Self Care Tips for Scoliosis

5 Self Care Tips for those with Scoliosis

5 Self Care Tips for Scoliosis


Over the past year, I have been living life on full speed, and as a result, have recently made myself pretty ill and run down. This has been very frustrating for me, as I’ve not been able to run or do the things I enjoy for a while. But this forced rest has made me realise something. That although I have been trying to focus on myself over the last 8 months or so and trying to fit in time for self-care, I actually haven’t been looking after myself in many ways.

I’ve been trying to keep up with people in my run club, see all my friends, work full time and meet my goals and in the process, I’ve completely neglected my health. Busy schedules, lack of sleep, not eating properly, 4 half marathons, long training runs, too much alcohol and trying to do everything all the time for everyone has resulted in a complete burn-out and an illness that has lasted far longer than it should have done. It’s made me realise that I need to make some changes to my life. I can’t do everything all the time and I need to make the time and space in my schedule sometimes to rest and recover.

These self care tips can be for anyone, not just for those with scoliosis but I feel that these are some things that I need to start doing to ensure I don’t let myself get this run down again. 


1. Try not to compare yourself or compete with others

Self Care Tips Scoliosis Don't Compare to others

This is a big one and I’m very guilty of this. I will use the example of my running. Before I got ill, I was pushing myself. I did the Great North Run in September, which I trained hard for and as a result I felt strong in this race, I did well and got a good time. Shortly after this race, I got ill with a virus, but continued to train for my next half marathon in October even though I wasn’t well. I went on 10 mile training runs and really struggled. I felt like I couldn’t keep up with the others, I had zero energy and felt like I couldn’t breathe properly. But I didn’t stop and even though I wasn’t feeling great, I completed the Manchester Half (in the rain), despite the fact that I felt like I was going to faint half way round and really had to slow down. After this race, I continued to train for my next half marathon which was the Conway Half, but again, I was struggling badly to run at a pace I was normally fine with. I felt rubbish, like I was unfit and failing.

It was shortly after this, that one weekend I got really ill and then, couldn’t run at all. I skipped all my training that weekend, then went to the Dr and was given an inhaler and antibiotics for a chest infection. Writing this down now, I know I was stupid to run the Manchester Half Marathon that day, but I didn’t want to miss out. As a result I felt crap and made myself feel 10 times worse. I was trying to keep up with everyone else, while neglecting my own health in the process.

Another thing is that this year I got caught up in trying to get faster and keep up with the faster runners in my run club. If I did a race and didn’t get a time I was happy with, I would feel a failure. I’ve been reflecting on this while I’ve not been able to run and thinking, I would do anything just to be able to run now, I don’t even care how fast. I think I got so caught up in it all, and trying to keep up with others, that I forgot how amazing it is just to be able to run a half marathon, never mind the speed.

From now on, I’m just going to try and focus on myself and what I’m doing and try not to worry about everyone else. I shouldn’t compare myself to others because (even though this is not an excuse!) running in general is more difficult for me. I do have a reduced lung capacity, muscle imbalances and leg numbness, which I’m sure will affect my ability compared to those without scoliosis. I tend to forget that sometimes.

I guess what I’m trying to say in this long winded way is, depending on the severity, having scoliosis can give you certain limitations that you should be aware of when comparing yourself to others (and not be so hard on yourself, anything and everything you do and achieve is amazing!)


2. Look after your physical health

Self Care Scoliosis

If you have scoliosis, keeping active is important and it doesn’t have to be strenuous. It’s important to keep the back and core muscles strong to help with back pain and to protect the back from injury. Activities such as Yoga, Pilates, stretching and physiotherapy can all help with this (as well as helping with your emotional well-being too!)

REST is also just as important for physical health – and this is crucial for everyone, not just if you have scoliosis.

I’m usually of the opinion that there is no time for sleeping and I’d normally rather be doing a million other things than sleeping. However, I’m going to try and make a conscious effort to get enough sleep, cut down on alcohol and eat better going forwards. 


