Do you find yourself feeling depleted, running on empty, and with almost nothing left to give? Do you always give to others first and put yourself last? If so, you are probably trying to do too much for too many people, and it's important to realize that you can't pour from an empty cup!
Are you familiar with the saying? Pouring from an empty cup is exactly what you’re doing when you put everyone else’s needs ahead of your own.
Instead of continuing down that path, which can lead to all sorts of physical, emotional, and even financial problems, why not prioritize your own wellness for once? Below, we give you lots of tips on how to do just that!
What does the phrase “you can’t pour from an empty cup” really mean?
Giving to others is a beautiful thing. You probably have endless people in your life you want to give your attention to, and that’s wonderful.
The only problem is, if you overdo it, you’ll wind up depleted and with nothing left to give – to others or yourself. That’s what it means when we say you can’t pour from an empty cup.
You can’t give or support others when you’ve neglected your health and wellbeing. Luckily, there’s something you are able to do about it, and that is prioritizing your own wellness.
What are the consequences of not filling up your own cup?
Before we get into how to prioritize your wellness, we need to highlight some of the consequences of not doing so.
This way, you’ll understand the importance of putting yourself first even better. You can’t pour from an empty cup, but if you try, here are a few of the possible consequences:
When you don’t put yourself first, it usually begins to show up in your body first. The stress of putting your own health and wellness on the backburner leads to both physical and mental symptoms.
Physical symptoms include irritability, trouble sleeping, and digestive problems. Anxiety or panic attacks might show up as mental symptoms. Both types of symptoms are the result of you not filling up your own cup.
Relationships become strained
You know the people you are working so hard to put first, before yourself? Well, your relationships with those same people can become strained when you neglect yourself.
It might sound counter-intuitive, but not trying to be everything to everyone can actually improve your relationships with the people who you care about most.
You might burn out
Lastly, and most consequential of all, not filling up your own cup can lead to burnout. The repeated stress caused by putting yourself last can leave you in a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion.
While you can recover from burnout, it’s definitely better not to get to that point. Hopefully, the following tips on prioritizing your overall wellness will prevent you from ever getting to that place!
15 ways to prioritize your overall wellness because you can't pour from an empty cup!
You can’t pour from an empty cup, but you can pour from a full one, so let’s talk about how you can keep your cup filled!
It’s all about prioritizing your own wellness. That means taking care of yourself financially, physically, mentally, personally, and career-wise.
These are our fifteen favorite ways to put yourself first in each of those categories:
If there’s one area of your life to be self-centered, it’s your finances. Here are just a few of the many ways you can prioritize your financial wellness:
1. Pay yourself first before giving to others
Before you loan or give money to others, make sure you can truly afford it. While being generous with loved ones is admirable, it shouldn’t come at the expense of your financial goals.
Build up your emergency fund, start to invest, and get your financial priorities straight before you give your money away.
2. Set financial goals
Another way to prioritize your financial wellness is to set financial goals. If you want to achieve everything in life you dream of, one way to get there is through financial goal setting.
By setting a financial goal, you’re telling yourself that you’re putting yourself and your own needs first, and there’s nothing better than that!
3. Educate yourself on personal finance
Unsure where to start? Financial wellness begins with understanding your money and what it can do for you. It can feel somewhat intimidating at first, but there are so many ways to educate yourself about your finances, starting right here!
Clever Girl Finance’s 100% free courses cover everything you need to know about financial wellness, investing, and more. Once you begin your financial wellness journey, you’ll feel empowered and like nothing can stop you.
When you’re not feeling your best, physically, it’s almost impossible to give to others. That’s why it’s essential that you care for yourself before you even think about providing for others. These tips can help you get on the right track:
4. Prioritize sleep
This can’t be the first time you’ve heard that sleep is one of the keys to your overall good health. But it’s so essential that it bears repeating.
Sleep should be high on your total well-being list because, without it, everything else starts to fall apart. Make sure to get enough, and you’ll see that your cup will begin to fill up with just this one change.
5. Schedule (and go to!) your medical appointments
Your kids never miss their twice-yearly dental cleanings, but when was the last time you went to yours? How about your annual physical? The eye doctor?
