Fill your cup and make it strong

No I’m not talking about a builders tea (although I am partial to a nice strong cuppa!). I’m sure you have all heard the phrase ‘fill your cup before others’ and I even say this to others who are not being kind to themselves. A few days ago I realised my cup was empty, I had given so much to my work that I was completely burnt out and to say that my emotional brain was maybe reacting was an understatement. I have however managed to fill it up and I can share some of these tips with you so I can help you hopefully catch your cup before its empty!

I can only thank my mindfulness practices for bringing to my attention the physical sensations of anxiety and stress in my body for making me stop and actually take stock and be there for myself to fill my cup up. I had realised I’d not had more than one day off work since the start of December, I had even worked over Christmas getting my newsletter, course and new branding ready. Even when I realised this it was not plain sailing, I had even realised that as a result of this overwork I had stopped some of my practices (other than my daily mindfulness – because I feel like I have lost an arm if I start the day without this!) which I professionally recommend to others to do for their happiness and wellbeing. I had stopped exercise over work, forgetting my gratitudes as I was so tired from overworking and managing about half a page of journaling before I got bored and started working early in the mornings!

As well as forgetting these practices, my values have been challenged a little over the last few weeks, one was getting told I was too nice and I need to be more brutal (nope that’s not me!) a couple of weeks ago – I think if my cup was more full I would have been able to handle this better and be more resilient to this situation (I wasn’t, I cried a lot!). The other situation which has really helped me realise I am on the right path (so it was a positive experience) was some work I was potentially going to be doing with a big psychology firm (I wont mention their names). I found out the research they use for interventions is 1970’s research. I challenged why they use this? (As I use strengths in my work which is research from 2008 onward!) and they said this is what they do and have always done. So I walked away, no thank you! I wouldn’t attempt to help someone with 70’s research when I have latest science and research (which I have proven results of helping people) at my fingertips. They are a big company and this really shocked me (no disrespect to them I’m sure they are great at what they do) but it helped me realise I am more advanced and on the right path so I am grateful for this.

I have also found using my strengths over the last week really helpful in a more direct way, I was sat on the train to London Thursday with my strengths profile practising what I preach and thinking about how I was going to use each strength. For example growth is a big thing for me so I focused in on what I would learn that day and how I would reflect on it in the moment especially if I felt a bit anxious. I also pulled on my strength of curiosity and was just naturally curious about the things I saw in London, taking the time to slow down on the walk to and from the train station and take in the big buildings and surroundings (I also accidentally mindfully fell into Lush at Liverpool street and bought a bath bomb oops I’m sure this was using my strengths somewhere?!). But in all seriousness using my strengths made me far less anxious and enjoy my day more.

So in summary, always make sure your cup is full and you can do this by activities such as exercise, mindfulness and gratitude but most of all be yourself and use your strengths and stay true to your values. In my experience over this last week or so, if your cup is full then you are much more likely to be able to stay true to yourself and your values. Also even as a mindfulness teacher and coach I am not perfect. My cup got empty and it would not be authentic if I didn’t share with you. It’s okay for your cup to get empty, the important thing is you can fill it up and I hope that you can learn from my experiences, I know I have.

Do you know your strengths? Would you like results proven ways to be happier and your best self? Please get in touch if I can help you.

Gemma Sandwell

Chief Happiness Officer

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