Let’s hear from Colette, this Self Care Week, one of Walsall Healthcare’s Self Care Management Programme volunteer tutors.
Hi everyone and welcome to my blog which I decided to put together for National Self Care Week.
I’m Colette and I’m a volunteer tutor on the Self Care Management Programme run through Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust. I’ll be honest and tell you that my mum’s the one who got me involved in the Self Care Management Programme but I’m so glad she did because it built my confidence up and now I support others which is really rewarding.
But a bit more about me first. About 10 years ago I started suffering dizziness and I developed a back condition that made it difficult to walk, go out and socialise. I was unable to continue in my childcare job which was incredibly difficult for me to accept. I was feeling very low as anyone who has been in a similar position can identify with I’m sure. I am in pain but because it’s not something people can see I’m all too aware of how dismissive some people can be. I know they think I should just get a job and get on with it – that’s why National Self Care Week is an important opportunity to educate others and raise awareness.
For me, the Self Care Management Programme course proved to be something that gave me a focus and helped me come to terms with the fact that I would need to adapt to my condition. I became a volunteer tutor after the tutors on my course encouraged me to do so! I’m only in my early thirties and I think there’s a misconception that long term conditions only affect the elderly so I’m hoping my blog will help to dispel that and other myths.
I would also like to encourage people to hold on to their ambitions and hopes; I know I haven’t given up on possibly having my dream career in the future. We may only take little steps towards our goals but they all count and are an important part of the journey.
For National Self Care Week I’ve set myself a Self Care Challenge aimed at improving physical and mental health. Perhaps you could try this too?
Read a magazine
Go for a walk
Turn off technology for 1 hour
These may seem fairly simple things but as I’ve already said – small steps add up!
I know how easy it is to feel consumed by your condition and it’s important to try and take your mind off things; to distract yourself. So flicking through a magazine, even if it’s only for a few minutes, is a start.
Going for a walk not only gets you into a different environment – and we have some lovely countryside areas and parks in Walsall – but also allows you to take some exercise at your own pace. It doesn’t have to be for an hour it can be a short walk of a few minutes. I need to use a walking stick at the moment and can feel wiped out some days but I still get outdoors when I can because it does give me a boost.
Technology-wise so many of us are constantly scrolling through our phones or texting and it’s good to switch off now and then. Plus the blue light from devices can keep us awake when good quality sleep would be more beneficial. Just try unwinding before bed with a soothing drink and a book rather than checking phones or screens. I know it can be a hard habit to break but if you start feeling more energised it’s surely worth a go!