During the autumn and winter of last year I continually had health niggles including coughs, colds and wheeziness. It wasn’t until I ended up in an ambulance, not being able to breathe, that I realised maybe these weren’t just the minor ailments I had thought they were.
I was diagnosed with asthma, a great surprise to me as I hadn’t even realised that if you hadn’t had asthma as a child you could suddenly suffer from it as an adult. The symptoms were brought under control by tablets and inhalers and then I was left with the long term question of how I was going to get my health back.
The truth was this illness hadn’t come out of nowhere, too much stress, not eating well and working too many hours had all played a part. I decided the best way for me to make changes was to step outside of myself and into the life of a new person. I was going to makeover myself and in the process my life.
Much as I needed to change my mental state, in the sense of finding ways to relax and de-stress, I decided first to pay attention to the physical. Nothing speaks of a change in your life as much as having a new haircut. You can see this reflected in the lives of many women when they choose a new style and colour at the end of a relationship. It’s a way of making a fresh start and that’s exactly what I wanted. I decided on a much shorter style and chose an asymmetrical bob and for the first time in my life had highlights added. The result was everything I wanted it to be, I immediately felt much lighter and positive about myself.
The next step was to overhaul my diet and to lessen my reliance on foods known to cause inflammation, a factor in illnesses such as asthma. I ate less sugar and refined carbohydrates and increased my intake of fruit, vegetables and good fats. The outcome was a steady drop in the few pounds I had gained and an overall feeling of having more energy. I didn’t however go too far as I think moderation in all things should be the watchword. I still enjoy a glass of wine and a slice of cake occasionally but make sure I stay on track, eat well 80% of the time and have fun for the other fifth of your life.
As I felt better I continued with my makeover. I booked spa appointments for pedicures, manicures and massages. Things I never would have found time for prior to falling ill. These gave me a huge boost and reassured me I was caring for myself well. They may seem like small things, after all a new nail colour isn’t going to cure you, but the time spent relaxing while the treatments were carried out made all the difference.
The final piece of the puzzle was to shop for a few key pieces of clothing which gave me the feeling I was starting anew. I chose colours and patterns I love, but ones previously I would have been too cautious to wear. In came turquoise and lilacs tops and skirts and fun pieces of jewellery that made me happy.
At the end of it all do I think this makeover made me well? Have I been able to stop treatment? The answer to both questions is no. However, it has put me on a path to being able to lessen the medication I take and it has left me feeling so much healthier and happier. It’s a cliché but no less true for being so, when you come face to face with a life threatening illness, such as not being able to breathe, some of the small worries that used to consume you every day just fall away. Stress can do hugely detrimental things to your health if left unchecked and anything you can do to lessen that can only be positive. My makeover allowed me to step out of the shoes of the person I wanted to leave behind and into those of a more relaxed, happier and healthier person, one who also just happens to have great hair.