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My new weekly blog post looks at the bigger picture of how to cope with chronic pain, and different ways of looking after your wellbeing. I’ll share some of my own self care tips, new things I’ve tried, how I’ve pushed myself out my comfort zone, and the pain challenges I’ve faced. It will be an honest summary of thoughts and ideas to hopefully inspire you to look after your own wellbeing, and help you cope better with your chronic pain.
The Mental Health Foundation website sums up what wellbeing is very nicely:
“Wellbeing is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy.” However, it is important to realise that wellbeing is a much broader concept than moment-to-moment happiness. While it does includes happiness, it also includes other things, such as how satisfied people are with their life a whole, their sense of purpose, and how in control they feel.”
My first post of my new series felt anything but a state of wellbeing. This week I attended my first ever baby shower. I was dreading it. I’m naturally an introvert who prefers 1:1 conversations rather than big groups. I also struggle to make conversation and, because of my anxiety I tend to often stumble over my words, not hear things properly, and in general feel I’m making a bit of a wally of myself.
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If you’ve ever been to a baby shower, you’ll know they are mainly attended by the female friends and family members (I was expecting some blokes there too); although there was only one baby at the event I went to, the general topic of conversation is babies (no surprise there really); and they involve games (extra pressure!).
Well all of this is completely out of my comfort zone. I mean, completely.
I even dressed differently to most of the ladies who all got very dressed up in what looked more like evening wear, even though it was an afternoon event. I was there in my baggy comfy trousers and smart-ish t-shirt to ensure I was as comfy as I could be and manage my coccyx pain as best as I could.
I don’t do babies, so I generally have no idea what to say about them.
And when I’m in big groups I don’t like the attention on me at all. Suddenly it was time for the games. Naturally I’m quite competitive, so I do take things things quite seriously. I’m also a planner, so I like to thinks things through. I’m also not very good under pressure especially when trying new things – can you see now why this whole thing was completely out of my comfort zone???
But to my surprise, and yours no doubt, I stepped out my comfort zone, I got stuck into the games (all four of them), and I even held the one baby that was there. And I walked home with three prizes!
Now the whole thing still seems very much against looking after my wellbeing. And at the time I thought it was. But I didn’t want to not go and let my partner down; I didn’t want to let the mums-to-be down by not showing my support; and I do like to push myself and try new things, and feel a sense of achievement. Also, I know it is my anxiety that makes me think and fear these things half the time, and the only way to not let anxiety defeat me is to push through it – a bit like the bestselling book with the title Feel the fear and do it anyway – and I knew I had my partner by my side to support me, and admittedly the odd alcoholic drink or two.
I went home extremely proud of myself for going, for pushing myself, trying something new, and for proving that I can do these things. I was extra chuffed I’d won some prizes as well. My pain was fairly manageable on the day, which was a huge bonus, and helped me cope better on the day.
By the time I got home I had a much more positive wellbeing feeling: I felt extremely satisfied, felt more like I had a purpose and sense of achievement, and definitely felt in control as I didn’t let my anxiety take over.
What does wellbeing mean to you?
How do you look after your wellbeing?
Do you ever push yourself out your comfort zone?
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