Recovery Mode

recovering-please-wait

A few days ago I returned to work after undergoing shoulder surgery in early December (2017). Recurrent dislocations resulted in a tear and I was told that surgery was necessary if I expected to have full range of my right arm again. Even though two months recovery from work and physiotherapy were required, I was not prepared for the lack of use of my more dominant arm. I now have a new found respect for persons who learn to walk again or use their limbs from scratch.

During this time off, I was forced to not only take it easy, but be reflective on a few things including the following:

Healing takes time

This is true for every aspect of our lives.

I am generally a calm and patient person but must admit that I am hardest on myself. After surgery I had a personal timeline of when I should be able to complete routine tasks. Needless to say, this didn’t exactly work. As they say, make plans and God laughs. I am now learning to relax, listen to my body and “trust the process”.

My physiotherapist would be pleased to hear me finally admit that patience is required during healing. Too many times during our sessions I stated that I needed to be better in a few days as I “have things to do!”

Yes, I know…(insert face palm here)

I also learnt that full recovery was expected to take up to a year. This made me even more determined to bounce back quicker. I acknowledge that my therapist’s role is mostly to guide me but that the majority of the work results from my approach and consistency.

healing

 

Self care is important

This is an understatement. Further to the previous point, it’s not only important to take the time to heal, but also take the time to be kind to yourself.

Too often while taking care of others, we forget the importance of self-care. Usually, this is the MOST important.

During my time off, I was very mindful to treat myself well. This not only included rest and relaxation, but how I spent my time, the foods that I ate and even persons I allowed in my space. I felt it was important that as I worked on the physical, I also worked at being in a good space mentally as well.

always take care of yourself first

 

Scars tell our story

Scars are our perfect imperfections. Before and after my open surgery, I explored ways to cover what I expected to be a hideous scar. I considered various tattoo options which I thought would be cute and badass at the same time.

However the more I thought about it, I realized that I had no desire to cover my scars. They now signified something that I overcame and had sentimental meaning. While the shoulder tattoo is still an option, it definitely will not be used to ‘cover’ any scars 🙂

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Strong support system

Humans… sigh, we need them 🙂

Often I wish I could exist in my own bubble, or even planet. During this time, it was evident that we all need persons to lean on during rough periods. I’m eternally grateful to my immediate family and friends who came by, sent get-well gifts, called to see if I needed a ride anywhere or just to get some fresh air. I’m thankful for the persons who checked in to make sure that I was okay and well fed 🙂

What can I say? I love my tribe!

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Don’t underestimate the power of positive thinking

Of all the things that we say, we must be mindful of what we say to ourselves.

Sometimes negative thoughts are not intentional but often masked as being realistic. At the beginning, I often thought what if I never gained full range of motion again or worse yet, at all? Whenever this would happen, I immediately told myself that it was not an option.

At my first visit, my physiotherapist would ask me to mentally send messages to my arm. I couldn’t understand what he meant as it was obvious that my arm would not move on its own. However, as I kept trying to “send messages” along with mini pep talks to myself, I gradually gained increased motion.

Over time the more I willed myself to do,  the more I did.  As  cliché as it sounds, positive thinking works!

I can do it

 

Desperation breeds ingenuity

When you need to find new ways to do things, you get creative. Ever one to improvise, I found ways to use my left arm and even feet to complete simple tasks. I have become quite resourceful, writing (somewhat legibly) with my left hand. Being a true girly girl, hair and make up can now be completed with only my left hand.

snaps

 

Work will go on

Over the past two years I unfortunately became a workaholic. Staff shortages resulted in my covering multiple vacancies at the same time. I found myself not only working late but even on weekends constantly checking and replying to emails.

This time has forced me to take it easy and focus on my health and my family while acknowledging that work will be handled… and it was.

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Our health is indeed our greatest wealth. Often we take for granted how fragile (but amazing) the human body is. It is important to not only take the time for healing of the physical body but also for mental care during recovery period. My surgeon said that it will take up to a year for me to be healed fully and initially I was not  happy camper. However now, I am being patient with the process and learning a lot about myself and my body along the way 🙂

Here’s to not so much a “speedy” recovery – but a full and thorough one!