3. Look after your EMOTIONAL health

Self Care Tips Scoliosis

I’ve been really tying to focus on my emotional health recently by taking a bit of time out for therapeutic activities such as yoga, meditation or mindfulness.  There are many apps you can use for this, such as as Head Space for example. There are also some good meditation and yoga videos on YouTube so you can fit these around your day. 

Another thing that it is important (and something that I personally find very difficult) is learning to say no sometimes. If you are tired, in pain or don’t feel like doing something, don’t feel bad about saying no and taking some time out to yourself. 

Similarly reducing time on social media and not looking at your phone an hour or so before you go to sleep can also go a long way to helping to look after your emotional health and well-being. 


4. Practice self-care

Self Care Scoliosis

Related to the above, self-care is so important for mental well-being. Things I’ve tried more of this year including reading a self help book each month, listening to uplifting podcasts and having regular hot bubble baths. Relaxing in a hot bubble bath is perfect for those of us with scoliosis and back pain as it can help to ease tight muscles.  I also find that having a bit of me time where I can relax and read a book really helps. Prior to this year, I never used to do things like this and I would be too busy for a bath (I always had a shower) but since I’ve been living on my own I’ve made a real conscious effort to make time for me. I’ve started self care Sunday’s, where I try to have an hour in the bath with my music and some candles. 

Another thing which can be good for scoliosis (and a nice treat!) is to have a massage every now and again. Not only can this be relaxing, it can also ease to help tight muscles and relieve pain.


5. It’s good to talk

Self Care Scoliosis

This one will be different for everyone, but having scoliosis has certainly affected my self esteem and mental health over the years.

The psychological effects of scoliosis are so often overlooked and can be just as bad as the physical symptoms and pain. Talking and dealing with all the emotions is so important but when I was a teenager I tended to hide my condition and keep things bottled up. I’ve recently started counseling and I think to be honest, I should maybe have had some counseling years ago to help me deal with the diagnosis and surgery.

One thing I did do though when I was contemplating and researching surgery, was to join a scoliosis support forum and talk to others with scoliosis who were going through the same.

If you are feeling alone or need someone to talk to, then I would really recommend doing this. It helped me so much as I made some good friends and felt less alone after hearing others’ experiences. A good site for support is the Scoliosis Association.


Inspirational-Quote

A single 6 months: goal review

In all honestly, the last few months have been pretty rough for me.

I have been struggling quite a lot with anxiety following the end of a toxic relationship and I’ll be honest, I have found myself dangerously close to a bad place. However, I have decided to take control and to use this time alone as a period of reflection, to really focus on myself and my goals and get to know myself and what I want out of life, which I think is what I really need at the moment.

I’ve been focusing a lot over the last 12 months on my running and fitness. If I’m brutally honest, I think this has been a massive distraction to what was going on or has happened in my personal life.

Whilst running certainly helps with my anxiety and well-being, what I’ve come to realise is that by focusing everything on that,  I have been failing to deal with deeper issues that really need to be dealt with before I can move on with my life/even attempt another relationship.

So while I have thrown myself into running and my physical health, I’ve realised that I’ve completely neglected my emotional health. I have been living life on full speed, leaving no time for me or to think/deal with things that I need to. This in all honestly led me to have a bit of a burnout, which resulted in me breaking down at work a few weeks ago.  

I know that I’m a strong person. I have been through a lot in my life and come out the other side, and this is no different. My breakdown was a bit of a turning point for me. I can see what has happened and how and I’m happy to say that I’m now feeling much better and ready to take back control and consciously make some time for self-care, which I’ve come to realise is really important.

I’ve always been very goal orientated, so I have had a look at my 2019 goals and, whilst I still want to continue with my running as it does help me massively, I wanted to also include some self-care and personal improvement goals. I find writing my goals down helps me to focus and I also have them on a whiteboard in my flat, which means I keep looking at them everyday. 

I plan to focus on these goals over the next 6 months or so, which I’m dedicating to MYSELF.

No distractions, no drama (I hope!) I think this is necessary in order to heal and get me into a healthier place where I can move forwards with my life and future relationships.


