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You cannot pour from an empty cup 

How can you give to others what you don’t have?  How many, of us struggle with some level of guilt for putting ourselves first?  We were raised in a cultural environment to think we should always put others before ourselves and ignore our own needs.  

The importance of selfcare is not emphasized enough. My reason for saying this is based conversations I engaged in with some clients, as some saw the idea of Self-care as being Selfish. 

For the purpose of this conversation allow me to explain the difference: Self-care is done with the intention of caring for yourself, not with the intention to harm or take from others. It is about replenishing your resources without depleting someone else’s, whereas being selfish implies there’s a desire to take from others, often to their detriment. However, self-care is about replenishing your resources without depleting someone else’s.  

Factually though, if we are unable to communicate emotionally, physically, and mentally our self-care is in danger. We spend our entire day (and I mean 4am to 12pm midnight) ensuring that our family demands are met, and we can excel in our businesses, and as we take a moment to relax that is when we remember there is still one major task undone. Does it ever cease?  

History has taught us the importance of relaxation and meditation and in our haste to ensure all is done, those acts of selfcare are sometimes forsaken. Even more so, the recent pandemic has brought to our attention the stress relative to “Giving from an empty vessel,” when we are empty, we give you nothing. 

You would all agree with me that selfcare should be a priority, and can, if taken seriously reduce or eliminate anxiety and depression, stress, improve concentration, minimize frustration and anger, increase happiness, and improve energy levels. The reverse is also true, as our inability to care for ourselves can result in ill health, financial crisis, job loss and divorce. When we consider the cost associated with the lack of proper selfcare, you will agree that making selfcare a priority would be less costly. 

Within recent time several persons have approached me because of their experience with anxiety, that fearful feeling that leaves you nervous, and uneasy resulting from lack of selfcare. While we all experience anxiety at some time or another, some individuals diagnosed with depression because of anxiety, can feel a more profound and oppressive sense of anxiety. The emotion of depression is associated with loss. Loss related to a sense of self, and the anxiety comes from the inability to communicate with the person you are.  

I often reference anxiety as an out of body experience and ask persons to indulge in exercises that allow them to breath, be calm and visit a happy place, one where everything is calm and peaceful. 

I will continue to reiterate that our health is invaluable, and your self-care can’t afford to wait. If you keep putting others first, you’ll soon find that you don’t have anything left to give them. Sometimes looking after yourself is the best gift you can give to others. 

So, what are you waiting for? Fill your cup and keep it full by practicing daily self-care. 

Be there for others, but never leave yourself behind. Remember you cannot pour from an empty cup. 

Ceirid Sampson 

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