I think we are all familiar with the concept of an emotional cup and know that it’s important to keep it filled, but in case you aren’t, let me explain.
As you go about your day, especially if you are a caretaker like myself, you can often put others' needs and wants before your own, When you do this repeatedly, you can actually use up or deplete your energy, leaving you feeling tired and depressed. This is represented by the idea of an empty cup. The term “to fill up your cup” means self-care to refill your stores of spare emotional, mental, and physical energy. Once your cup is full, you have the resources needed to help yourself and others.
Why is it Hard to Keep your Cup Filled Anyways?
In today’s world, we are all running around constantly busy doing multiple things at once. We care for our children, we work, we care for our parents, take care of pets, we attend classes or work out or have volunteering responsibilities. Don’t even talk to me about housework, laundry, shopping, cooking, and the plethora of other things necessary to successfully run a home. In the midst of all that, who can even find the time? We feel guilty if we ever dare to just sit and enjoy a sunset, take a walk, or a drink cup of tea. And yet these are the very things we need to do to avoid the burnout of a depleted cup!
There is this common idea (that especially women have) that we need to take care of others' needs and that if we aren’t, or if we take time for ourselves, then we are selfish, wasting our time, or self-indulgent. This couldn’t be further from the truth! In order to have the emotional, physical, and mental energy needed to be a caretaker, we NEED to take care of ourselves and fill up our cups! If we don’t take the time to do this, we simply won’t be able to accomplish all the things that need doing. Don’t allow others to shame you for taking time for yourself. And certainly, don’t shame yourself or others for doing so!
If you find yourself self-shaming for taking time for yourself, try some positive self-talk statements. Tell yourself those things you would tell your mother or your best friend. What would you tell them? Most likely it would be something like "You deserve some time off!", "It's OK to do something nice for yourself!" or, "You can't take care of others if you don't take care of yourself". Make it a practice to be as kind to yourself as you are to others!
How to Fill Your Cup
How to fill your cup is a highly personal thing. Something that fills my cup may do absolutely nothing for you and vice versa. Keeping this in mind, take a look at the list below and find things that speak to you. Also, feel free to personalize any of the items to fit your particular cup!
1. Sort through old photos (or yearbooks) reliving memories with family and friends
2. Practice a hobby you have or start a new one
3. Doodle a picture or color in an adult coloring book
4. Take your dog for a walk
5. Freshen up the décor in your bedroom
6. Try a new recipe for baking cake
7. Call an old friend
8. Spend 15 min playing a game on your phone
9. Tell someone that you love them
10. Pet your cat (or dog)
11. Go to your favorite restaurant for lunch
12. Get a massage
13. Enjoy your favorite snack or candy with NO guilt
14. Watch a movie or stream a series
15. Read a book
16. Go hiking
17. Go camping
18. Paint a picture for your empty wall
19. Go to the beach
20. Sit and watch the squirrels play or listen to the birds sing
21. Take a yoga class
22. Try a new type of ethnic food
24. Take a bike ride or go boating
25. Play with your pets
26. Take a relaxing bath
27. Play an instrument
28. Go swimming
29. Watch YouTube
30. Listen to music by your favorite artist
31. Go rollerskating
33. Get a new hairstyle
34. Try a new lipstick shade
35. Light a scented candle or try a new scented lotion
37. Do a gratitude exercise
38. Play with your child’s play dough or lego sets
39. Do a facial
40. Get a mani/pedi
41. Go to the local museum
42. Feed the ducks at a local pond
43. Sit and enjoy a specialty coffee at your favorite shop
44. Go fishing
45. Picnic at a local park. It’s great alone! Or bring a friend
46. Plant a tree
47. Buy yourself some flowers or a flowering plant
48. Spend 10 min listening to the wind in the trees
49. Spend 10 min listening to children playing
50. Collect sea shells from the shore
As you can see, there are any number of different things you can try to fill your cup! Don’t feel like you have to spend money or a ton of time either- you can think of things that don’t cost a dime and that take only a few minutes! The only requirement is that they are things that make you a little bit happier and energized!
If you have been feeling down and would like to talk with someone about trauma treatment, please follow the link! I would love to hear from you.