MY GOALS

2019 Goals

RUNNING

I would like to continue running as I do find it incredibly therapeutic and it makes me feel good. My run club keeps me going and I find the people there incredibly supportive and inspiring. There are always events being organised and I plan on getting involved in as many things as I can with the run club, such as volunteering to help with races and events, as well as attending the social events when I can.  I’d also like to carry on going and volunteering at Park Run as again this is great for me (I’m almost at 50 Park Runs now!)

I’ve come a really long way with my running and I’d love to see how far I can take it. My main goal is to achieve a sub 2 hour half marathon and I probably need to find a running coach to help me with this, although I was fairly close with the Wrexham half marathon earlier this year (2.02!)


THIS BLOG

I feel like I have neglected my blog a bit recently but I really want to dedicate some serious time to it by using my marketing background to develop a proper strategy. I love helping people and my blog and my Instagram give me so much satisfaction and purpose. 


SELF CARE

Take Care of Yourself Quote

This is the Biggie. I have decided to dedicate the next 6 months or so to self care. This is something I have unknowingly massively neglected over the last 12 months. I have always found it difficult to relax, but the last 12 months have been so hectic and stressful that I was running on full speed without taking the time to just STOP. I think I was afraid what would happen if I did stop and what emotions I would feel. But in the end my emotions caught up with me and as a result, I’ve forced myself to slow down a bit.

I’m starting counselling this week, which I’m nervous about but I think it’s long overdue in all honesty. I’ve also started Yoga and am looking into meditation classes. I’ve also decided that instead of scrolling endlessly on social media, I will use this time more effectively to listen to self improvement podcasts or read a book. I am aiming to read at least one self improvement book a month. Whether that be to help with my anxiety, work or goals. 

I have been spending way too much time on social media recently and it had damaging effects on my previous relationship and also my health.

Therefore I plan to use social media much less and only dedicate a certain amount of time to it in order to promote and grow this blog. 


TRAVEL

Another goal I have is around travel. I’m aiming to organise another charity challenge to raise awareness of scoliosis which I will probably take part in next year. I would also like to travel somewhere alone and take part in a Park Run and/or running event abroad. 


PERSONAL

Personal goals I have are around my mindset and positivity. I read Fearne Cotton’s book (Happy) recently and it’s really helped me. In order to achieve a more positive mindset and life I plan to write down things I’m grateful for/good things that have happened each day.

I realise that I have been negative and down in the past about my life and things that have happened to me but it’s so important that I see the positives and appreciate everything I have in life. 


FITNESS / HEALTH

I really want to try something new to help with my core strength. Ideas I’ve had are PoleFit, Climbing or CrossFit. So watch this space!

 


So, these are some of my new revised goals for this year. I wanted to write them on here so that they are out of my head and are written somewhere!

I only want to focus on the next few months and healing, then, who knows?! I can start planning what I want next out of life. 

Do you have any goals that you are working towards? How have you coped during tough times?

Let me know in the comments below. 

Louise X

 

Top 10 Inspiring Scoliosis Instagram Accounts to follow

Inspiring Scoliosis Instagram Accounts: My Top 10

Inspired by my own Instagram obsession, I thought I’d list my top Scoliosis Instagram Accounts to follow. 

I must admit, I am a little addicted to Instagram at the moment! Apart from Pinterest, Instagram is the main social platform that I use to try and raise awareness of this blog and scoliosis in general (shameless plug – you can follow me on Instagram here!)

The thing about Instagram is, it can be incredibly inspiring IF you follow the right accounts. I made it my mission late last year to unfollow any account that doesn’t inspire me, motivate me, or make me feel good about myself. 

I find Instagram is a great platform if you have a certain interest/niche – I love it as it’s great for connecting with other runners and those with scoliosis. I feel like over time I have built up a little community of friendship and support on there which is lovely and can be very motivating!

Below are 10 scoliosis related Instagram accounts that I enjoy following and am inspired by (in no particular order).

