I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot. The last couple of weeks have been really hard. I’m tired (it’s that time of the year, end of 2nd quarter, dark & short days of winter) and feeling over committed. The deadlines and schedules mean the to-do lists are never ending. I’ve been teetering on the balance between working and caring for myself. But recently I’ve had a couple of personal challenges that tipped the scale to reveal just how little I was doing to feed my own soul and care for me. I’ve had some really great conversations with colleagues who offered some great advice that has helped me get things back in balance. It’s been hard, but really necessary and I wanted to talk about it. Too often we see just the good in what people are doing, and the struggles are hidden from view. I’m all about transparency here.
First – the idea that we have to care for ourselves first before we can care for others is so true and so often neglected. We must make sure that we have enough in our tank to help others. If we just deplete to the point of exhaustion, sickness and frustration, we aren’t able to be the force for change that we hope to be for others.
I’m incredibly guilty of this – and a great friend reminded me this week. I’m going to do better, and that brings me to my next point.
Second – what fills your bucket? Educators know about bucket filling – if you don’t, click here. In order to take care of yourself you have to figure out what your bucket fillers are AND make time for them. I know mine are time with friends, creative projects, quiet time for reading and creating, and a few more. This weekend I made time for some of my favorites. I realized I haven’t read for pleasure in a while. Everything has had a purpose and a timeline – book club deadlines, professional learning, blogs, etc. These books have brought a lot to my professional practice and my have filled my bucket a little, but the truth is, it wasn’t enough. This weekend I curled up with a good book – and read the whole novel! I didn’t let anyone interrupt me or distract me.
Third – set boundaries. I’m terrible at this, but trying to be better. I am learning constantly on twitter, in small chunks of time, but those add up. Instead I could be focusing on the family time around me, on things that fill my bucket. It’s a small start, but I took some time away from emails and social media this weekend. I don’t know what I missed, but I know that it will all come back around if it’s really important. It’s ok.
Here it is, Sunday afternoon and while I’ve thought of this blog post, I didn’t get my hands on the keyboard till mid-afternoon. I was able to disconnect, spend time with family and friends and unwind and, most importantly, recharge this weekend.
What do you do to recharge and fill your bucket?