What Refills Your Cup?

You might have noticed I missed publishing a blog in September. I noticed. I also really struggled to not do it. Over the last year or so, I’d really found myself in a great rhythm in writing once a month. July and August blogs, you might remember I found them both really hard to write and my rhythm was off. They were big topics and sometimes they do actually take a bit of toll emotionally. Writing can be a pretty emotive thing. I can see how authors of multi-book epics can get so attached to their characters (except for George RR Martin who kills off all the favorites as soon as there’s a whiff that they’re popular) and their stories. While what I write isn’t fiction, I do get pretty passionate about my topics. I really do enjoy the opportunity to express my thoughts and even more so, when I discover that people are actually continuing the conversation simply because I brought it up.

I didn’t particularly have a lot of important things happening in September but I did find myself busy. Maybe I was making myself busy doing things. You know how you can sometimes be really busy but not really achieve anything? I think that was me in September because I don’t really remember what I was doing. I’m sure whatever it was it was important at the time but it left me little time to sit down and write. As the end of the month approached, I found myself quite stressed with thought patterns tumbling around my head like “I have to get this done”, “I really have to get the blog written”, “It’s important to get the blog done every month”. I was putting enormous pressure on myself to do something that I write the rule book for. It actually took until a few days into October for me to settle down from this thought process and give myself permission to miss a blog for a month. Writing the last two had taken so much energy from me, that I really had nothing to give for September. Even today, I’m feeling a little frantic. Wanting to get this one done, still booking last minute things for my trip away next month, thinking about the things I need to tidy up at work before I go. Just feeling frantic. For no important reason.

Humans often put themselves into these situations. Those prone to anxiety, perhaps more so. I sometime let these things get on top of me and actually, until right this very moment, when I’ve written exactly what it is I’m doing, is when I’ve realized what it is I’m doing. Identifying it, is half the effort in controlling it. I’ve taken a deep breath and just let it all go with the breath. Already, I feel more relaxed. Normally I’d get frustrated with myself that I haven’t identified it sooner. That I haven’t just taken a breath sooner. That I didn’t let the thoughts go sooner. But that just keeps the cycle going. Nothing I’ve been thinking about is particularly important and shouldn’t be making me feel so stressed out. But I’ve allowed it to. And now I just want to take a nap. Constantly operating this way can be exhausting. I’m not sure how long I’ve had this bubbling under the surface and maybe that’s an indication that it’s time for a break. Certainly an indication that I haven’t been taking as great care of myself as I should have. That’s the thing about self-care (and yes I do go on about self-care a lot because I think we all need constant reminding). It’s not a box ticking exercise and it’s not a do-it-once-and-its-done type of activity either. Much like a car needing servicing over it’s lifetime, so does your wellbeing. For me, that window is about 5-6 weeks. When I’ve left it until nearly 8 weeks this time round, I’ve felt it. I’ve felt frantic, frazzled and a number of other F words (not fantastic). People at work noticed it, because I was snappy at bad behavior where I’d normally let some stuff slide. Not this week. I was tired because I wasn’t sleeping, and maintaining the frantic mindset under the surface was really taking a lot of energy.

A couple weeks ago, I set my Fitness For Wellness Community some homework. Like all good students, I’m sure they all did their homework, they just haven’t reported in yet what they learnt 😉. This homework was to become more aware of their bodies. To really take some time to pay attention to how they held their shoulders, if they were slouching, spending too much time with all their weight on one leg/hip, what was sore and why it might be sore. To be aware of where they were holding tension and for how long it had been there. The second part of their homework was to decide what to do with any soreness. To take the time to stretch, maybe book a remedial massage. Maybe if it were something a little more serious, book into an allied health professional for some help. All of this is also important for your emotional health too. If someone asks “how are you today”, have a good think about it. How are you actually? Do you have the courage to say out loud “actually I’m not so great today”. You don’t have to know why, sometimes I don’t know why, and that’s ok. The reasons will come eventually, like a good pony tail, you can’t force these things. It’s ok not to be ok all the time. We often put up facades that in our own mind, have the world convinced we are ok. Here’s a hot tip … those closest to you, can see right through the façade you’ve put up. Regardless how well you think you have it under control.

This week, in sitting down to write this blog, I didn’t know what I wanted to say. I wanted to apologise for not publishing last month. Then I thought about why I didn’t publish last month. Then next thing you know, I’m having a really good look at how I was feeling emotionally and that perhaps I’d let my self-care routine slip a little. One thing that is really important to me, is showing you what self-care is and how you can achieve it. It’s not the same for everyone. My self-care might be pure torture for you. You must find what works for you, what refills your cup so you can go on being you. As I let out one more deep breath to really connect with my body, I come to one conclusion. I can’t afford to let my self-care routine slip. I’m off for a float to help refill my cup, you go find what refills yours.