You can’t pour from an empty cup

I often hear people complaining that they always seem to come last in the priority list. Work, their partners, children, they feel like they are worrying about everyone else before themselves and are left feeling tired and over-stretched. Does this resonate with you? Have you ever found yourself getting worn out from spending so much of your time and energy on supporting those around you?


It’s no bad thing to be a giver, and hopefully your efforts are appreciated, but you do need to keep an eye on your energy levels because if they hit rock bottom you’ll be no use to anyone. I met someone recently and they shared a similar story and I said to them, “remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup”. She knew immediately what I was referring to – that we have to look after ourselves in order to be able to look after others. She shared how she can end up feeling selfish if she takes time out for herself or says no to one of her children’s requests but as we talked she realised that there is nothing selfish about looking after yourself, in fact it is a necessity for you to keep going.


We want to give our energy to so many things but we can end up burnt out and unable to give anymore, sometimes when we really need to. Making sure you’re getting time to boost your energy levels should be a regular feature on your to do. You wouldn’t go on a road trip without filling the tank, and you certainly wouldn’t accuse the car of being selfish for requiring the petrol. You understand that once the petrol is in the car, it is free to serve you on your journey. Now I’m not trying to compare you to a car, but, well, I am. Purely for illustrative purposes you understand (insert you own old banger joke here).


Ok let’s try an example a more relatable example, do you work out? Whether it’s training for a marathon or lifting weights in the gym, any reputable trainer will tell you that you need rest days. If you tried to work out every single day your progress would slow and you’d end up injured. Instead you have to give your body time to rest in between exertions so it can recover and repair, ready to go again. So why would our overall well being be any different? It’s not selfish, it’s just the way we’re built.


Once you appreciate that you need to recharge once in a while, it’s time to ask yourself what helps you to recharge? Is it peace and quiet? A change of scene? Hanging out with friends? Whatever it is, make sure you’re making space for it on your schedule to help you keep going with everything else.


For more ideas, check out my post: 5 ways to recharge your batteries

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