Bikini: Zaful // Sunnies: Primark

It's been a while since I've written anything on my blog thats been very personal to me but wasn't to do with my illness. It's not that I haven't had personal issues to deal with it's just that being ill overshadowed everything else and my mind didn't have much space for thought. It's funny because a few years ago I feel like I used to be that girl who could sit and babble on about her thoughts and feelings for days on end. Now I feel more reserved about doing so, may be it's an age thing or may be it's because I've felt so vulnerable but today I'm taking it back to my roots.

The idea of loving yourself is one I've spoken about a lot and one I firmly do believe in. The whole mantra of 'Love yourself before you love anyone else' is something I think is 100% true. When you're shining out your love from within it's attractive and I do believe when you reach this stage, things start to fall into your life that you weren't expecting. 

So today I want to talk about how I have begun to love myself again after a long period of self doubt, self hatred and wanting to be anyone else but me.

Around October 2017 I fell into this hole that I'd been slowly falling into since July and I stayed in it until March 2018. Life didn't really have much value to me as I woke up every day feeling ill, I wasn't getting better, my friends had all gone to University and I was stuck at home with my parents (not 'stuck' because I adore my parents so much and am truly so grateful for them but you know what I mean), unable to work and unsure of what was going on. I had no routine, no motivation and if I'm honest, I hated life. I'd spent July, August and September trying to push through my illness and pretend to be okay but October came and I fell into a negative mindset. 

My attitude of 'Whats the point?' began to affect every aspect of my life.
I stopped blogging as I hated how I looked in any clothes and pictures due to my weight gain. I'd piled on weight whilst being on steroids gaining 1 and a half stone and I hated it, but did nothing about it. 
I stopped making plans and seeing friends often as I had no effort or motivation, spending time on my own in my room was easiest so I settled for that.
I stopped eating healthy and exercising because I had no energy to even consider doing it, I became so unfit and ate shit but I really didn't care. 
 I stopped having any positive vision of what the future might hold and through the months of October till March, I stopped loving me.

2018 rolled around and it did spark a fire in me but it took a few months till it started to burn.
 I decided that if I couldn't control some aspects of my physical health then I have to accept that but I can control my fitness, diet and mental wellbeing and needed to focus on that.

So how have I started to love myself again?
These three things; my body, my mind, my surroundings. 

I've invested time into my body and had focus and motivation to change it. 
 I wake up early, exercise for an hour and my day gets off to a much better, fresher start than if I lay in bed on my phone. It's not a strenuous routine but it's part of my daily life now and I feel so good after doing it. When I talk about my body I mean what goes into my body as well so I've been focused on getting a much healthier diet. I've trialled different food groups to see which work best for me and now have a much better understanding of which foods react with my Colitis. Of course sometimes I indulge and pay for it the next day, but it's finding a balance of feeling good thats important. After a few months of focusing on exercise and eating right I've manage to shed 1 stone and a half and my body confidence has sky rocketed. 
I know your weight shouldn't define your self confidence but it plays a part for me as I know I feel so much more confident when I'm living a healthy lifestyle and at a healthy weight. I'm still a curvy gal but the way my body has changed through exercise has made me love my curves even more. I look in a mirror now and smile because I see all my hard work paying off and I finally feel like me again.

I've prioritised my mind and began to start listening to myself rather than ignoring myself.
I realised that when my disease is bad, my anxiety is bad and that is that. When you've felt physically ill for so long it has a huge knock on effect mentally and I am finally listening to that now. I spent months feeling anxious, isolated and barely even leaving the house because I was in such bad physical health that my mindset shifted and I gave up. Now I have realised that I need to focus on managing these mental hiccups rather than letting them win. I want to be able to live everyday with no worries but for the time being my plan is limiting those worries.
I am trying to take time out of each day for myself, whether thats to read, to write, to meditate, to have a boogie or a walk, who even knows! I'm prioritising doing the things that make me feel good and feel fulfilled over anything else. Focusing on all the positives and ridding the negatives. My mind is still a bit of a hazy space but for now I think I'm doing a better job of managing its bad days!

When I say my surroundings I mean the people, places, basically where I am and what I'm doing. I've learnt a lot about people over this past year and it's made me put a lot of things I previously believed in into perspective. I've always had good groups of friends and still do but life changes and so do friendships. Before being ill, I was very much focused on having loads of friends around me whereas now I'm much more grateful for my closest friendships.  Don't get me wrong, I thrive off people and can be the chattiest person you've ever met but I'm learning to read people a bit better and know who brings out the best in me. 
I have always been a natural leader and I used to love to organise days out, trips and holidays but that all stopped over the last year because I didn't want the responsibility. Now I have realised that my surroundings have a huge impact on me and I need a change in environment to be able to grow. I love day tripping, travelling and simply being in new places and I've decided if I've got the time, why not? 
I've spent a lot of time away from home over the past 6 weeks and I think it's done me a world of good. I've got back the confidence I used to have when it came to being independent and I've lost all fear I was once had about being on my own.
 I've pushed myself out of my comfort zone and it has been so worth it.

And that is why I am falling in love with myself once again. 
I feel the happiest and healthiest I have done in the past 12 months, I just pray this love can last forever...

Lucy Jane