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Self Help: Fill Your Own Cup First

This time of year there is a lot of focus on doing more, being more, and making improvements. However, if you’re constantly focusing on more, when do you recover? Just like in fitness, balance in your life is important. If you never recover from working out, you won’t see muscle growth and development. If you’re always burning the candles at both ends, you’re never going to have the energy to meet your goals. It about learning to fill your own cup first.

Fill Your Own Cup First

I understand how it can be enticing to simply keep being everything to everyone. To always say yes to every request. According to psychological research, saying no is actually a better option for your mental health than saying yes. The reason behind this is many people say yes to things they don’t actually want to take part in. You were looking forward to an early Saturday morning workout, and your friend invites you out to the bars. You don’t really want to go, but you get worried your friend won’t be happy if you don’t go, so you say yes.

This wears on your mind, and when you inevitably skip your Saturday workout, you feel upset and discouraged about not having the active morning you were looking for.

This is a prime example many of us have dealt with, and it stems from making assumptions.

Don’t assume you know what others are thinking.

Going back to our bar example, in this situation, you assume your friend is going to be angry with you if you tell the truth and say you don’t want to go out, because you have plans for Saturday morning. However, couldn’t that friend just as easily not have been affected by your not coming out?

When we assume people will be angry with a respectful no, we automatically say yes to everything, and we get pulled in way too many directions.

It turns out, saying no is a huge step in learning to fill your cup first.

Set your priorities for me time.

Everyone needs some me time in their daily and weekly lives. Between busy and demanding jobs, raising kids, and being a friend/husband/wife/etc there are a lot of pulls on your time. What refuels your batteries and allows you to fill your cup first, and therefore show up best in all parts of your life? Whatever it is, make it a priority and literally schedule it into your calendar.

For some people, that one hour workout each day, or every other day, is exactly what you need. For others it may be a great book and a quiet, relaxing evening. For others, it’s journalling your thoughts, or meditation. Some of you may enjoy soaking in a relaxing bath, or cooking a new meal.

The point is, what can fill your glass is a wide variety of very different inputs. You just need to find the one which fits with you, and make it a priority each week.

Why it matters to fill your cup first

Some of you may be thinking, “I don’t have time, nor desire, to fill my cup first when I’m providing for my family, or chasing down a promotion, working on a fitness goal, etc.” I get that, I really do.

But if you’re constantly exhausted, how are you going to accomplish that goal? How are you going to continue being a great mom, dad, spouse, brother, sister, etc?

The people in your life, and you personally, benefit most when you’re functioning at 100% capacity. Is that realistic to have every single day? Nope. You’ll be tired some days, and you’ll work long hours some days. This is totally ok, and it’s also ok to understand that doesn’t have to be your life every single day and week.

Have a list with things that give you energy, and make self-care a routine. You’ll be happier and more effective because of it.

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