Friends, my cup has been about half-full recently. Don’t be sad, this is a step up from last week, when it was totally empty. Not even a drop! I’ve been doing some self-care recently (hang with me, folks) and I realized something very important – I am unable to fill other people’s cups when mine is empty, and so are you.
When I was on empty, I literally felt empty. I was drained from the end of the year business, drained from the paperwork, drained from the child-abuse forms I had filled out for the 13th time for the same family, drained from feeling like I wasn’t contributing enough to our home, drained from cleaning our home, and just drained from being drained. I had nothing more to give.
A friend called me right near the end of all this. Her boyfriend of 3 months had broken up with her. She was devastated, she had loved him and was going to spend the rest of her life with him and his child in their one-bedroom apartment and work to support his drag-racing career so he didn’t have to work. If you can’t tell, I wasn’t captain of his cheering squad. I responded with the polite, “oh’s” and “mhmm’s”, but that just wasn’t enough for her. I tried to give my advice, that she needed to talk to him in person instead of over text. If he did not oblige, she needed to move on with her life and accept that he just didn’t feel the same. She told me I was the worst friend in the world and I wasn’t being supportive.
“You know what?” I replied, feeling the blood boiling through every inch of my body. “You have not asked me how I have been doing a single time in the last 2 months. You know we are struggling financially and that I’m struggling with depression. I just can’t take on your burden right now. I’m sorry”. I hung up the phone. I felt like the worst person alive. For about 5 minutes.
That’s when it hit me. I wasn’t able to handle her problems because I had too many of my own. I wasn’t taking care of myself and I was stressed to the max. I’m a person who likes to help other people, and I realized in order to do that, I needed to help myself first.
Every morning, I do 30 minutes of light yoga to start my day. I drink a coffee and get to work with whatever needs done for the day. But that half-hour a day has made such a difference. By just simply taking that 30 minutes for myself – no husband, no phone, no social media, no interruptions – I am able to get my brain set for the rest of the day.
That 30 minutes of light yoga turned into 30 minutes of light yoga and walking the dog for 2 miles. I use my time to just breathe and enjoy time with my best buddy. No husband, no phone, no social media, no interruptions.
Flash forward 2 months and I feel myself going back to my same old habits. Grad school started again, I’m working another job, and things just keep piling up. Only this time, I feel a little whisper coming from the corner of the room as my eyes fall on my yoga mat. “Come back, girl. You need me.” I crawl half-asleep onto the mat and just take some time to breathe. As my eyes are closed and I’m almost letting go, I feel a furry little paw touch my leg. My cat stares up at me with his big, green eyes. My dog sits not far and just stares at me. I grab her leash and we go.
I guess what I’m trying to do with my life is getting into a consistent routine of taking care of myself. I’m trying to overcome my bad habits of falling back to my old routine of going and going and going until I’m exhausted and collapse. I’m trying to learn that I need to take care of myself first in order to be able to appropriately and consistently take care of everything else in my life. Who knows, I might just get it right someday.