You can’t pour from an empty cup, or continue to make withdrawals once you have reached your overdraft limit. And yet it is familiar for us humans to keep giving despite the fact that we may be desperately in need of some TLC ourselves.
I am from a family of givers and I am mighty grateful for this as it has taught me kindness, generosity and compassion towards others. But there have been times when I have seen the people I love trying to help someone else at the expense of their own wellbeing. I also have a tendency to give way beyond my limits.
It is a really common issue that comes up time and time again for the people who I support too. They may be tired, lacking energy, physically unwell and struggling to cope but still put others needs before their own.
It took me years of over-giving and then crashing before I slowly began to take better care of myself. It felt unusual to begin with, but it has become a fundamental part in me managing my own mental health. A rather fabulous side effect of good self care also ensures that I am in a better space to support those around me. Over time, investing in myself has helped me to be more consistent and efficient in what I can do for others and I am more aware of my limits and when I need to recharge.
For me, self care sometimes means saying no. It means having 10 minutes to myself after returning from work. It is having a bubble bath on cold evenings, going for a walk when the sun is out and cooking myself nourishing food when I start to feel a bit run down.
I started off by making a commitment to do something for myself every week . Over time my self care has naturally increased but I do need to make sure that I up my game during harder times.