The Importance of Self-Care to Mental Health: DIY Self-Care Box

Self-Care.

Self-Care means taking care of every single part of you; body, mind and spirit. I see so many people talking about how they take care of their body by fuelling it with healthy foods and exercise and, yes this is very important but what about the mind? Your mental state is so so important to how you function daily, yet it is often pushed to the back burner as we rush through our days, pushing and pushing to get to the next task.

I have shared my experience with mental health before and I wanted to update you that I am now no longer taking anti-depressants for my anxiety. This was a hard decision to make as I was terrified that my symptoms were going to come back full force if I stopped the medication but I also felt that I would be able to cope without them. I gradually reduced the dosage over a few weeks after coming back from holiday. In hindsight, this was probably not the best time for me to come off them as I had a bad case of the ‘holiday blues’. However, I am so glad that I did it and I think that if I left it any longer, I would’ve been more reluctant to stop them. It hasn’t been plain-sailing due to some horrible side effects and withdrawal symptoms for the first couple weeks but it’s now a couple of months on and I feel better.

Recently though, I’ve been feeling a little out of sorts. I can’t really put my finger on what feels wrong, I just don’t feel exactly like me some days. Just…distant. Like I’m going through the motions of my day without really being present. It’s a strange feeling and most days it comes and goes.

To help myself feel better, a few weeks ago I created a Self-Care box filled with inspirational quotes, books, messages etc to pick myself up. This was not only for me, but for my fiance who was having a bit of a rough time. I wanted there to be something we could both go to when we needed a helping hand. Any time I’ve been feeling a bit distant or sad, I go to this box and pick out a card or quote or read a page from the book inside and it lifts my spirits. Not in a massive way, but just enough.

I want to share this with you today in case you are feeling down and need a pick me up or you have a friend or family member who is struggling with their mental health and you want to show them you care.

What You’ll Need:

  • A box/bag of any size
  • paper
  • pens
  • pictures/cards/postcards
  • inspirational quotes (handwritten/printed)
  • cellotape
  • scissors
  • books
  • paperclips (optional)
  • trinkets
  • anything that makes you/the person smile

Where To Find Resources:

To start I used this box that I was gifted by my grandparents. It’s so pretty and perfect for this with all the little quotes. You can use any box and use wrapping paper or decorate it to look how you want. I wrote a little note and stuck it on the top of the box. You can customise this however you like to make it more personal.

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I decorated the inside of the box with a couple of cute quotes.

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I filled the inside of the box with a variety of cards, quotes, messages and cute little trinkets.

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I hope you like this and if any of you make your own Self-Care box, please send me some pictures- I’d love to see your own personalised creations!

Love and Light,

Rebecca xo

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Raising Awareness of IBD and What You Can Do To Help

Raising Awareness of IBDHey everyone,

I just wanted to check in and say I am so grateful for all of the donations/ sponsors so far (if you missed my last post, I am taking part in a 5K walk to raise money for Crohn’s and Colitis UK) and it makes me so emotional to think how much support I have behind me. The money raised for Crohn’s and Colitis UK could help fund research for treatment and even a cure someday. Funds can help provide information and advice for over 1,000 people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease which is just incredible.

Crohn’s and Colitis UK Website

This charity was the first place I turned to when I was diagnosed. There are so many useful resources on there such as their Crohn’s and Colitis Companion which is an interactive resource that gives users information or advice on things like their symptoms, treatment options and how to live with IBD. This is really easy to use and so helpful for people who have just newly been diagnosed or anyone who needs a little support. There are over 40 leaflets and booklets available to download covering everything from financial aid to the symptoms of both conditions. It is so important to raise funds and donate as they use the money for incredible things like determining causes of IBD and the newest treatments. Recently £700,000 has been awarded for the research into new treatments and improved care for patients.

#WALKIT

#WalkIt is happening all around the UK. There is a 5K or a 10K that you can do or volunteer at. I am so excited to take part in the walk and to meet others with IBD. I think it is so amazing that we will all come together to support this amazing charity and each other. It is important to keep raising awareness of these conditions, being invisible illnesses, they can be so damaging to someones body, but at the same time give the appearance of being ‘well’.

