Self-love does not mean being selfish. On the opposite, it is all about taking care of your soul.
First of all, let me say sorry for the very long radio silence here.
In the night of June 13th and 14th, 10 days after Jules' party I got a horrible telephone call. My dad, asking me to come immediately. My mother had fallen down the stairs in the middle of the night. It was around 1 o'clock in the night and I was so scared, because I didn't get any details from my dad - he was so in shock that I assumed it was very serious.
So there I was, 15 minutes later, driving from Bruges to Antwerp on a lonely highway, thinking about my mother and the bond we have. Not knowing if she was alive and well, or if she was conscious and what just had happened. I couldn't reach my dad anymore, the only thing I knew was that she was getting transported to a hospital in Merksem, Antwerp, AZ Jan Palfijn.
When I arrived there, I hyperventilated. I had to calm myself down the whole drive to the hospital that all of the nervous emotions came out when I finally was there. Seeing my mother and hearing she was able to talk, I started crying.
The verdict came a couple of hours later. Mum had a very heavy concussion, several teeth were broken and had fallen out because of her fall. The right side of her body showed a lot of bad bruises and the right side of her head showed a very large purple bump. Also, her left wrist was broken which needed to be operated as soon as possible, but when she was taken into surgery, she started vomiting because of the heavy concussion. I never felt so much stress right there and then. I couldn't sleep, rest or eat.
I took my dad home in the early morning around 5 o'clock when the doctors assured us that she would be ok and I asked what she would need for her stay in the hospital. I cleaned all the blood splatters and the blood at the end of the stairs and took my dad to the sofa where he fell asleep. I couldn't do much, except run around and clean things and take fresh pyjama's for my mother. Feeling so immensely grateful that she was still alive was the overwhelming feeling the whole time I was walking around in my parents' home.
But then, the real work started when my mother was released from the hospital (too soon when you ask me, after only 2 days she had to leave!?! Can you imagine?). My dad was suffering bad back pains and I wasn't sure how to deal and handle everything alone. But I did. It was the biggest work ever I had to tackle. And I did it because of my parents and because I love them. It wasn't easy though, because I still had my two little boys and husband waiting in Bruges, some 125 kilometres away.
I tried to do everything I could to help out my parents in the two weeks I was there. I ordered a catering service who delivered fresh meals at home, arranged help to get their household ready and I also went grocery shopping the first few days, went to the pharmacy a few days in a row, got enough cash money and made appointments with the dentist, the neurologist, doctors, etc. And everyday, three times a day, I rubbed on an ointment to treat the worst bruises on my mother's body. I wanted to be there as much as I could. Sometimes I didn't really know where my head was. And I felt guilty when I had to eventually leave them and I had to return to work.
Even when I got home after taking care of my parents and especially my mother, I couldn't really sleep very well. I was constantly worried sick that something bad was going to happen again. I felt tired, depleted and always gasping for air.
Because I suffered from a burnout not so long ago, I was scared. I didn't want to go back to that state of mind. And my body was getting my attention by letting me know it was tired: I felt angry, tired and I couldn't breathe right. So I asked my doctor for another week of rest, just to take care of myself.
In the past I would have thought that asking something like that would be extremely selfish. Now I realise that when you don't take care of yourself enough, you can't take care of someone else s well as you would like to. And now I also know that it is absolutely normal to say stop once in a while and take some time for yourself.
I could breathe better and sleep better when I heard mum was doing better. That was the turning point for me. That is when I could let go of it more. And I all heard it in her voice that she was feeling better, that's how close we are...
Now, looking back at it, I know that it was a good thing of me to take a time-out. Because really.... who wants to have a cranky, moody bitch as a mother and wife? Nobody, right? To be honest: I'm glad I crashed last year and had my burnout. Because it learned me a great lesson: putting yourself in first place once in a while will energise you so that you can take on more. Always rushing will only make it more difficult to relax.
To me self-love is taking some time for yourself to listen to your body and soul. To that little voice deep down. To do fun, sweet things for yourself, be it a fresh bouquet of flowers that you bought on the market, or taking time to read that book while soaking in your bath is so important. You just have to say stop every now so often. Everyone needs that. You just have to find the right balance between stressful moments and knowing when it's getting too much.
I know, stress will never get any less, the situation won't change because of taking some me-time, but because you take that temporary break or that little moment for yourself, you will feel much more energized after! I would never have said this before but now I do: I love myself too much to neglect myself again or to put myself on second or third place. Loving ourselves is what we all need to do more.
What about you? Do you take some time out or time for yourself in your busy lives? How do you feel when you take some me-time? Guilty or does it feel right?