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The importance of Me - a different approach to self-care

Updated: Oct 5, 2021

“You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

We’ve all heard this number one cliché of self-care. It’s stating the obvious, but how do we refill the cup once empty or, better even, ensure it’s filled to the rim to begin with?

Let me state the even more obvious. If your cup was always full you’d be wasting your drink. Maybe it’s not about always having fully charged batteries but about smart energy management, ensuring you live your life to the fullest, and always have enough energy to invest in the things that really matter to you. Easier said than done.

In life, we need a balance of energy drainers and givers. You don't want to always have a full cup. Illustration by Hilary Kwan (@ifuckinglovedrawing).

Here are three steps you can take that go beyond yoga and ‘me time.'

  1. Identify your energy drainers and energy givers. Sometimes it’s excessive watching of the news or scrolling social media; sometimes it’s the presence of someone toxic in our life that drains us from energy. Often these drainers can be invisible because they are so ingrained in our daily routines. On the flip side, there are many things that energize us and we might not even be aware of them. And I am not just talking 8h sleep and naps… whether it’s cooking a meal instead of getting takeaway, a quick workout, or giving an old friend a phone call - make a list of all the things that replenish and drain your energy.

  2. Evaluate how you spend your time and energy. Allow yourself some time to take stock: How are you spending the majority of your time and energy? On an average day, do you break even and have a similar amount of drainers and energizers? Are there particular times of the week when your life is a little off balance? When do you feel most exhausted or most energized? Are there some obvious areas that you would benefit from changing things up?

  3. Make some smart adjustments. Are there ways in which you cut corners? For example, if your commute drains you but listening to a podcast energizes you, can you combine the two? Make small adjustments that are sustainable and that you can keep up for at least 20 days (according to research that’s how long it takes to form a new habit!). For example, if you want to revamp your morning routine start with a 5 minute morning stretch or mindfulness practice instead of a full workout or meditation session and then gradually up the intensity. Small changes can make a big impact over time

This approach to prioritizing yourself is more than just a self-care quick fix. We live in a busy world with limited time and energy. Permit yourself to put your own needs first and spend your time and energy on the things that really matter.

There is nothing selfish about self-care. It's a balancing act of giving as much as you can and taking as much as you need.

Ultimately everyone benefits when you are really showing up for yourself and others.

Caroline von Koenig is a Wellbeing and Transformational coach at Life Startup. She also has her own practice Caromino Coach. She helps clients make impactful changes leading to more fulfillment in their life, work, and relationships. Follow her on Instagram @carominocoach.

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