It is amazing that more people are becoming aware and more understanding of chronic/invisible illnesses but there is still a long way to go.

The most important thing that anyone can do is to have compassion for others. We all have something going on in our lives, you never know what people are going through. Their lives may look perfect on social media but a smile and a filter can hide a lot. Every single person has their own struggles and it is important to keep that in mind every single day.

An Update on My Ulcerative Colitis

I am doing great at the moment; I haven’t had a flare in around 2 years. However that doesn’t mean that I feel healthy and fab every single day. There are still good days and bad days but my bad days are better now than the ones I used to have. The symptoms I’ve been having recently are some stomach cramps/pains (these tend not to come to anything and usually decrease) and fatigue. Fatigue is what I struggle with the most and it can be there even on the good days. I usually help this by resting as much as I can and trying to reduce my stress, although I fight a losing battle most of the time.

It can be hard some days to not let it get me down but I just have to pick myself up and keep moving forward. This is my life now and my UC isn’t going to stop me from living it to the fullest.

How You Can Help

You can help raise awareness of IBD by joining in the #WalkIt, donating or even just sharing this blog post. If you or your loved one has IBD, becoming more comfortable with the symptoms makes it easier to talk to others about them and thus raise awareness. The more we talk, the more recognised and accepted these conditons will become. I waited longer than I should have to get medical help as I was too embarrassed to tell my family. It is okay to talk about your bowel habits, every one has them! It’s normal and we need to get over the taboo of talking about poo.

Thanks for reading ❤

Love and Light,

Rebecca xxx

Fundraising for CrohnsColitis UK- 5K #WalkIt

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Myself and my fiance, Connor are going to be taking part in the Crohn’s and Colitis UK Walk It (5K) in Edinburgh in July. As most of you know, I myself have Inflammatory Bowel Disease and so I am taking part to raise awareness for this illness and raise funds to help support the charity. Funds raised will go to Crohns and Colitis UK and this can help with providing support for those with IBD and also help the investigation into looking for a cure. This is a charity very close to my heart and I can’t wait to help raise awareness! If you could, please donate to my Just Giving page (I would be so grateful!)

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rebecca-crawford4

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Here is the information on #WalkIt if you are interested: https://www.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk/get-involved/walk-it

The money raised goes to Crohns and Colitis Uk and “This could help pay for 2,000 people to get the information they need about Inflammatory Bowel Disease.”

Thank you for reading and if you do donate or even share this post, I love you and am so very grateful for the support ❤

Love and Light,

Rebecca xxx

 

Holiday Diary: Tenerife

I am suffering from MAJOR holiday blues right now! It’s been almost 2 weeks since I was jetting off to Tenerife with my fiance for a week of relaxation and sunshine.  We stayed in the Paloma Beach Apartments in Los Christianos. We had the best time and it was lovely to be able to spend so much quality time together.

Day 1; Tuesday 16th May

The flight was slightly delayed getting into Tenerife due to winds but we made it and arrived around 9pm. It was still warm at this time and we were so excited to get to our hotel and get some food! Upon arriving at the apartments, we spotted a wee black cat (a great sign for feeling at home!) and were given an envelope including instructions on how to get to our apartment. Once we had checked in, we went a walk down the street to where some restaurants and bars were located. We went into the Indian restaurant and had some korma. It was good and by the time we had finished eating, I was falling asleep at the table!

Day 2; Wednesday 17th May

The next morning, we had a bit of a lie in before going down to the pool bar for breakfast. We then headed along the sea front and found some lovely beaches. We had our first freshly squeezed orange juice *heart eyed emoji* and found a little street cat which we called Pailey (he was adorable!)

Day 3; Thursday 18th May

We had such a relaxing day by the pool. It was so peaceful and we had great fun playing around in the pool (after Connor pushed me in haha).

