You know when you are out to dinner and you get that well deserved glass of wine. You hold it in your hands like it is the greatest gift, with both hands around the glass like a hug you so desperately need. You sip, chat and when the waiter or waitress comes around again, you look at the drained glass with just a little hint of liquid left and say, “yes, fill me up.” Easy. You don’t even have to think. The glass empty so you fill it up.
Now why is it so hard to do that for ourselves?
Why can’t we see when we are spent, tired, DRAINED of all liquid? Why can’t we look at ourselves and say, “yes, I’m drained.” And, “yes, I need to fill up.”
It happened to me the other day. I came home from bringing the girls home from school at 11:08 AM. The puppy started barking, the dishes were piled high, the laundry basket was overflowing, and I cried. Yes, I was drained. And, yes, I needed to fill up. It is especially hard coming off weekends that don’t involve too much socialization or interaction. The days become repetitive. Like Groundhog Day, you hit the alarm, make the breakfast, pack the backpacks, fill the water bottles, drive here and there and then do it again. Normally, we do the things to inch toward the fun; to recharge. But recharging or filling your glass is something we have to get creative with, these days in the middle of January, during a pandemic. We have to find ways to “fill up our glass.”
I wanted to get creative in our attempt to fill it up, so I consulted with Dr. Lukin of a family owned business called The Lukin Center for Psychotherapy. Dr. Lukin is the co-founder and director and has extensive clinical and research experience working with clients of all ages and also has three children of his own. We discussed the impact of the pandemic and 5 ways to “fill your cup,” and/or develop coping skills for this trying time.
1. Be in nature.
This one thing I have been doing more since having a puppy and it has helped tremendously. I put on my audible book, usually of self-help and I take that time to smell the fresh air and walk. Dr. Lukin suggests spending time with your family outside the home. It is so easy to get trapped inside, with everyone on their gadgets so he says getting outdoors on a family hike will help fill your cup as well as allow you and your family to fully connect. Bundle up, get outside, be in nature and you will instantly feel better.
2. Create a thought record.
Sometimes we stay in our heads. We become stressed but don’t know how to get out of it. So, it snowballs and creates a downward spiral. Dr. Lukin suggests creating a “thought record.” It is a sophisticated way to journal our feelings. When you are feeling stressed, create three columns. In the first column, write down what are you are doing, or the situation. In the second column, write down your feelings and rate your emotions from 0-100%. The third column should be your thoughts. What was going through your mind as you started to feel this way? This way, you can trigger why you feel stressed and come up with ways to combat it.
3. Pay attention to your basic emotional needs.
Everyone needs to eat, sleep, etc. But what are YOUR basic emotional needs. Is it the fear of being rejected, abandoned, not measuring up? Is it the need for acceptance, to feel important, to feel HEARD and appreciated? Dr. Lukin suggests pinpointing these emotional needs and discussing them out loud with your partner and/or children. Sometimes when these basic emotional needs aren’t met, it can translate into destructive behavior. Figure out what they are so that your needs can be met. This in turn, will give you some good old liquid gold.
4. Connect with your kids.
I liked this one because sometimes we, as parents get so caught up telling our kids to GET OFF YOUR GADGET!!!!!! Dr. Lukin suggests actually joining them in their favorite games as a way to connect to them. I did this in the beginning of the pandemic. I hopped on tiktok and made dances with my girls. I joined them in their current addiction, and I have to say, we had so much fun laughing and connecting. When he said this, I felt it. Yes! Embrace the gadgets, join in the fun, and see the smiles on everyone’s faces. The yelling will stop, and the glass will gain some love. It’s time to be the “imposter.”
5. Pamper yourself.
This one is a no brainer. We all say it, but do we actually do it. Put on a mask, take a long shower, work out longer than usual, light a candle and watch your favorite show. Find ways to make sure you take care of yourself. I believe this is the one that will ensure your cup is filled to the tippy top so that you can take care of everything and everyone else. THIS is the one that saves us. I did a mask this morning and took a longer than usual shower and I already feel 25 percent better than yesterday.
We are in this together. We are learning, growing, and evolving even during a pandemic. We are remembering ourselves. We are taking care of everyone. We are making sure everyone is happy, so it is important to remember to make ourselves happy. What makes us tick? What are our needs? What about rethinking the way we do things? What about turning the narrative inside out. What about remembering, among everything and everyone else that we matter. We need to fill our cup. So, pour me another and clink our glasses no matter how much is in there right now. I promise that one day soon, the wine or water or green juice or foamy beer will be spilling out from the top. Cheers.