We’ve all heard the saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” or at least a variation of it, but what does this saying actually mean? From our perspective, it means that as admirable as it is to live a life for others, it’s impossible to put forth your best effort if you’re incomplete on the inside – if your “cup” isn’t full. Before we can give our best to others and this world, we first need to become our best selves and allow ourselves to feel our absolute best.
So how do we ensure our cups are full? By prioritizing ourselves, starting the moment we wake up each day.
Begin each day with YOU as the focus.
Our days can be chaotic and the needs of others can quickly take priority in each facet of our lives— whether at work, at home with the family, etc. To ensure you’re set and ready to give to others throughout the day, make the first hour or so of the day yours and yours only. Start the day doing something you truly enjoy: watch an episode of your favorite show, read a chapter or two from a novel, get a workout in, or listen to an uplifting podcast. You know the elated feeling you get after doing something you absolutely love? That is what you’re aiming for each morning.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure you’re doing what makes YOU happy and that you’re fully immersed in the moment. The stresses of the day can wait while you fill your cup up with joy. This may mean getting up an hour earlier than you usually do, but we promise it’ll be worth it. The feel-good energy you create will carry you throughout the day, allowing you to bring your best, most joyous self to all that you do and all that you meet.
Set yourself up for a fulfilling day by setting a positive intention.
It’s easy for our own needs to slip to the wayside once the reality of our day-to-day lives sets in. What we find helpful is to set an intention, or a goal, for each day. Make sure the intention emphasizes your needs. It can be something that’s done internally, like finding the bright side of every situation you may encounter that day, or something larger like setting aside time for an activity that brings you happiness.
Revisit your intention throughout the day, whenever you feel your cup may be emptying. Repeat it to yourself – aloud or internally – to remind you of your goal and that you are a priority. Spills will happen, it’s inevitable, but make the effort to check in with yourself and to lift yourself up when you need it most – because that’s what you’d do for another, isn’t it? Give yourself that same grace.
The way we speak to and think about ourselves can make or break a day, a mindset, and a mood. To create a more positive, uplifting day for yourself, adopt the practice of positive self talk.
This positive self-talk goes hand-in-hand with your daily intentions, as achieving goals requires belief and confidence in one’s self. Fill your cup with positivity and give yourself compliments whenever you need a boost: call out your best traits and skills, name a few things that you do extremely well, tell yourself just how incredible you really are. It may feel silly at first, but over time it will become second nature, allowing you to turn any negative thought that comes your way into a positive one. You are deserving of compliments just as much as others are, so give them to yourself freely. When your cup is full, and you are content with who you are, your best self is allowed to shine through.
Our bodies are designed for movement and exercise – give your body what it needs to perform at its absolute best. When we have stressors in our mental space, our bodies tend to react physically with muscle tension resulting in that overall drained feeling we all dread.
Movement allows us to release that tension and invite all of those feel-good endorphins to power us throughout the rest of the day. This could be a full workout, a short walk, or stretching breaks away from your work space. Set yourself a few timers to ensure you’re getting in those work breaks, using the 50/10 rule: for every 50 min of focus, give yourself a 10 min break. Allow yourself the time to re-energize so that you’re best able to focus and perform when needed.
Food is fuel, but so is what you read, what you listen to, what you watch, and who/what you surround yourself with. Consume wisely, choosing things that uplift and inspire you at the beginning of each day and throughout.
Fill your cup with the motivation and inspiration you need to bring out the best version of you. This can begin with positive self talk – an uplifting internal dialogue – but inspiration can be found in outside sources as well. Listen to a motivating podcast, collect quotes from inspirational leaders, hop on a call with a friend or mentor who energizes you, or open your mind to something new and interesting in a book. Choose resources that further your aspirations and remind you of your worth and potential.
When we consistently fill our cups with positivity and inspiration, we not only give ourselves the fuel to press on when the going gets tough, but we inspire others to do the same. Keep filling yours to the brim, and just imagine how much hope, love, and effort you’ll be able to pour into the lives of others, and into all that you do.