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Day 4; Friday 19th May

We went a walk along to the beach and went into a little cafe for a nutella crepe and orange juice. It was fab! We enjoyed chilling on the beach for a while before going exploring. For dinner, we ordered the most delicious pizza (PizzaYPasta-Los Christianos)

Day 5; Saturday 20th May

This was the best day ever! We went to Siam Park (the most amazing water park!) and travelled there on an open-top bus. This was incredible to see the sights of Tenerife. Siam Park is stunning, it felt so magical and like we were in a jungle. The aesthetics of the place are amazing! We loved going on all the different rides and some of them were so crazy! Because it wasn’t mega busy, we got to go on our favourite rides a few times each. We went on all the rides, except I was too scared to go on the Tower of Power. Can you blame me, with a name like that?! Connor went on it though and I watched him from the bottom. My heart was in my mouth when I saw him at the top! It was a very high kamikaze slide and it looked insane! I was happy sticking to the less scary (but still crazy) rides. We bought some hats to take home as a memento of the day and on the way back to the apartments, we had a bit of a mishap on the bus…Connor’s hat flew off his head and whacked the guy a few rows behind us in the face! Luckily he was okay and found it funny! It was hilarious and made my day! We were so exhausted when we got back and our feet were agony after walking barefoot all day but it was so worth it! I would highly recommend that if you go to Tenerife, to definitely go to Siam Park. I would go back just to go there for a day.

Day 6; Sunday 21st May

We decided to have a chill day as we were so exhausted from Siam Park, so we lounged in the apartment and then went to the beach for a bit. We also found another place (The Corner- Los Christianos) that did crepe’s and this was the most amazing crepe I have ever had! On the way back to the apartment, we went to a bar for a drink and to watch some football. It was a lovely chilled out day.

Day 7; Monday 22nd May

We enjoyed a full proper day at the beach, playing around in the sea and snuggling up with our books. The sand was so hot but so lovely! I felt so peaceful and happy being next to the sea. I love the smell of the sea air and I love people-watching. We also stopped at the pebble beach on the way back and seen some incredible waves coming in as a ship was leaving the harbour.

Day 8; Tuesday 23rd May

For our last day, we spent most of the day at the pool and took a walk along to see Pailey the cat one last time. He was so sweet and was snuggling into us. We found out that he was looked after by the shop owners and got given food from them. This made me really happy that although he was a street cat, he was well looked after. We then went back and had a nap by the pool (as we had to check out of our room early that morning) and then left to go to the airport at 6pm. We arrived back in Scotland about 3am the next morning and we were so happy to see our own little baby cat!

 

We had the most incredible time away, and for it being my first time in Tenerife I had an amazing experience of the island. I would definitely go back!

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any holidays planned this year or if any of you have been to Tenerife before- I’d love to hear your experiences!

Love and Light,

Rebecca xo

#WorldIBDDay 2017

Hey lovelies! So it’s been a while since I’ve posted on here. I wanted to just check in quickly and let you know I’ll be more active when I come home from my holiday (I’m currently in Tenerife and having an amazing time!) But I couldn’t let today go by without posting something for #WorldIBDDay. As you all know it is something very close to my heart as I was diagnosed in 2013 with Ulcerative colitis and my life has been changed in many ways since then. Ulcerative Colitis is one form of Inflammatory bowel disease; the other Crohns Disease. These illnesses are non-curable and can cause many symptoms such as bloody diarrhoea, nausea, fatigue, anaemia, stomach has cramps and pains, constipation and so much more.

I’m going to put links to all my posts I have written previously about Inflammatory Bowel Didease and my journey with it. I hope you’ll take time to read them and share or spread the word. We need to raise awareness for this invisible disease so as to help people suffering and those who are close to them.

A Support group for those with IBD

What I’ve learned from having an incurable illness

8 pieces of advice for anyone suffering with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

An Honest Letter to my illness

10 Things you need to know about Ulcerative Colitis

Colitis and Me

Fatigue and IBD

I hope this helps anyone suffering or having any symptoms and that it also creates understanding for those who don’t have IBD.

Thank you for reading and I’ll be back on the blog soon!