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Clip the dead ends!

Yesterday I got a much needed trim at the salon. Long gone are the days when I dreaded a trim (seemingly known to hairdressers as a drastic cut) and embraced the fact that my hair will be healthier in the long run. This simple act made me think about other times in our lives when a trim (or drastic cut) is necessary.

What are some of the things people usually cut out of their lives when embracing a life change? What are some of your “dead ends”?

I am referring to “dead ends” as not only something that is leading nowhere but something (or someone) who is stopping you from being the happiest, healthiest, most positive version of yourself. Some of the obvious ‘dead ends’ that persons cut may include junk food or excessive alcohol. Persons may also cut toxic relationships romantic or other wise or even consider cutting an unfulfilling job.

One of my “non-resolutions” (see previous post) for this year is to protect my energy and personal space a bit more. This means being extremely mindful of the persons I surround myself with and the energy that they bring. In addition to cutting certain types of persons, we may explore cutting bad habits. But what constitutes a bad habit for you?

We all have our vices and honestly may not be aware of the impact some things have within our lives. Over the past year I made a conscious effort to complain less and show more gratitude. This resulted in a fresh new perspective and things around me started to change. There will be a blog post later dedicated to this.

A few years ago, a friend invited me to her church and during the sermon the pastor spoke about the things we welcomed into our lives and the need to cut what was not positive. He spoke on many areas, but what I found most surprising were the types of music we listened to and television shows watched on a daily basis.

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Does this really impact us?

This is a difficult one for me. I always thought the warnings referred only to the “young and impressionable” but as a ‘grown woman’, this wouldn’t apply to me. Or would it?

I love ratchet reality tv, trap music, gangsta rap and dancehall music. Besides soca, this is my happy music and prepares me to face the world each day. While there are some songs that are positive, I must admit that there are also some messages that aren’t. The ‘World Boss’ allows me to brave morning traffic and arrive at work… for the most part… sane. Do I need to cut this? Say it isn’t so!

On a serious note, this made me think of the messages and energy around us. This may be music, movies, circle of friends, colleagues, the social media pages we follow, foods we eat, hobbies…everything!

Now looking at my hair, it seems to be thanking me for finally clipping the dead ends. Immediately there is more volume and life. This is a good start for healthy growth. I hope that this translates into the other areas of my life as I continue to evaluate and trim – more volume, more life!

2018: New Year, New Blog

Happy New Year to everyone who stumbles across this blog!

It is that time again, a new year. A clean slate for some or the regular scheduled program for others. However, it is a time that most persons become reflective and/or make various new years resolutions.

Do you make resolutions at the beginning of each year or if we prefer not to call it that, a list of action items that you hope to accomplish in the upcoming year?

Like most persons I’ve spoken to, I wish I could put 2017 in rice. Since this is not a viable option, I decided to take a quick look at what the year brought for me and dissect it objectively but with a positive twist.

2017 was an extreme roller coaster ride both professionally and personally but I must admit that it made for a lot of personal growth. As I looked back on the year, I made a list of lessons learnt and accomplishments. The accomplishments needed not be big, but even baby steps that have helped me overcome a fear, develop personally or professionally or even breakthroughs that were needed. This helped me not to think of 2017 has a “bad” year, but a year of growth while looking forward to new and better experiences.

I have made a list for 2018 but prefer not to call them “resolutions”. The word has become synonymous with being temporary and let’s be honest, once the newness wears off, most persons are finished with the thought of them by February or March. I do think that it is crucial at times to take a pulse check on our lives and review the path which we are heading and chart the direction that we want to go. I usually begin to reflect in November (for my birthday) and get serious for the new year.

I have a very practical list in hand and will need to make realistic plans to achieve each goal. Most things on my list are not new, but areas that I have neglected and seriously need to address or continue working on. Not sure about you guys, but I’m excited about the options a new year brings. 2018, Let’s do this!

What are some of the ways that you stay motivated to accomplish your new goals? Are there any goals that you would like to share? Also, do you work with an accountability buddy when trying to accomplish your goals?