9 TIPS ON SELF-LOVE
On how important it is to love yourself more and to take some time for yourself every now and then.
Loving myself was not something that came easy. Nor taking some me-time. Loving myself by taking time off was something I have learned doing when I was diagnosed with a burnout earlier this year. I quickly realised when talking to my doctor, psychologist and job coach I couldn't go on like I was doing. After a long time I realise I'm one of those people that always feel too responsible about others, who worry at night about the kids, parents and things that aren't crossed off of the never-ending to-do list in their head and who ultimately fall down in a big dip.
At first I didn't realise I had a burnout. What I did know was that I was angry and explosive all the time. I usually realised shortly after my explosion how badly I reacted. When something didn't go well at my work or at home, I went off like a bomb. Not so fun for my kids or husband, imagine that. But I felt restless, angry, frustrated and exhausted all. the. time. And I didn't understand why. I couldn't see things clear anymore. My body and mind were exhausted.
After having another cold sore lip (I had one every three weeks or so) and after forgetting the next appointment with someone and feeling ill, I wanted to see my doctor. He took my blood and told me to take some rest for a week.
It was in that week I started crying for everything and nothing. It was like this wave of emotions just came out of me. The kids were at school and in daycare, because I truly needed some rest. Being at home alone was so eye opening. It was like my body and mind felt this was the right time to make me see I couldn't go on like I had been doing for the past few years. Because I didn't love myself enough. I didn't feel worthy of anything.
After a week at home, I had to see my doctor again. I was as healthy as I could be. There was nothing wrong with me, my blood results were great. No need to take extra vitamins for my exhausted feeling. When he asked "are you feeling happy, Inge?" I started crying my eyes out. All the emotions I hadn't allowed, came out of me. Right at that moment in the doctor's office. Relieved by his question and yet feeling very overwhelmed, I started talking about how I felt so restless, that I didn't know what to do with my life and that I couldn't see clear anymore. I had so many plans, so many ideas, but along the way I got lost and didn't know who I was anymore.
My doctor kept me home for a few months. Advised me to see a psychologist. And she told me I had a burnout. I couldn't believe it at first. And that's when she said that the kind of people who usually get struck by a burnout are the ones who usually fight against their own will to keep on going and neglect their own needs.
It was true. I hadn't done anything for myself in the past 6, 7 years. I had two children, was in a fulltime job that didn't satisfy me emotionally, I felt overly responsible to everything and everyone around me and I actually locked myself up at home in the evenings without even taking the time to go out and dance, or go to the gym. My doctor wanted me to do a couple of things.
- Start dancing again or doing some sort of sport
- Take care of myself more by doing something for myself that I really loved doing. That way it kept me busy when I felt sad.
- Talk to a job coach and a psychologist
- Rest and sleep
And right there, and with big thanks to my doctor, I realised how happy I felt when I had some room to breathe again. Picking up hobbies from when I was younger and doing things I love just because, was just...relieving. I could breathe again! Most of the time I hyperventilated at night and sometimes in the evenings after work. Like I couldn't get enough air to breathe. Like something was obstructing my path. I felt a bit imprisoned.
It was so refreshing to be at home. I slept most of the first weeks I was at home. Like I hadn't slept in months! But that was because I was too stressed out to calm down enough to fall asleep in the evenings. Usually I couldn't fall asleep or I woke up a few times in the middle of the night. I was an emotional wreck inside while I was trying to keep up with life during the day. I tried to be the happy Inge when at work, but it got more and more difficult to the point my body showed me to stop and go at home and rest.
Magnesium and Valerian were my natural relievers and helpers to find my peaceful sleep again at night. That and some me-time. It changed my way of thinking again, because before I could cry or burst out whenever I felt angry or sad, now I feel better again. And I realise that my daytime job was one of the biggest triggers of me feeling stressed out.
Whenever I felt stressed while being at home, I started doing something for myself. Whether it was watching my favourite tv-show or movie, or painting my nails or handlettering and painting with water colour, it was some much needed and wanted me-time. I couldn't be more grateful towards my doctor for realising I was so exhausted...
And while talking to others I realise now so many others are in the same "boat" as I am. It's normal. We're all hard working mums and dads with kids, and (sometimes boring) daytime jobs and a household to run and social obligations and a family that expects us to see every once in a while. We women are definitely the masters in trying to juggle all these different obligations, but we too deserve some me-time.
Time for yourself to love yourself makes you more capable of dealing with stress, difficult times at work or at home and sleep helps a lot too. If you don't get enough sleep, you're less capable of coping with stress and everything that comes your way. Hence my burnout, that is what I have learned... It changes everything when you take some time off.
And my personal advice to all of you who are struggling:
- Listen to your own body. It usually wants to tell you something. Listen to that inner voice.
- Talk to someone when it gets too much.
- Ask help (still a tough one for me!!).
- Get some sleep and take some time off. Let's be honest: what are some weeks, months or a year that you take time off for yourself compared to life and your work? It means the world to your whole well-being when you take that me-time. And it indeed changes everything.
- Get to know yourself and what you really love. Who you are is the key to insight in every other single thing in your life.
- Do something for yourself. Do something you always loved doing but forget to do along the way. It means the world to your soul...
- Remember that imperfections are a thing of beauty. Nobody is perfect.
- Practice gratitude. It shows you how the little things are the most important in life. It makes you appreciate everything more and allows you to let go of expectations.
- Don't compare yourself with others. Just don't. It never makes you happy.
I hope this pretty personal post will mean something to some of you. It's a bit strange to talk about it up close and personal in this blog post, but I realise that when I talk about it, I open up more to others and might help someone who needs it. So I hope I did just that. Take care of yourself sweeties, you're worth it!
Photography credits: Love & Light Photography