Rebecca ❤

PS. there are some useful links and websites about IBD in this post here: Living with Ulcerative Colitis

Accepting Where I’m At

via Daily Prompt: Acceptance

It feels good to be writing on here again after a short hiatus, which feels like forever! I have been going through a phase of feeling uninspired and unmotivated but then I had an itch to post something today. However, I kept having thoughts of I don’t know what to write? and it’s been so long, what if it’s not good enough? I started scrolling through the reader feed and came across a daily prompt: Acceptance. Wow. As soon as I read that, I knew that was exactly what I needed to do. Accept where I’m at and honour those thoughts and feelings.

Acceptance has always been a difficult thing for me to practice. I struggle with change and things not going the way I plan. So, the moment I read the word, it hit me like a ton of bricks- I have been doing the exact opposite of accepting.17467930_10211874244753597_1974983819_n

There’s been a lot going on within the last couple of months that has been causing stress and anxiety. I have started a new course at college and I’m struggling with the workload. I am so exhausted all the time– my fatigue has come back with a vengeance. I’ve had too many days where my stomach is extremely painful and I feel sick. And I am in constant fear of my ulcerative colitis flaring up. I’ve been trying to push these feelings away and just keep on going. But I think by doing that, I’ve subconsciously been worrying even more about it. I still have thoughts of I hate this, why me?,  I just want to feel normal. I shouldn’t be thinking so negatively. I am beginning to realise though, that having these thoughts is okay. I just don’t believe that it is possible to think positive thoughts all the time. Yes, I blog about positivity and choosing love over fear etc but this is real life and it is not that simple all the time. There are days where I struggle to move out of bed or to get up and cook dinner. And there are times when that’s not because I physically can’t- sometimes I’m just so mentally drained that all I want to do is curl up in a ball.

When it comes to acceptance, it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I don’t want to look at it like, Oh, I’m not accepting this situation so I’m making things harder for myself. I want it to be a learning experience in which I can say Yes okay, I understand that it will be hard work to accept this but I am willing to do so and I will get there eventually.

So this is me promising myself that I am going to look after me, my body and mindset by accepting all emotions, thoughts and situations that come up. That being said though, it is okay for me not to accept it every single day. It is okay to have off days where I want to curl up in bed and just order food in. Or even to just be angry or upset about being in pain or feeling down.

I hope that you are able to come to terms with and accept the current situation that you are in and if you are not in that place yet, that is perfectly okay too.

Love and Light ❤

I was inspired to write this after seeing what the #dailyprompt was for today and also reading  this post on acceptance.

30 Things To Be Happy About!

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  1. Lazy mornings
  2. Snuggles in bed
  3. Cats (and all cute animals)
  4. Unicorns
  5. Nature
  6. Bubble baths
  7. Fairy lights
  8. Hot chocolate with cream…yum!
  9. Having a tidy house/room
  10. Spending time with family and friends
  11. Netflix
  12. A cup of tea in your favourite mug
  13. Freshly baked cakes
  14. Delicious food
  15. Scented candles
  16. People who smell good
  17. Watching the sunset/sunrise
  18. Songs that remind you of a special person or memory
  19. Forehead kisses
  20. Beautiful tattoos
  21. Travelling to new places and watching the world go by
  22. Long showers
  23. Knowing every lyric of a song
  24. Holding hands
  25. Reading a captivating book
  26. When your pet comes to cuddle you
  27. Clean water
  28. Being warm and cosy when it’s cold outside
  29. Making new memories every day
  30. Being alive!

There are a million and one things to be happy about and I could honestly write on this topic forever. I loved writing this and it made me feel so grateful to be alive and be able to experience all of these wonderful things!

I hope that this made you smile and I’d love to know; what would you add to the list that makes you happy?

Love and light, 

Rebecca ❤

My Aspirations for 2017

Happy New Year beautiful people!

Much the same as last year, I won’t be setting resolutions because I feel there is too much pressure that comes with the word. I am going to be setting aspirations; something that I hope to achieve. That way, if I don’t manage to get something on the list done or it doesn’t happen how I want it to, I am less likely to feel disheartened. However, there is nothing wrong with setting resolutions if that is something that inspires you. You do you!

My aspirations for this year are things that I hope will help to improve my confidence and self love. This is going to be the year of me. And I don’t mean that in a selfish way, I just want to focus more on being happy and growing as a person.

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No.1 Focus more on my own happiness.

