Caring for the mind is as crucial as caring for the body. In fact, one cannot be healthy without the other.

Life has a funny way of guiding you into places that you never thought you would be. I was always at my happiest up to my elbows in paint, with young children armed with paint brushes and lumps of shaped potato covering every surface around them with colour, including themselves! I would go to exercise classes, walk everywhere, and enjoy a brisk run at 6am before getting my children to school and my busy day at work. I guess I was mindful, I had hobbies and I have always read. My love for books has been part of my life since I was a small child and my parents read to me. I still use them to escape too far off worlds and improve my knowledge of anything that I feel will help myself and others. I used yoga as my relaxation technique, but until recently I never realised how much it improves wellbeing and mindfulness.

I had pain in my hip and lower back. It would stop me in my tracks, and I’d huff and puff until the pain subsided, and I would carry on with my day. Those painful moments became longer and more frequent. I tried to carry on working but found the physical demands of being a nursery nurse too much. I remember hobbling into work to be sent straight home with my manager saying that they would cover me and that I had to rest. I was furious with my body. How dare it stop me from doing something that I loved? The next few months consisted of strong pain killers, doctors, and hospital visits and finally an operation. I was then told the news that I was dreading. The damage to my hip was irreversible. They were able to patch it up, but it was arthritic, and it was the same in my lower back. I had to give up my career as a nursery nurse. I was in my late 30’s and thought life was over. It was for a while. My mental health spiralled, and I struggled to cope with my days mentally as well as physically. Luckily, I had amazing friends and family. They pulled me through with laughter, love, and hope.

I decided to get some counselling and was taught how to accept my life and be grateful for everything that I had, not what I didn’t have. That counselling journey changed my mindset. I moved house to have an easier lifestyle and take away the pressures of maintaining an old house and huge garden. I became part of my new community, volunteering in the local library and getting an allotment. I learnt how much my body can do and made adaptions. The rest came naturally. Being on my allotment gave me fresh air, social opportunities, and time to escape from my thoughts. I realised that my life wasn’t over, it had just found a new path. I then decided to change my career path. I’m now training to be a counsellor. I’ve completed 2 courses and about to start my next one soon. I was also given a new role as a Wellbeing Support Counsellor which I can fit around my physical limitations.

I’ve learnt many coping skills. Break tasks down into achievable steps, give yourself time to care for yourself, don’t be afraid to say no, remove yourself from toxic situations or people and most importantly, put yourself first. Its ok to be there to mop up tears of friends and do errands for others, but when it starts to impact on your life and your mental health you must stop. If you are ill, either physically or mentally, you will be useless to help others. So, make sure you come first. Ensure you are living your best life. You have only one. It may not go in the direction you had planned; it may not give you the results you expected, but maybe there’s a reason for that. Have no regrets. You learn from mistakes as much as you learn from your achievements. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes, all you need is someone to talk to and unload all your thoughts and feelings.

That’s where I come in. I will listen to you with no judgement and in the utmost confidence. We can talk things through and maybe learn some coping mechanisms. You may need support from other professionals, and I can help you find them. If you need support, I am here. Email me on wellbeing@sbspp.co.uk and we can arrange to meet. You may like to go for a walk and talk, you may want to sit in the cosy Wellbeing room situated in Dorchester Sunny Days or we can chat online. You are not alone ❤️