How many times have you heard the expression "Is the cup half full or half empty?"
Probably the same amount of times as “the grass is greener on the other side.”
Today I’m going to flip this idea on its head and talk about emptying your cup.
Yes, you heard right. How can I lower my cup?
This was an idea that was recently shared with me and in its simplicity, I found it to be empowering and liberating.
So, here’s the story. I’m tired, burnt out, exhausted and feeling generally overwhelmed.
Raise your hand if you have ever felt like this?
Anyone that is not raising their hands right now, I don’t believe you.
If you’re anything like me, you have a ‘to do list’ created somewhere. It may be on a sticky note, a Trello board, your notes app, or even a good old-fashioned hand-written diary.
For some, it may even be a mental checklist.
Nonetheless its function is the same, to add items that need to be taken care of and tick off items as they are accomplished.
This process goes on and on and on.
Now imagine a cup almost filled with water. Maybe 7/8 filled.
Now imagine adding water to the cup.
What will happen?
Yes, you got it.
The cup will overflow.
My cup is filled with everything going on in my life; thank G-d lots of blessings and wonderful things which I am beyond grateful for. But what naturally attaches to these are my stresses, anxieties, to do list items, responsibilities, the many hats that I wear... and the list goes on.
So, I’m cruising along life, feeling okay, or maybe somewhat stressed and then suddenly someone asks me to do something, or someone says something unkind, or I start worrying about something.
Yes, you got it.
My cup spills over.
Naturally if the cup is overflowing, this is when the overwhelming feelings kick in, the out of whack anxieties flare up and it feels like life is spiraling out of control.
What if your cup was only half filled to begin with and the same thing happened?
Most likely, this event would be a non-dramatic encounter added to the humdrum of your life.
Or perhaps it would unravel you somewhat, but because your cup has empty space, you have the room and ability to deal with it in a calmer manner.
So, my latest mission has been… you guessed it… try lowing the levels in my cup.
Try making space.
Try making time to breathe.
Try making time to get proper sleep.
Try making time to recharge my batteries.
Anxieties, vulnerabilities and feelings of being overwhelmed flare up when there is no space to begin with.
When your cup is too full.
The solution is clear. You need to lower the level in your cup.
Do I really need to make those homemade chocolate chip cookies, see the bottom of the laundry pile right now or do that DIY project today?
Is it a priority when I already have so many pressing tasks and responsibilities? Is it just adding to my cup that has recently been creeping up?
It’s not to say those items wouldn’t be nice to do or should be ignored.
But do they have to be attended to right now?
Could I tackle them when my cup is a bit lower to begin with?
Remember, by prioritizing and keeping your cup at healthy levels, you’re setting yourself up for success.
You’re setting yourself up for resilience.
You’re setting yourself up to be able to cope!
Creating space is not just about removing stressors, but it’s also about self-care. It’s about looking after yourself and recharging your batteries.
Don’t under-estimate the power of a good night’s sleep, a healthy meal, a dose of fresh air or some exercise to reinvigorate yourself and create some space in your cup.
We all need to recharge our batteries.
We are not robots.
And guess what? Even robots need to recharge their batteries.