Self-Care: Figuring Out What Fills Your Cup
By Allison Nelson
It’s been a long day, a long week, and a long month. If you feel depleted, I want you to hear this story that was told to me a little while ago. The imagery brought tears to my eyes and it never left me as I tried to find out how to stop feeling overwhelmed, but empty at the same time.
I’m going to repeat it as best I can for you. While you can’t close your eyes and read at the same time, I’m hoping you can conjure up an image of yourself as the beautiful glass vase that you are, and how to make sure you stay that way.
Imagine you’re a glass vase. You stand nice and tall, but you don’t have any water inside to help things grow. You’re empty.
Then, along comes some water. It feels so good to have a little water in your vase – you almost stand a little straighter, you glow a little more.
Well, you think – if a little bit of this water helps me so much, it surely will help others in my life. My children should get some, my partner should get some. My co-workers and supervisors, my business, the projects I have going on at home. My friends and extended family aren’t standing too tall these days, maybe they need some, too. And the list goes on.
So you tip over, and you share your water. In fact, you share all of your water. You are standing empty once again.
I think you already know what happens next. You’ll operate on empty or very close to empty, until you get a little more water. You might even chip a little with all that tipping over. The cycle will continue. The rat race, it seems, will never end.
Let me just pause here to tell you that this is where a LOT of women are in their lives, and I was one of them. I always tipped over to pour, and I know you do too.
What would happen if you didn’t tip over? Do you know what would happen if you stood still while the water came to fill you up? You would overflow. You would be so full that you’d overflow into your children, your marriage, your business or job, your family & friends, your commitments to others.
The imagery of a beautiful glass vase that spills water into others without tipping over brought me to tears when I listened to this story for the first time. It’s what I want every woman to know. There is a better way.
Finding what your water source is might take you some time, but that is the cornerstone of self-care: figuring out what fills your cup.
Here are a couple of tips I want to share with you as you figure out where your water comes from:
Be intentional: It’s not easy to take focused time away to work on yourself. After hearing this story, I knew the value of self-care and I decided to be very intentional with timing it out into my week. Blocking off sacred time has been hugely helpful in making sure I don’t neglect myself.
Tell your people: For the longest time, I kept my self-care routines and the things that made me feel good… to myself. When life would get in the way (and it will!), there was nobody else to help me figure out how to get back on track. That didn’t make me a hero, it made me someone who was fighting a losing battle. Pick someone that knows what you need when your chips are down, and that way they can help you stand back up again!
Have patience: Self-care and cup-filling looks different for everyone, I will encourage you to try all kinds of things that have interested you or seem relaxing and healing. For example, I don’t find facials helpful to me for self-care, but a lot of people do. So, give yourself patience as you find what works for you. That way, you’ll want to keep diving in and trying new things!
Ignore everyone else. This process will teach you that you have some friends that deplete you, and you have some friends that invigorate you. You will learn very quickly how to protect the time you have to spend with others.
Stand in gratitude. When you’re having a particularly hard day, it can be easy to forget why we even need to read articles like this. The truth is, your family and your community see you as a pretty important person in their life. I found that when I put things in that perspective, it allowed me to feel a rush of gratefulness for the family I have, however needy they can be sometimes 😉 But really, people – you are so loved and so important to so many!
Life has a funny way of making us forget the most important thing – ourselves. Let’s try to encourage each other to spill over, and not pour, into their communities.
For more self-care tips check out 25 Unique Ways to Practice Self Care