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Filling my cup

Filling my cup

I have been running on empty for a little while now. Sometime last week, I realised I had so much to do and there was so much more I wanted to do but instead of feeling overwhelmed, I was just — empty. There was a nothingness and a lack of motivation to actually do any of those things. This was in several areas of my life: at work, socially, exercise, writing and blogging. Wanting to do things but not getting anything done. Moreover, I was also feeling quite disconnected in situations and with certain people. I started to worry that I was either burnt out or worse, starting my downward spiral to getting depressed again.

I began journalling {more on that another time} to unpack what was happening for me before my therapy session to help it further. That, along with my therapist, made me realise something important that I’d somehow forgotten in the last few months: I wasn’t engaging in meaningful things to help fill my cup.

There are a lot of things that drain our energy on a daily basis. No matter how much you love your work, there will be parts that are draining. And as the energy drains, you still need to replenish it. Yes, the term self-care is thrown around these days like a magic cure for everything. But before it became a capitalist venture and an influencer’s market, it was something health professionals like myself were aware of for our own wellbeing. And I realised that thanks to that-which-shall-not-be-named, a lot of the things I was doing to fill my cup, was no longer happening. For instance, back in 2019, I was attending at least one live music gig a month {if not more}. Why? Because it filled me so much energy and joy, and a feeling of connectedness with not just the music, but also the strangers at the venue drowning themselves in the same music. Dave Grohl explains it in a much better manner than I can!

Most people talk about self-care as down time. Time to relax. Smell the roses. Burn a candle. Do nothing. But the fact is, during 2020, that’s pretty much all there was to do. Nothing. For me, what fills my cup is doing things that are meaningful in addition to some downtime {like, at the beach}. I need to feel connected to people and experiences to fill that cup. It’s also why I moved back to Sydney.

I noticed during the last few weeks of emptiness and disconnect, there were moments that still energised me. One such experience was catching up with Ashley Kalagian Blunt – an author who I ‘met’ online last year and finally caught up with in person a couple of weeks ago. It was lovely to connect with her over books and writing and moving to Australia all those years ago. Ashley is from Canada and moved here six years after I did {on the very same day!} with her husband. I remember heading home that night, buzzing with ideas and energy. It was definitely something that had been missing for a while. But something I’ve had when I’ve caught up with the ‘right’ people, gone to gigs or author events, or even when writing and reading. It made me realise I need more of that.

So, what fills my cup?

I reflected after my therapy session and came up with a few things:

  • Meaningful connections {with depth and vulnerability}
  • Being in a flow state
  • New experiences
  • Making a difference
  • Good physical health
  • Being around water

It’s as simple as that. But it’s not something that has happened for a while. Thanks to all the uncertainty from the coronavirus, I let anxiety get the better of me even after lockdowns and haven’t had too many new experiences. I have been stuck and avoidant. And it’s no wonder I feel empty.

I felt relieved when I figured this out. I wasn’t falling back into the depressive spiral. But if I didn’t fill my cup soon, I’d probably hit rock bottom again at some point. Now begins the task of living life again. Of finding and connecting with my tribe. Of having new experiences again.

I wrote down the above list along with details of what it involves and stuck it above my desk and on my wardrobe as a reminder that I needed to prioritise filling my cup.

How do you fill your cup?

Do share!

***Linking with Denyse for Life this Week***

Featured image by Maria Orlova from Pexels

Until next time,

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  • Laurie
    16 February 2021 at 11:16 am

    I think you are so right – we need to do things to fill our cup regularly. My word for the year is “empty”, so I have been thinking about it a lot. The benefit of emptiness is that we get to choose how to fill up that emptiness with all good things. It sounds like you are a people person. You get your energy from interacting with people. I am the same way. During the pandemic, our source of recharging has been diminished. Hope you can find those connections with your tribe!
    Laurie recently posted…At The Crossroads of Faith and FactMy Profile

  • Shilpa Gupte
    16 February 2021 at 5:04 pm

    True. Times when I feel lethargic, uninspired and not in the mood to do anything that gives me joy, I wonder what it is that I am missing.. Meeting friends in the real world is something I have been missing since a year now. I have still not gotten around to doing it, but I connect with them on the phone and it feels good after having a heart to heart chat with them. That’s how I fill my cup.And, also, my evening walks with my earphones playing my fav music.

  • Deborah Cook
    17 February 2021 at 5:09 pm

    Oh Sanch I can SOOOO relate to the meaningful connections point. I caught up with Jo Tracey yesterday and it was so rejuvenating.

    I saw some of my closest friends when I was in Brisbane also and was reminded how much those long-term friendships mean to me. One of the girls (my first ever flatmate in 1987 though we met in ’86) had ferried me to and fro and she asked about my friendships here. I think she got the sense I felt ‘alone’ or isolated and I realised it’s the case.
    Deborah Cook recently posted…Life and lemonsMy Profile

  • Denyse Whelan
    17 February 2021 at 7:39 pm

    The gift of awareness is the change for me these days when I start feeling low-ish or different. Ah ha I can say, let me check this out. I realise so much faster now and can put things in place when I feel that way. Many tools now in use.

    I have to say, the lift being broken would have contributed quite a bit. You feel like going somewhere but that meant the climb back…11 flights… Nuts.

    Thank you so much for linking up for #lifethisweek. Next week, the optional prompt is
    8/51 Explore. 22 Feb. I hope to see you there and I wish you well for the week ahead. Denyse. #lifethisweek #linkup #Mondays https://www.denysewhelan.com.au

  • Debbie+Harris
    18 February 2021 at 2:18 pm

    This was a great reflective post Sanch and by writing out out hopefully it has helped you prioritise things. we all need to start living again. I fill my cup by hurtling down a hill on my bike, by meeting friends and chatting and staying active. I agree with Denyse, the gift of awareness is a big one. Take care xx
    Debbie+Harris recently posted…Wordy Wednesday – Where am I from?My Profile