Self-Care and Cerebral Palsy – Guest Post by Emma Renshaw

Today we’re sharing a guest post from the lovely Emma Renshaw. Emma is 27 years old, and is a wheelchair user with Cerebral Palsy. Below, she shares with us her thoughts on self-care and the importance of recharging your batteries when dealing with long-term conditions…

I am fairly used to my energy level crashes. There’s a certain time of day when my body just says: “No, you’re tired. No more.” No matter how much I’ve wanted to say, “I’m fine”, my body won’t have it. My Cerebral Palsy means I use up three to five times more energy doing tasks which, believe me, feels like a marathon at the end of the day. This is why self-care is so vital for me; simple things like resting, listening to music, reading or taking a warm bath or shower can have such a positive impact.

selfie of Emma, wearing sunglasses and flowered vest top

Self-care gives my body time to stop, relax and just ease itself into the night or the next thing. It could be a small act, or an epic chocoholic munching readathon, but whatever I do, I’ve accepted that I need to do it. I know myself; my body has its limits and it needs a break every now and again.

I used to fight against it; I didn’t need a sensible bedtime as a child, (I did!) and now my energy levels are better for it. Ironically, I often end up being the last one to go to bed in our house, but all humour aside, I am grateful that when my body tells me to rest, I listen to it… not perfectly, and almost always later than I had planned, but I do listen.  As I get older, I know that my body and routines may change, I may need an extra burst of music, a nap, or just five minutes in the day to just be.

I am grateful for initiatives like Spoonie Survival Kits because they embrace the need to recharge your batteries and take some time to just relax where you can.  It isn’t easy managing disabilities and chronic illnesses, but any act of self- care be it big or small can make a world of difference. I will always have CP and need to be mindful of the energy limits I have but, these acts that I can do for myself and others will ease it. It makes life easier, and in cases where I have had a chocolate munch (or two) much more delicious. So, here’s to resting, to self-care, to the bubble-bath, to the soothing music. Here’s to you and your little piece of heaven and here’s to the people who help us find it. I owe my family, friends and Sara Bareilles’s music so much.

I know I will have my tough days, but I’m ready for them. I know how to deal with them, and I’ll get through them. Both wheels and a good book at a time. I hope that in the future there will be more options and initiatives that promote self-care: it is much needed and forever appreciated.

brown hessian zip bag with lilac lining containing lilac tissue paper, on cream sheet background. Black handwriting-style font at bottom of image reads 'sustainable self-care kit'I want to thank Pippa for giving me the opportunity to write this piece, I love Spoonie Survival Kits and everything they do to support disabled and chronically ill people. The fact that we can all come together to support each other in so many ways means everything.

But enough from me, tell us the ways that you take care of yourself. Do you have any self- care tips and tricks you’d like to share? Do you have a little piece of heaven you love to escape to?

Are there any ways the beauty and self-care industry could do more to create products and experiences for disabled and chronically ill people? Let us know in the comments below.

Emma

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and writing this piece for us, Emma! Don’t forget to check out SSK, and our Sustainable Self-Care Kits, on our Etsy page!

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