Storm Erik is raging here, like a toddler whose been told ‘no’ one too many times, it is taking no prisoners. Trees, fences, wheelie bins – all are subject to its raging and screaming. The violence and changeability of the weather got me thinking about how we weather the storms of poor health.
Your health could be elemental and raging because of a recent diagnosis, or recovery from a long or short battle with illness. You could suffer from a chronic condition that flares up or leaves your body constantly exhausted. You could have physical limitations that cause you pain. Your mind could be your battle ground, where you weather your tempest battling your own thoughts. All these weathers can be frightening, exhausting and leave you feeling like your hair is stood up and your clothes are soaked.
Like Erik though, we can navigate and manage the downpours and gales, even if we cannot avoid them. So how can we begin to manage what seems unmanageable. Storms are wild and have a tendency to do as they will. Here are some ideas:
No such thing as bad weather just bad clothes
Think about how you are treating your body and your mind in this storm. Are you giving it the protection it needs? Decent coat? Woolly hat? Gloves? You wouldn’t try to go outside in a blizzard without being fully dressed, so make sure you are giving yourself the armour you need. Eat well, drink water, get some fresh air. It seems like a lot, but these small things can help give your body those extra reserves.
Only travel if your journey is essential
You are in the storm. This is about getting through, do what is urgent and necessary. The rest can wait. You need to prioritise your resources and minimise risk. The storm will pass, you will be able to pick those things up again but for now do what is necessary and needed and leave the rest until the sun is shining, or at least the journey doesn’t run the risk of blowing you off the road entirely.
Have a hot drink
Well not literally, unless hot drinks are your thing then go on, make that cuppa. Self-care – it’s a buzz word at the moment but it doesn’t have to mean an expensive face mask, day at the spa or candle lit bubble bath. It means to take time to breathe and to literally, take care of yourself. So have a hot drink and really enjoy the moment. Go to bed with a book and turn off the world. Make sure you’ve had a shower, a drink, some food. Do something, however small, that makes your heart happy and your soul content. The storm is not the time for trying out new tricks or running a marathon, its for hunkering down and finding joy.
Make sure you’ve got a spare light
Just in case the electricity goes out. Torches, candles, lanterns – have something spare. That could be a friend you know you can call on, a group that brings comfort, social media interaction that reminds you are not alone in the world. Make sure you know where there are others who can lend you a light if you need one.
When we are suffering from the storms of poor health it is easy to believe it will always be this frightening, this painful, this exhausting to keep fighting, but remember storms always pass. There is often a rainbow, and you are much, MUCH stronger than you know. As cliched as it sounds we often have to endure the bad weather to be able to take stock, change direction and see the beauty of the rainbow there for us at the end of it.