How do I fill my cup when life gets overwhelming?

How do I fill my cup when life gets overwhelming?

We’re coming up to Christmas, and many people feel totally overwhelmed with expectations and responsibilities that they end up exhausted, drained and burnt out.

‘I don’t know what to say, except when Christmas time arrives, my stomach churns, I regress, stress and feel extremely anxious about having to cope through these two ‘festive’ weeks. It’s like I have to be around family, I have to do my expected chores and I really just wish I could escape from the rest of the world!’ – unknown

Yes the holidays are soon upon us and this can be an extremely stressful time for some of us. A water leak just before Christmas ruined the whole festivities one year, then another year our heating system collapsed and we ended up spending our days freezing cold, stroppy and disgusted that nobody would come out to help us on Christmas day. Coupled with a stomach bug, holiday spirit has been hard to come by. But, as always, I was encouraged by the words of the great Oprah Winfrey echoing in my mind: “Just remember to fill your own cup first, before are able to share with others”.

With all the added stress of our home and work commitments, the extra pressure from dealing with the so called ‘festive’ season might push us to our breaking point. Whether we are overworked by looking after others, or whether we live a relatively lonely life and aren’t into all the celebrations, we end up more depressed during this period than any other time of the year. To top it all up, many of us neglect ourselves not only during the holidays but all year long. And self-care is of the utmost importance.

So how do we fill our cup? It’s actually quite easy if we prioritize and make the time. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect, and maybe we buy (gasp) dessert this year instead of making our famous eight layer cake. Bottom line there are easy ways to allow for our own cup-filling fun, if we make ourselves a priority. Here are seven ways ways to fill your cup, and start listening to what you really need.


  1. Find and make the time. You have no excuse about this. The wealthiest, busiest and most powerful people on earth have the exact hours in the day as you do. It boils down to discipline. Get yourself started by waking up half an hour earlier every day and see what you can get done in that time. Instead of sitting on your phone browsing through social media or wasting time looking at stuff that doesn’t matter, find some online meditation and start with 5 minutes a day. In no time, that time will increase to 10 minutes and whatever else you manage to get done FOR YOURSELF during the rest of the time will be a bonus!
  2. Pursue your passion. Pick something you like to do and pursue it every single day. No, it’s not lying down in bed and procrastinating. Find something healthy and if you can’t think of anything, just continue with meditation. The very fact that you are meditating will help you get out of the rut. Open the windows and let some fresh air come into your bedroom and get you out and about. If you have some hobby, keep pursuing it, do more of it; let it kickstart your positive endorphins.
  3. Get moving. Talking about endorphins, nothing releases such positive energy as movement. I even encourage my clients to practice Pilates in bed before they get out of bed. Not only does exercise promote mental wellbeing but it does amazing stuff for the rest of your body. Walking, running, jogging, swimming, Pilates, Yoga or any other form of fitness.. make time for it – stop and MOVE! Even just 10 minutes a day can turn your day around, all you need is to commit to it!
  4. Help others. Two of my personal Gurus Tony Robbins and Dean Graziosi continuously preach about being of service to others is what enriches your life. Just knowing a small act can make someone else’s day so fulfilling is enough to get me out of bed in the morning. That’s why I do what I do, because I know that because of me, other people feel better. But you know you don’t need to be a Pilates teacher to feel of service. Voluntary work with others, or at animal shelters, or even at a conservation society or at your local church. Look up voluntary events near you, sign up and commit to going, even on a dark, gloomy day. It will make you feel good!
  5. Spend time outdoors. Nature is the world’s best healer. Joseph Pilates wrote on numerous occasions about the benefits of being out in the fresh air and exercising with minimal clothing! I’m not asking you to go ‘All Jo’ on me but if the cold weather puts you off, put on some layers and get off that sofa and out your door! Find your closest spot in nature whether in the woods, the forest, the mountains, the beach or lake. Just embrace the beauty of our natural environment and allow the wind mess up your hair and blow away the cobwebs in your mind, the rain to wash away your worries and the sun to fill you with emotional energy. There is nothing better than feeling the elements right on your skin!
  6. Say ‘no’ more often. Filling your cup means that sometimes you would need to displease others. If you are an empath who continuously looks out for others and dedicates your time, whether personally or professionally to help others, you will get drained by their needs. If you find yourself giving too much, you MUST learn to say no. Not taking on too much is NOT being of disservice, but proving to you and others that self care is important to be able to give your best service ever.
  7. Escape. No I’m not saying run away from your problems. I’m not even indicating that you should hide from the world and go to a Buddhist monastery for 6 months (although that might actually be an amazing idea!) but taking time out from your environment and going somewhere completely new, close to nature, perhaps with like-minded people. If set up appropriately, the whole experience will renew and restore your energies, help you find purpose and give you a new direction in life. There are a number of movement (Pilates / Yoga) and mindfulness (meditation) retreats for all budgets dotted around the world; some set in the most magical locations. Do your homework, contact the host, check out how many people are in your group (the fewer the better) and ask about their planned events and their value to see if you can resonate. Give yourself the gift of wellness. Give yourself the time to fill your cup, before you can give to others!

So go ahead, make some plans for yourself. Start from today, do the little changes you need to do to turn your life around. Plan your exercise schedule, your voluntary work and best of all, that Restoring Retreat your mind and body are badly craving!

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If you like this post, please share amongst your friends and help them Fill their own cups! That’s one way of you being of service to others!

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