There’s an old saying that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Essentially it means that we have to take care of ourselves in order to take care of others. As parents, we are constantly giving, constantly taking care of our families, constantly on the go. There is little time to recharge and rejuvenate, little time to reflect, little time to fill our cups.
It’s not unlike charging your phone. If you don’t charge it, it simply won’t work. And if you only charge it in small increments and don’t let it fully recharge, you damage the battery. Our bodies, minds are hearts are the same way. We have to fully recharge in order to be the best version of ourselves.
The term “self care” might sound new-agey and even selfish. With so little time between work and caring for our families, who has the time or even the energy for something like “self care?” However, the concept of self care is hardly new. In fact, one of our greatest teachers made it a priority. We can actually see it in the Bible.
” And after he [Jesus] had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.” ~ Matthew 14:23
“Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself.” ~Matthew 14:13
We may not know the specifics of how Jesus spent his time alone but it’s clear when reading Matthew Chapter 14 that after withdrawing to pray or reflect, Jesus came back with more clarity and conviction on the good work He had been called to do.
We can even see it in Genesis.
“On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work.” ~Genesis 2:2
If God needs to rest, then surely we do too!
In the modern world, we can’t exactly go up to the mountains any time we want to pray. And as working parents, Sundays are usually full of grocery shopping, laundry and preparing for the busy week ahead. So we have to get creative in how we recharge our batteries. Here are some ideas on how you can recharge.
1. Schedule some personal time
If we wait until the end of the day or just simply try to fit in some down time it’s likely that it won’t even happen. Most of our lives these days are run through digital calendars so make yourself just as important as that lunch meeting with your co-workers. Schedule an hour once a week (at least!) where you do something that fills your cup and recharges your soul. Maybe it’s a pedicure or a massage or even something as simple as sitting under a tree in the sunshine. Schedule it!
2. Take a technology break
Devices rule our lives! If it’s not social media, it’s the tv, if it’s not the tv it’s a podcast, if it’s not a podcast it’s the news, if it’s not the news it’s text messages, if it’s not test messages it’s email. Do your brain a favor and give it a break from the endless input.
3. Go on a social media fast
The research is out there! Social media can negatively affect our mental health. It’s addictive, can lead to jealousy by comparing our lives to others, can increase feelings of sadness etc. etc. If you haven’t watched the Netflix documentary Social Delimma, check it out. If you can’t take a few days or weeks off of social media, at least set a time limit on your phone. Most phones now have a way to limit the time you spend on any particular app.
4. Spend some time in nature
Apart from encouraging you to put down the devices, spending time in nature can help you breathe cleaner air, increase your levels of vitamin D and provide some much needed exercise, even if it’s just a 5 minute walk. Study after study show that a hike or a walk or even just sitting outside for a few minutes can help reduce stress and anxiety by lowering blood pressure. It can also boost your immune system.
5. Go on a date night or a night out with friends
We at School for Amazing Kids totally understand that parents need time to have fun and unwind and reconnect. That’s why we have a Parent Nights Out! Once a month, we will babysit your kiddos from 6:45pm to 10pm so that you can have some much needed “You Time.” There’s no extra cost for this. All you have to do is sign up!
6. Get more sleep
We do a lot to ensure our kids get enough sleep but do we do the same for ourselves? Is staying up to watch that extra episode really worth it? Getting adequate sleep helps lower stress levels, can alleviate depression and anxiety and keep your immune system strong. Read our article here to learn why getting enough sleep might be the best thing you can do for your mental health.
7. Make time for a daily devotional
Taking a few moments each day to connect with God (or even just connect with yourself) can lead to a more positive outlook on life. If you can take a few moments in the morning, this time can set the tone for your entire day. There are several daily devotional books on Amazon and even free apps available in the app store.
However you can, make time to take care of yourself. By doing so, you’re actually taking care of people you love because in order to give to others we have to have something to give and you can’t pour from an empty cup.