I plan on doing what makes me feel good and if there is something that doesn’t, I want to be able to say so.

No. 2 Take the time to listen to what my body needs.

This is something that is so important due to my IBD. There are times when I forget to take my medication or forget to drink enough water or even overwork myself. I am going to work on being more aware of what it is my body is telling me; whether that’s “go for a nap” or “eat that chocolate bar”.

No. 3 To take each day as it comes.

I often have so much anxiety over what’s to come in the next few days/ weeks or stressing about things that have happened in the past and it totally removes me from the present moment. I want to be able to be fully here and I think by doing this, my happiness will improve greatly.

No.4 Learn to love every single version of myself.

I want to love every part of me on the good and bad days; when I’m happy, sad, anxious, in pain etc.

No.5 Spend more time with friends. I don’t see my friends enough and I think a big part of that is down to becoming comfortable in my routine. This year, I am ready to step out of my comfort zone and put more effort into my friendships and taking part in lots of fun stuff!

No.6 Get back into my spiritual practice.

I’ve fallen away from my meditation, yoga and other rituals that I had been loving. I want to get back into this again as I felt great at the time. If anyone has any suggestions or recommendations of self-improvement/spiritual books, please leave me a comment 🙂

No.7 Choose positive over negative.

We can control our thoughts and although it can be difficult, it is possible. Our mind is a very powerful thing and can control our life if we let it. I am going to be taking back control of my mind by focusing on positive thoughts more.

Thank you for reading, let me know in the comments one thing you are hoping for in 2017. I wish you all the most wonderful joy-filled year!

Love and light,

Rebecca xo

21 Things I’ve Learned In 21 Years

 

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1.  It is so important to love yourself fully and completely.

2. You have to put yourself first sometimes and allow yourself to be selfish.

3. It is okay to say “No” to things you don’t want to do.

4. Every single feeling you have is okay.

5. When you think more positively, you will begin to feel better.

6. Eating healthily really does make you feel better.

7. Family is everything. Spend as much time as you can with them. You will be thankful for it later on.

8. Gratitude for the little things is so important.

9. Nature is extremely powerful; a 5 minute walk can change your mindset.

10. Things always get better with time.

11. Every day is a new chapter of your journey.

12. It is okay to not be okay. No one is perfect and no-one has a flawless life. You are doing great.

13. You cannot help others if you don’t help yourself first.

14. Stress really can have detrimental effects on your health.

15. You are not alone in your struggles. Reach out to others for help and advice or even just someone to vent to. Trust me, it helps.

16. Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway.” Nothing is as scary as you may think and you can do anything you put our mind to.

17. It is not healthy to compare yourself to others. Everyone is unique. You are beautiful the way you are.

18. Trust your gut and believe in what your intuition is telling you.

19. You are not defined by your illness.

20. Everything happens for a reason and there is a lesson in every experience.

21. You are enough.

 

An Honest Letter to My Illness

Dear Ulcerative Colitis,

When I first heard your name, I did not know what you were or how you would change my life. I had no idea of your magnitude. I thought you were something that would disappear with taking some pills. Little did I know, I was going to be stuck with you for the rest of my life.

What a crazy three years it has been since that day I first became aware of you. It hasn’t been the easiest or most glamorous of times. You have brought me so much pain, sickness, stress, anxiety and isolation from the world.

However, I do not blame you. I know that you appeared because I needed to learn how to take care of myself better. At the time, I was under so much emotional stress and I  didn’t take care of my body or mind. You came to me with a message;

“You need to stop and slow down. You didn’t listen to the signals your body was sending you and so now I am here to push you into self-care and learning about your wounds.”

I am grateful for this, because without you I wouldn’t have begun this journey of self-love and healing.

I have come to accept that you are part of me and you are a constant reminder to listen to my intuitions about my body. However, that does not mean that I do not fear you. I am always worried about pushing too far and upsetting you. Our relationship will never be one of love but it does hold qualities of gratitude and acceptance.

Finally, I would like to thank you for pushing me to explore who I really am and find my authentic truth. I don’t hate you, not really.

I hope that one day we can be good friends and I will fear you no longer.

Love,

Rebecca ❤