When you’re on an airplane, they go through all the safety information before taking off. The first rule is something along the lines of “if the airplane is crashing, put your oxygen mask on first before helping someone else.” Taking care of yourself first.
Or maybe you have heard that you cannot pour from an empty cup. You need to take care of yourself first, before taking care of someone else. But here’s the thing. My cup is always empty, yet I give and give, do and do. Why? Because I cannot say no, I say yes too much, to the wrong things.
Recently, the emptiness of my cup has been obvious. I am behind in everything, running literally on empty. My lack of sleep has been so noticeable, one of my students asked me if I had been crying because my undereye circles are THAT bad. (They are normally bad . . . but were exceptionally bad on this day.)
The lowest point was at my son’s baseball games a few weeks ago. I was selfishly thinking about how long I “have” to be there, (6 hours! He was playing a doubleheader). Growing grouchy and anxious because I was preoccupied with my growing to do list. The more I thought about it the longer it got. Mentally punishing myself for not getting as much done before baseball as I wanted.
This stress was starting to get to me, to the point that I was quietly crying while sitting on the sidelines. (Yes, I am that hot mess mom.) My mom offered to help, to watch my son after baseball, help me plan or clean. I quickly said no, I could do it. I turned down help I desperately needed; she already helps me so much, I couldn’t ask her to do more.
My planner stays jam-packed with work commitments, to-dos, and the mommy stuff. Bursting with the extra things that I have taken on: extra shifts at work, compiling ideas together for a work project, or baking three dozen cookies for my son’s school.
With the holiday’s inching closer, a feeling a dread sets in. The holidays always mean more of everything. BUT, this holiday season, I am making an early resolution. I am putting my foot down and making filling my cup back up a priority. Giving myself permission to mentally let go of this self-imposed pressure to do it all.
I am going to start by filling my empty cup back up. Repeating these “mantras” daily . . . okay, maybe multiple times a day!
It is okay for me to say no because I don’t have the time.
It is okay to say no without an excuse. (Literally- just saying NO is a-okay.)
It is okay for me to accept help.
It is okay to me to just want to go to bed early.
I do not need to sacrifice myself to make some else happy.
It is okay, to take a deep breath and just be. Fill that cup to the brim, preferably with coffee. Lots of coffee.