One of the common reasons we lose touch with our inner strength is that we aren’t re-filling our own well.
If you’ve ever attended a well-being course, there’s a common analogy about that famous aeroplane message: “Put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others with theirs.”
The idea of this is to normalise self-care. If we cannot breathe, we cannot help others breathe. I like to take this metaphor and remind people of it at all points of their life.
If you are running on empty, you cannot give anything.
Understanding Our Well
One of the fist things I reflect on with people is their well of “inner strength”: How full, empty, murky or clean is it?
This may sound a little “woo,” but there’s a rational aspect to this: if we are tired from lack of sleep, powered on too much coffee, and rushing between tasks, we’re less likely to give 100% of our time and attention to a task than if we were to take in the details, explore all options, and fuel both our mind and body.
Pause a moment, and think back to the last time you just ‘existed’ without following any specific thoughts of worries, without reading anything else or replaying the past. When were you last ‘in the moment?’
Following that answer, take a pause right now. How do you feel, right this moment? Go ahead: I’ll wait.
If 100% meant you were full of life, energy and buzzing to share joy with others, and 0% meant you were so drained you couldn’t face the idea of getting out of bed…
How ‘full’ are you (and your well of strength) right now?
Once you’ve connected with some idea of your well’s current “level,” the next step is to look for ways to refill it.
For some people, spiritual practises like Mindfulness or Yoga refuel them. For others, a warm bubble bath or soothing music help them to settle and close off the tap of giving to others. You may need to get out of your headspace, or perhaps even just dance around the room to a cheesy song, or watch a comedy DVD and let the laughter invigorate you again.
Finding what works for you may take a while, but if you can re-fill that well of energy so that it never quite empties; you’ll find yourself much more productive, more able to listen and connected to your own life.
If you want a few more tools for re-filling your well, check out the free resource library for some worksheets on techniques you may find helpful.
I’d especially recommend How to Create Mindful Moments: A brief outline of six short practises to pause the inner chaos, and try out mindfulness in your own home.