This blog is a year old in December! To celebrate, I'm having a look back over my old blog posts, to see if anything has changed for me over the last year.
All right, this might seem like a bit of a "Simpsons clip show" episode, but it's the season of reflection so I thought I'd get into the spirit of things. First up is one of my very first posts:
How I'm Planning To Use My Time This Year - in which I talk about my goals of eating better food, looking after my physical health, and listening to more podcasts. And honestly, it's...not been a great year for any of those things! I've been unwell for a while (June - September were pretty terrible for me), so running has taken a back seat as I've listened to the call for rest and sleep that my body was giving me. Food-wise, whilst I've accepted that I'll always crave sweets and carbs, I have been doing a little better in experimenting with different foods. And podcasts...well, I've come to realise that they're just not my thing. If I can drift off and do something else at the same time, I tend not to concentrate very well. One of my work colleagues has been lending me books, which I've enjoyed reading, and I've beaten my personal goal of reading one new book every month (current tally is 18 this year!). If nothing else, this has helped me focus on things that are really important to me, and things I can continue to work on in the coming year.
The Gift Of Comfort - in which I talk about how I'm probably setting myself up for health problems if I don't move more and drink more and, prophetically, that's pretty much what's happened this year! Maybe I need to write a blog post about how 2020 is going to be a fantastic year for me and everyone I know...! Lesson very much not learned, but again I'm trying hard to make sure things change.
The Opioid Crisis and Chronic Pain - as much as I've had to accept that change is hard for me over the last year, I've also had to accept that it's hard for everyone else too! People are still banging on about the "opioid crisis" and doing very little to manage chronic pain other than taking people's opioids away, which (spoiler alert!) isn't really that helpful if people don't have other coping strategies in place. Apart from a few fantastic services doing truly amazing work, one of which I'm lucky to work for, we're not doing very well at changing our attitude to pain management.
What is Chronic Pain? - added to that last post, this was probably the hardest blog for me to write this year, but the most rewarding. Unless you struggle with it, you're unlikely to know what chronic pain is - and even if you have it, you might not understand it fully. So much depends on your healthcare providers and the information they've been given about chronic pain. This post hopefully helps to demystify some of the information around chronic pain.
Simple Things - I've been thinking a lot recently about the ability to take pleasure in the simpler things in life, and this post was an attempt to discuss that. I think I'm getting better at enjoying these simple things, and I hope this post helps some people to do the same!
And finally (because I don't want to overdo it!) this blog post on sleep management was probably one of my favourite posts to write - and one of the most frustrating! Frustrating because we all know what to do to get a good nights' sleep, but we rarely do it. It's hard to do things that we believe might benefit us - the status quo is always more tempting - but when we can make the effort to change, we're usually pleasantly surprised!
Which of my posts have you enjoyed reading the most this year? Let me know in the comments!
Dr Sarah Blackshaw: Clinical Psychologist, blogger, tea drinker, interested in dinosaurs and shiny objects