a day and just kept going, some days I was grateful for the same thing, it didn’t matter as the more I was grateful for the more I realised I had to be grateful for. Amazing!
© Insight 2 Sight
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Heal Yourself Information Sheet #3 October 2015