Fill Your Pitcher

Fill Your Pitcher

I hear this often: “I don’t have time to (do yoga/work out/meditate/walk/take personal time)”…basically take care of yourself. I do understand that life these days is busier than ever, and shows no sign of slowing down. Family, work, home…everything has a claim on your time.

If you want to fill up several glasses of water, but your pitcher is only half full, or even empty, how can you fill those glasses? You can’t! Or think of when you’re on an airplane and the flight attendant reminds you that in an emergency, you FIRST put on your own oxygen mask, THEN you help others do the same. At first glance this can seem selfish, but if you run out of oxygen, how could you help anyone else, right?

The same idea holds for self care. You MUST fill your pitcher, reach for that oxygen mask. Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish…it’s necessary. You would want everyone else to take care of themselves, right? If you want to be the best you can be for your family, for your company, for your friends, then you need to take care of you.

Yes, this is challenging when life is so busy. Sometimes the only way to make it happen is to first recognize self care as just as important as all other chores or appointments, and second, actually schedule it in. You can start with baby steps…5 minute meditations before you sit down to breakfast, yoga class 1 day per week right after work, 10 minutes of quiet time with a book after dinner, a walk during lunch.

Your family or others may resist this at first, if it’s a new experience, but ultimately you are making the statement that YOU are important, just as you want them to feel important, and you are modeling healthy behavior! Once it becomes a habit they will probably even remind you of your ‘you’ time, and they might (we hope!) want their own.

Not only does self care fill your pitcher so you can give to others, in the short term, but it will keep you healthier in the long run, so you can continue to care for everyone the way you want to. Unmitigated stress increases the likelihood of illness and disease, not to mention how it affects your mood. Trying to manage a busy schedule while stressed and not feeling your best is that much more challenging.

So, what can you do to begin a new routine of self care? Try choosing just one thing to start, make it something that seems fairly doable, and put it in your schedule, to be checked off when completed. If you commit to this for a while, it will eventually become a habit…a very healthy one, and you’ll be able to add more self care options. Won’t it be exciting when everyone around you starts noticing how much happier you are and more energy and interest you have? Now go fill your pitcher!

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