“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”
~ Eleanor Brownn
This past week I’ve given all I had and then some. I was glad to do it, and grateful to be well enough to be able to sustain a high level of service and support for others. I’ve had days and long nights of being on call. High stress. Just a few hours sleep.
There were two spaces I lived in. The one where I was being strong for everyone else, providing guidance and love, messages and psychic insights, and endless support. There was the other space. The private space where I retreated late at night or early in the morning to rage and grieve and process all of my own emotions. After which I’d gather myself back together and start again. Crazy. Intense. Demanding.
No-one can work like that all the time.
Why do I know that? I used to try, and of course it always ended with me crashing and burning. Eventually. Or sooner.
I’d love to say that it’s all about balance. But I’ve found that life is rarely so organised. Sometimes it does demand all that we have and then some. Sometimes we’re twiddling our thumbs with time on our hands.
I’ve also found that making the time for self-care sometimes demands more courage than to keep driving the bus, crazy-eyed with exhaustion and white-knuckled from the effort it takes to hang on to that damned steering wheel.
When I’m in that place now, I pull over.
I’ve learned to be present when I’m needed, and to step back when it’s all over, making myself unavailable to others so that I can fill my tank back up again. I do that with rest, meditation, good food, time on my own, lots of hugs, and things that give me nurture and inspiration – music, books, movies, writing in quiet morning cafes. I do it with clear boundaries, and an awesome husband and PA (Thanks Ben and Dana!) who are able to maintain those boundaries – which sometimes includes them telling me to step away and rest! 🙂 I also do it by giving myself time to feel my emotions. To cry or be angry or sad or bereft or awestruck or whatever else is going on for me.
I no longer try to pretend to myself or the ones closest to me that things are okay. I no longer push through it. I no longer plaster on my happy face if I cannot do that. (Sometimes I can, and it is what is needed for that moment.)
Self-care is an antidote to burn-out. It’s the solution to relationship, job or care-induced resentment. It’s the magical tonic that puts the spring back in your step, the smile back on your face and the music back in your heart.
If you’re feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, underwhelmed, cranky, short-tempered or lacking in joy, maybe you’d benefit from creating some space to unplug for a while, so that you can focus on your own needs instead of the needs of everyone else.
Filling the emptying well so that you can draw from it again is the only way you can ever truly be your best, and give your best to others.
What fills you back up?
Do some of that this week, or plan to do it as soon as you possibly can. You’re worth it. And your life will begin to change in unexpected and wonderful ways when you value yourself.
I’m holding you in my prayers and meditations, and sending you so much love, Nicole xx