All of these things can fall to the wayside when you’re prioritizing others’ needs above your own.
The next time you’re tempted to skip a medical appointment, remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup, and that’s what you’re doing when you aren’t taking care of your physical health.
6. Get outside and get moving
One of the most simple ways to prioritize your physical wellness is to get moving. By moving your body outside, you get the added benefit of some much-needed vitamin D. Plus, it’s free!
If you want to involve others, like your kids, it’s easy to do that, too. Turns out, sometimes you can fill your own cup and pour into someone else’s at the same time!
Your mental health is definitely as crucial as your physical health. You can’t pour from an empty cup, but one of the easiest ways to fill up your cup is to take care of your mind. These tips won’t cost much, but the benefits are priceless:
Practicing meditation is absolutely one of the best ways to improve your mental health. The best part is, that you only need a few minutes a day to reap the benefits. Not only that, but it’s totally free and can be done anywhere, anytime!
8. Block out free time in your calendar
Is your calendar filled with appointments, meetings, and never-ending to-dos? Have you forgotten what it's like to have free time or blank space in your day? An easy way to get that back is to schedule time for yourself.
Block out an hour a day (or however long you have) just to be. Spend it by yourself, doing whatever you want to do at that moment. It will give you a much-needed recharge and reboot.
9. Talk to somebody
Lastly, sometimes you’re in a mental health place where you need to talk to a professional.
There is absolutely no shame in that, and a therapist or mental health professional can help you through whatever you're feeling. There’s no better way to fill yourself back up than to seek the support you need.
Your personal wellness is all about your relationship with yourself, others, and your home. Don’t forget to take time to prioritize your personal space and everyone you let into it.
Here are a few ways to help you do that, because you can't pour from an empty cup:
10. Spend time with friends
Prioritizing your wellness often means nurturing the relationships that mean the most to you. Sometimes friendships can take a backseat to your other obligations, especially the demands of family and work.
If you want to make sure your cup is full, it’s important to keep your friendships alive. There are a lot of fun and free things to do with your friends, so long as you make the time for them.
11. Create a soothing space for yourself
Living in a home that you really love is one of the best ways to improve your well-being. You spend so much time there; why not make it a soothing space for yourself?
Even if it’s just a room or an area of a room, create a sanctuary that makes you smile whenever you enter it.
12. Get others to help you
Sometimes, there just aren't enough hours in the day to get it all done. That can definitely lead to stressful situations, lack of sleep, and all of the things that don’t help you fill your cup. Something you can do about that is outsourcing tasks you don’t have time for to someone else.
You can hire a cleaning service once a week or get creative and ask the teenager down the street to take care of your yard. There are so many people out there willing to help; you just have to be willing to ask and pay when needed!
The time you spend at work can rival, and even surpass, your personal time. That’s why it’s key to make sure you have the support you need and that you don’t overwork yourself up to the point of burnout. Here are a few ways to help yourself with that:
13. Get the support you need
Whether it’s an assistant at work who you can rely on or a comfortable chair for your endless Zoom meetings, make sure you get the support you need at work. Don’t sacrifice your comfort for someone else’s or, even worse, for the company’s dollar.
You are working hard and deserve to have what you need in order to do your job well without sacrificing your well-being for it.
14. Take regular breaks
No matter where you work from, in an office or at home, remember to take regular breaks. And don’t simply sit at your desk and scarf down a wilted salad at lunchtime.
Take the time to really step away from your work and recharge. Those who take lunch breaks have been shown to be more engaged at work and satisfied with their jobs.
15. Create and stick to boundaries
Do you always volunteer to help out a colleague or cover for their vacation, even at the expense of your own free time?
While it’s nice to be a team player and help out when you can, in order to preserve your own wellbeing, you have to set some boundaries.
Remote workers and office workers alike benefit when they can separate work from their home lives and stick to those boundaries.
You can prioritize your own wellness!
Hopefully, now you understand that, while you can’t pour from an empty cup, there are plenty of ways to fill your cup.
And once your cup is filled, you can be the best version of yourself possible. How will you fill your cup today?
Be sure to check out our other self-care ideas to help you prioritize yourself!