“You can’t pour from an empty cup.” This is a quote I tell all my mumma friends and a mantra I will live by for the rest of my life. Really, think about it, how many times have you been asked to give and give until you can give no more, and your cup is empty. Well I hadn’t really thought about it until I ended up in hospital with a case of Viral Meningitis, and I had hit empty.
It was without doubt the scariest time of my life, and a feeling, both physically and mentally. My body had shut down and did not want to reboot. The pain and procedures I had to go through I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. I had doctors and specialists scratching their heads, asking if I have had previous medical history with Meningitis? Had I been in contact with anyone who was displaying symptoms? Though when it came down to it, it was none of these things. I was simply running on empty. I wasn’t taking care of myself. I was sleep deprived. I had a son who was on the Autism spectrum (not yet diagnosed). I had a baby who would scream half of her waking hours with severe reflux and food intolerances and I was stretched. Stretched beyond my limit as it turned out. I was trying to be the best mother and wife that I could be, at the same time as running my own business. I wasn’t thinking for one minute about myself and my own well-being.
You do not want to hit empty, it’s not a nice place to be. So, when my doctor used this quote with me, “You can’t pour from an empty cup”, it stuck! I have been slowly making changes to make sure my cup is never empty again. What good are we to the people that need us the most if we are not functioning at our best? Change and looking after ourselves is hard, hopefully some of my tips may help you. These are some of the things I have changed in my day to day life to help my cup stay full;
- Ask for help. It seems so simple, but it was the hardest thing for me to adopt. I don’t like asking for help or admitting to myself and others that I need it. Our families and closest friends are our support networks. How many times have you had a friend or family member ask, “Is there anything I can do to help?” and you answer “No”, when in fact there is probably a list of things as long as your arm that they can do for you. Whether it’s bringing in the washing, or to have them watch the kids for an hour here and there so you can have “you time”, pick up some groceries from the shops on their way over, cook a meal for you (even last night’s leftovers will do!). The list goes on, and they may only be little things at the time, but as I have experienced, it’s the little things that lead to your cup being empty. It takes a village to raise a child, and the same could be said for running a family unit. Use the help you have around you and don’t be ashamed to ask for help.
- Don’t forget who you are. Other than being a wife and mother, you simply cannot lose your own identity. Have a hobby, do something you enjoy doing, just for you. Read a book, meditate, go for a walk. My little weekly escape is Pilates. It is only one hour per week, but it is MY hour, and I cherish every minute of it. Not only does it allow me to escape the stress and pressures of running a family, but it keeps me fit physically which is just as important as mental well-being.
- Have date nights with your partner. We get caught up sometimes in the role we play as mothers that we forget about the role we play as a wives and partners. I feel my husband and I benefit from our date nights in that it allows us to escape the family home and strengthens our bond as a couple. I try and pencil in a date night once a month just for my husband and me. The funny thing is most of the time we are out we end up talking about the kids all night. At least it is over a nice meal, that we can actually enjoy warm, with no children on our laps, no back and forth to the fridge to get another drink of water for the kids and eating at a reasonable adult hour! The best part is no cooking 3 or 4 different meals and no cleaning up afterwards. Perfect, right?
- Sleep! Oh precious, glorious sleep. I totally get why sleep deprivation is a form of torture. How many of us really get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep each and every night? Don’t stress about how or where your kids sleep, just make sure you are all getting good quality sleep. If co-sleeping works for you then so be it, don’t be shamed for cuddling your kids to sleep, they are only this little once. Take turns of who’s getting up each night, so no one burns out. My husband and I take turns, one night on, one night off. JUST GET SOME SLEEP!!!
- Eat Well. Food is fuel, and you want to be refuelling with the best organic wholefoods and produce you can find. It’s simple, just eat real food, stay away from highly processed, sugar filled packet foods. If buying packet food, read labels and try to shop in the outer aisles of the grocery store where your health food and fresh food is found. Home cooking is the best and a great way to bond with your family. Drink water, lots of it. Check out the “Magic Pill” documentary on Netflix.
- Find a Naturopath. Make sure you do your research and find a good, reliable, qualified naturopath. Naturopaths are wealth of knowledge and respond to individual needs of their patients. They develop a treatment plan tailor made for your needs, that will include natural supplements, botanical medicines and diet therapy. My naturopath has helped my family and I so much, in so many ways. I wonder how I had coped with it all without her.
- Girls nights. A girl’s night is a chance for my girlfriends and I to have dinner together, go see a movie, or even a weekend away from home and let our hair down. Nobody else in the world understands the trials and tribulations of mum life than your girlfriends, so these nights are so important. Like the date nights, we often end up talking about our kids the entire time, we laugh, we cry, but we enjoy the time to remind ourselves of who we are as an individual, away from being a mother and wife.
- Pyjama Days. We try and have these days often. They are a great way for us all to recharge and are very peaceful. No make-up, no uncomfortable clothes, no expectation of what we need to look like. No working or cleaning, we turn our phones off and the whole purpose of the day is to just relax. We have nothing planned, no need to leave the house, and we just spend time together, as a family. We play board games, read books, complete puzzles, have indoor picnics, the kids have an extra-long bath and we always finish the day off with a movie night, all cuddled up in a pillow fort. The kids love it, I love it. If you get the chance to read a book called “The little book of Hygge – the Danish way to live well” by Meik Wiking, read it! It will change the way you parent. Hygge translates to comfort, warmth and togetherness. Danish people are ranked the happiest people in the world, so they must be on to something! Source; UN World Happiness Report 2016 top spot.
- Family Holidays. This gives me something to look forward to. We try and book one every year varying from an overseas holiday, to a road trip down the coast to a beach side location. Family holidays take away the stress of work life, of mum life, of bills and household chores, and breaks the routine. It is time we allocate to be together, whether it is for 3 days or a couple of weeks. It shakes things up, resets the kids behaviours, gets you out of a rut you may well be in, and who doesn’t like having their bed and meals made for them every day?
- Essential Oils. Yes, those pure little bottles of essential oils that I love so much. They have been life changing for my health and well-being. They refill my cup by helping me with sleep and emotional support, boost my immune system, and keep me energised and focused. You can learn more about doTERRA essential oils here or contact me for a free wellness chat.
So, there it is, all the things that keep me from being anywhere near that horrid place of pouring from an empty cup. Remember the daily things you do to improve your health make all the difference. These are the things that work for me, but I know we are all unique, all individuals, so I urge you to discover whatever it is you need to do to make sure your not pouring from an empty cup. Hopefully my list motivates you to try the things that work for me or find the things that work for you. Drop me a comment, I would love to hear what it is you do, or will now start doing, to make sure you are NEVER pouring from an empty cup.