I’m sure I have missed some so please feel free to share any accounts that you are inspired by in the comments below 🙂


Inspiring Scoliosis Instagram Accounts to follow: My Top 10

1. Eva Butterly @evabutterly

Inspiring Scoliosis Instagram Accounts to follow - Eva Butterly

Eva is a PT and Online Coach for Scoliosis. She has created a range of podcasts discussing scoliosis and offering practical tips and advice for those of us with the condition. On her Instagram she shares strengthening exercises and inspirational images of her scoliosis. I personally find Eva incredibly inspirational to follow!

Check out her scoliosis podcasts here.


2. Mabel and the Scoliosis Runner @mabel_and_the_scoliosis_runner

Inspiring Instagram Accounts to follow - Mabel and the Scoliosis Runner

James is a runner who has not let his scoliosis stop him. I find him inspiring to follow due to my own interest in running and it just proves that even with scoliosis, you can run marathons! (My ultimate goal one day!) James has ran in the London Marathon which is my dream, and on his Instagram he shares his training and race achievements.


3. Hayley Wakefield @hayleyelysefit

Inspiring Instagram Accounts to follow - Hayley

I have only recently come across Hayley’s Instagram account but I find it incredibly inspiring! Hayley is a PT who has scoliosis and shares strengthening exercises and videos on her Instagram, she also has a scoliosis e-book.

I really want to work on my upper body strength to help with my scoliosis and my running. Sometimes I don’t know where to start though, especially with having scoliosis, so I love coming across accounts like this – it really motivates me to get going!


4. Curvy Girls Scoliosis @cgscoliosis

Inspiring Instagram Accounts to follow - CG Scoliosis

Curvy Girls Scoliosis is a peer run international scoliosis support group ran by young girls and aimed at young girls, covering 19 countries. 

Visit the Curvy Girls Scoliosis website for more details. 


5. Paige Fraser @lovingthispaige

Inspiring Instagram Accounts to follow - Paige Fraser

Paige is a model, professional dancer and choreographer who does not let her scoliosis hold her back. Check out an interview with Paige on the Beyond Scoliosis website – very inspiring!


6. Martha Hunt @marthahunt

Inspiring Instagram Accounts to follow - Martha Hunt

Martha Hunt is an American model, she has scoliosis and is proud to represent those affected by the condition. She uses her Instagram to raise awareness of scoliosis by proudly showing off her back and beautiful scoliosis scar to her 3M followers. 


7. Shano Nebel Rasmussen – @fuck_scoliosis

Inspiring Instagram Accounts to follow

Shano has severe scoliosis but does not let this stop him from bodybuilding. He shares bodybuilding and work out videos and photos on his Instagram and his posts are very positive and motivational.


8. Bent not Broken-  @Bent.not.broken7

Inspiring Instagram Accounts to follow - Bent not Broken

Bent not Broken is an Instagram account run by Rosie, who has had scoliosis surgery herself. It is a very inspiring account, dedicated to raising awareness of scoliosis.

On her Instagram page, Rosie shares beautiful and inspiring scoliosis stories, as well as some amazing back and scar photographs.


9. Scoliyogagirl – @scoliyogagirl

Inspiring Instagram Accounts to follow - Scoliyogagirl

Based in Prague, Czech Republic, Veronika shares back care and yoga tips for scoliosis on her Instagram, as well as raising scoliosis awareness.

Yoga is something that I have recently taken up and it’s so good for those of us with scoliosis – I really need to make an effort to do it more often!


10. Anna Martin @annamartinfitness

Inspiring Instagram Accounts to follow - Anna Martin Fitness

Anna is a PT and fitness entrepreneur sharing her top fitness tips for training with scoliosis regularly on her Instagram. I love her page and find it very motivational, as sometimes I struggle to know where to start/what exercises to do when it comes to weights and strength based training. 

 


Are there any I’ve missed?

Share your own favourite inspirational scoliosis Instagram accounts in the comments below 🙂

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Top 10 Inspiring Scoliosis Instagram Accounts to follow

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