On my latest trip away, I had an accident. This is really unusual for me; I have never broken a bone and I pretty much never even get a cold. It’s rare that I’m out of action, but now, I am.
I chose the word ‘wound’ because our wounds are sometimes skin deep and other times deeper. We all face different wounds throughout our lives, be it a flesh wound, a broken heart, a gut-wrenching sadness, or a torn muscle. Your pain is unique to you, however I thought it might be helpful for me to share how I, as a person who focuses on wellness, carries on with a wound.
*Note, my injury is minor, but I hope that these words can resonate for those nursing more severe wounds too*
This is the most important part and for some, this phase may go on for months. Sleep is a great remedy for a sore body, an overwhelmed mind and an aching heart so make it a priority and if you can, take other pressures off yourself.
Give yourself some time to have a little wallow; maybe that’s a day or two, maybe that’s a month, maybe it’s a constant rollercoaster that means you need to take these days on a regular basis. Allow it. Maybe you take these days to lie in the garden for hours on end watching the clouds, watch TV series’, eat your favourite comfort food.
Recognise your survival behaviours and thank your body and mind for simply trying to help your system get through this. Also recognise that this is not useful long-term. We are grateful for these momentary escapes then realise that we need to put in some gentle work in order to help ourselves get better (physically & mentally).
Personally, routine is a really important factor of my life. I rise early for my Ayurvedic rituals, pranayama, meditation and exercise. Even though I’ve done this for a long time, I still need to set an alarm every day because my body loves sleep. I recognise this as helpful as my usual, however, since my accident, I turned off all alarms for a week to allow myself to wake whenever my body was ready – somewhere between 7 and 8am.
In time, all will be back to my ‘normal’ because I know that’s what nourishes me in the long run. I recommend reintroducing slowly so as not to tax the system and only introduce the things that you trust are beneficial; perhaps that means getting back to a 5 minute morning mindfulness practice before reintroducing social commitments.
Routine is an important part of your sleep cycle. For deep rest that has positive implications, we want to be going to sleep earlier rather than rising later. Generally, this requires a little discipline, especially at first. If instead, you go to bed late and wake up late, it can have a negative knock-on effect… your mealtimes change, your routine is out of whack, your confused digestive system has to cope with extra strain.
Even in these testing times where all may feel up in the air, it can be really grounding to stick to some sort of routine. Even just one thing, such as mealtimes, can act as that anchor, providing you with a subtle feeling of safety and connection within your life.
- Focus on What You Can Do
Regardless of your wound, there are going to be things that you currently can’t or really don’t feel like doing that you once did. Instead of putting energy into wishing you were doing those things, think about and enjoy the things that you can!
If your wound is physical, like mine, it may be that you have some more space to focus on intellectual and creative pursuits such as studies and personal projects. This could be a time you:
- Start learning that language you’ve always want to
- Get back into reading novels
- Grind and hustle on your passion project like starting a blog, creating your crafts, photography editing, setting up a website
- Study a niche topic like ancient archaeology in a country that enchants you, medieval history, innovative climate saviours, social change in the technological revolution – something interesting that you would never usually take the time to learn about
If your wound is emotional/mental then it’s unlikely you’ll feel like/be able do any of the above… so this is not what you want to focus on. Instead, maybe have a go at the below:
- Get out in nature (or stay where you feel comfortable) and connect with your present reality; name 5 things to can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can touch, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste
- Guided meditations with someone you trust or have had recommended in the past
- Try a gentle yoga class that is suitable for where you’re at (options for chair yoga, trauma-sensitive yoga, private 1-1, gentle flow, yin and many more, find what works)
- Documentaries on ANYTHING that will help to take your mind off whatever is going on and help to broaden to the bigger picture
- Listen to audiobooks and/or podcasts, regardless of whether you actually take it in, it’s nice just to listen
- Love Yourself Regardless
A big one, I know. But it’s important to recognise that point 3 might just all feel miles away and that you are perfect just the way you are. We’re not trying to get anywhere or achieve anything, we’re all just on this ride of life and everyone has their own obstacles, it’s just that some are more obvious than others.
In this day and age where it’s the easiest thing in the world to have access to other peoples edited highlights (I’m talking Instagram!), it’s far too easy to feel somehow ‘behind’.
All we do is because we think that somehow, in some way, we can be happier, whether it’s about how fit we are, how we look, how much money we have, how many friends we have, how many places we’ve been, etc etc… we can actually bypass all of that if we can allow ourselves to find happiness in this moment. We don’t have to be overjoyed and it’s important we truly feel the strain that comes with challenges, but sometimes, the fact that we have woken up for yet another day on this mass of earth that is spinning through a multiverse with a life giving sun, a cycling moon and a multitude of twinkling stars is enough to feel happy about in this very moment. You are a miracle.