What a day! I was struggling with a persistent cold, you know the ones that last for weeks on end with no sign of shifting; a gum infection which the dentist explained at my emergency appointment that morning, often happens when a person is run down and stressed; extra pressure at work as my collegue was on a very well earned holiday, meaning all her work was put onto my shoulders; and finding out that my Son had been really badly behaved at the nursery that afternoon when I collected him. I just needed to vent to a very wise friend that evening, who asked me the question so many of us ask.
"Are you taking care of yourself?"
I started to reply in the same way I would normally do.
" Well yes, I eat healthily, I go to bed at a reasonable time every night, I get plenty of exercise. My emmune system is just not that great"
(Infact there is a running joke in my family about my white blood cells, you know the ones which are actually supposed to fight infection, well mine just invite the infection round for tea!)
But then she asked,
"How do you take care of yourself when you are sick?"
That stopped me in my tracks.
"Erm", I said, "I don't really, I just take some paraceptamol and tell myself that I have to just keep going, afterall when you're a working single mum you don't have much choice in the matter"
"I see" she said in a knowing tone
We carried on talking for a little while and my friend went on to tell me about another friend of hers who is very sick and who has actually turned one of her spare rooms into a "Healing Room". She has a lovely chair in it, covered in warm blankets and soft cushions. Situated by the open window, where she can look out over the fields. A little side table with a pretty lamp on it, and her favourite book. She plays peaceful music and drinks her tea from her favourite china mug. This is her place to go, just to help herself to get better.
"You see", said my fiend, "It's not all about your physical body, it is so much more than that. It is about your emotional state while you give yourself the permission to heal".
This was a totally new concept for me. I have always worked through any kind of illness I have had. That being said, I have never had any major illness. But I would always feel guilty if I wanted to "give in" to not feeling well. Of course the problem with this is that it always takes your body longer to get better. If you give yourself the permission to rest, to accept that what your body needs right now is the space and peace to heal itself then you will be back on your feet, running full tilt again a whole lot quicker.
So I gave it a try that same evening. Once my son was in bed, instead of getting to work, as I would usually do, I put my feelings of guilt aside and I got into bed. My bed has always been a sanctuary for me, it always was when I was a child. Living in a busy household there was no space for myself except at bedtime, so I would often go to bed early just to be quiet. My bed also became a safe place when I was suffering with anxiety and depression a few years back. Being wrapped up in my duvet felt comforting and warm, with my head resting on the soft pillows. I was cuccooned and I felt safe.
So that evening there is where I went. I made some chamomile tea, I put on some peaceful piano music, I closed my eyes, I took some slow deep breaths and let myself just rest and heal. I fell into a lovely deep sleep and woke up the next morning feeling more energised and ready to face the rest of the week.
I don't know about you but for me this was definitely a lesson I needed to learn and one which I hope in the future will help me fight off those persistent colds when they come along. And who knows maybe those little white blood cells of mine will change their tact and will begin to fight in the future! You see us Mums we spend so much of our time focussing on other people, our children, our spouses our work our friends that we can completely forget that we are just as important too. We need to look after ourselves as well! So let's take a rest when we need it and stop feeling guilty about it!
Love as always