You Can’t Pour From an Empty Cup

No matter what is going on in life, it’s always important to remember to take care of yourself.  A common quote from Canadian politician Norm Kelly states, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.”  Coming from someone who finds joy in helping others, I have often come across moments where I feel mentally exhausted, (the “empty cup” moments), hoping I have done enough for people. I also have a lot of moments when I feel that I have somehow done something wrong, and guilt is an emotion that can be very difficult to shake.  It is usually during these times that I need to take some time to reset. This can take one hour, one day, or even one week. Sometimes I stop and think, “Isn’t it selfish of me to take so much time to do something for myself?” Over time I have come to realize that it is quite the contrary.

There are many different forms of an empty cup. Depression and anxiety seem to be a couple of the most prevalent issues that surface in whichever illness they are manifested in. Finding a form of meditation that helps restore our mental health is important because the more depleted our mental health becomes, the more unlikely we may feel motivated to complete even the most basic tasks of daily living. Over the years, I have discovered the forms of meditation that personally fill my cup. Maybe they could spark a few ideas of how you can fill yours…

When I find myself feeling depressed, one thing that tends to lift my mood, and in turn, fill my cup, is “pet therapy.”  Whether pets fill your home, or a trip to the pet store to visit some furry or feathery friends finds itself in your near future, more likely than not, times of feeling alone can be remedied by the company of animals. Unfortunately, we have been struck by a bout of social isolation (thanks to the current COVID-19 pandemic). However, being connected with animals can cure the feelings of isolation and distance, just as human connection does.

Exercise tends to be another outlet that I enjoy, particularly when I am feeling anxious.  When I say exercise, I don’t necessarily mean running, doing burpees or lifting weights. Everyone has a preference for certain things above others, and forms of exercise are no exception. I have found that my favorite way to exercise is to go outside and pick up my fitness hula hoop. Along with the initial amount of stress-relief that exercise provides, it also helps me feel like I have purpose due to the fact that, the more I improve, the more self-confidence I have. Our forms of meditation should directly associate with our interests and our strengths. Diving into activities that bring self-confidence tend to bring self discovery as well!

During times when all the suppressed feelings of irrational nature surface, the best thing I can do is find a form of distraction. For me, baking sweet treats is the ticket.  Not only does the process of baking allow my mind to wander away from the stresses of the world, but additionally, a sweet treat is produced as a reward for taking care of myself. I’ve come to find that my favorite thing to bake is macarons simply because of the endless means of creativity involved. Understandably, cooking, nor baking may be for everyone. However, the act of creating new things is a great way to distract ourselves from the inner thoughts that only exist to bring us down. 

In what ways do you fill your cup? In allowing ourselves to be creative, free and inspired, we are giving our minds the opportunity to rest, and take a much needed deep breath. Let’s not attempt to pour from an empty cup. Instead, let’s allow our cups to overflow with joy and self-love.

Written By Michelle Scruggs

Posted in
Meditation Monday, The Basics