Hello, gorgeous! This month officially marks six months from my wrist surgery and, since we’re almost at the ‘halfway through the year’ point, it feels like the perfect time to write a 2022 check-in post, revisiting my 2022 intention of putting myself first, and how this year has panned out so far!
For those that are new to my little corner of the internet, back in November 2021, I had surgery on a large, bi-lobed ganglion cyst that had developed around the tendon in my left (dominant) wrist. Affectionately called Joanna Lump-ley, she had started causing me pain and therefore needed to go! I was fortunate enough to have been referred to one of the loveliest, most talented surgeons on the planet, scheduled a date that would interfere least with my work schedule and was in and out in one day, rocking a sexy new inch-long scar and a soft cast to get me through the next few weeks!
It’s never easy taking a step back from your business as a sole director, especially for an extended period of time (and after two long years of pandemic life!) but my surgeon and I made the decision to sign me off work for a full two months to give me proper time to heal. I remember being in the hospital bed being wheeled down the corridor to surgery and a member of staff commenting that 2 months was ‘a very long recovery for a ganglion cyst’ and one of my last thoughts, as the incredible anaesthetics team sent me off for a nice long nap, was that perhaps I was being a bit overcautious. It turns out though, that my gut instinct was spot on, as recovery has been in no way linear!
About two weeks before I was due to go back to work, I knew something still wasn’t right, so I asked my surgeon to refer me for physio. And thus began the next chapter of my journey: not just recovering from surgery but looking deeper into strength and conditioning in order to heal fully and prevent this from happening again. It took until April to start seeing results and, according to specialists, the whole process may take up to two years, so it has really forced me to lean heavily into self-care this year. You only get one body, after all!
So, what has putting myself first looked like so far? Well, apart from the obvious ‘recovery’ period and physio exercises, the most important change has been prioritising my health over my work. As a self-confessed workaholic, I learned a LOT from pushing my surgery date back by two months to make sure I didn’t let anyone down. In the four weeks leading up to my surgery, I was in so much pain that I needed help to do the most basic tasks.
At that point, I promised myself that I would look after this gorgeous outer shell better, booking health appointments when I need them rather than ‘at the most convenient time’ and advocating for myself with a bit more gusto.
I rejoined the gym, which is my happy place, and enrolled myself in a series of classes that support my recovery whilst boosting my serotonin levels. I’d totally forgotten how much I love a Zumba class and getting my body-worshipping wiggle on!
For my boudoir shoots and personal branding photography, I’ve invested in a much lighter camera system, which has halved the weight on my wrist during a shoot day and taken several kilograms off my camera bag in total. I’m making sure I have rest days between photoshoots, taking regular breaks during editing sessions to go for a walk or stretch, and doing a lot less late night working than I used to.
I’ve also had to lean into my ‘power of no’, prioritising opportunities in both my personal and professional life that I feel will bring me the most reward (whether that be emotional, financial or other) whilst thanking the universe for the abundance of opportunities it is currently offering me that I have the privilege to be able to do so.
It does mean that I’ve had to put a few projects on the back burner for now. One such project I have been talking about for a while is launching my mentoring services, as I want to make sure I’ve got enough space to hold for my mentees before committing myself to this process. Another is an online course I’ve been planning… more on that one another day!
Has it been easy? Not at all. Changing lifelong habits is HARD WORK. Some days it’s easier to commit to putting myself first than others – and there’s still so much more I can (and aspire to) do – but I’m focusing on evolving 1% at a time. As someone who champions self-care to all of my boudoir photography clients, I feel it’s important to be transparent about the fact that this a constant process – there are times when I’ve felt totally on top of my self-care game and times like now, especially post-pandemic where something in life shifts and suddenly what was working before is no more and we need to re-assess.
Self-care is a journey, and I’m absolutely here for it.