There is a special person in my life that constantly takes the time to listen to others and bring peace and serenity to them. She has been through many journeys lately, some have brought immense joy and some have turned her life upside down. Often she says that she knows how to “hold space” for others but not herself. That struck me as a powerful concept.
How often have you felt like you can offer empathy and compassion whilst listening to others but are lacking to provide this for yourself when you need it? Do you listen to your mind and body when it’s telling you that you need to “hold space” for yourself?
“Never give from the depths of your well, but from your overflow” - Rumi
In other words, you will be more able to assist others as a listener and/or a caregiver if you first take care of your own needs. When you do this you can manifest what you would like to give out to the world and cultivate this, so you plant the seed to help others and yourself in the process.
How to know when to give yourself a time out
It’s often straight-forward to recognize when others need to take a time-out for themselves, but not as clear to recognize your own “time out needed” signs. You may feel exhausted and surprised you didn’t recognize what you needed because you’ve been so focused on the people around you. This is common. As a listener or caregiver, you are able to suggest to your mentees when they should think about taking a break, but can you do the same for you? You are not alone in finding it challenging to take time out!
As a 7 Cups listener or caregiver, you are valued and you are worthy just the same as the people that you care for on 7 Cups. You can help even more members if you remember to take some time for you. Below, you’ll find some ideas to help you begin your self-care journey and find more self-compassion.
1. Practice basic self-care needs
Check in with yourself, how is your sleep routine? Do you often find yourself struggling to get to sleep or to stay asleep? Could it be perhaps that you need to look after yourself more? What is your diet like? Do you exercise? Sometimes it is tough finding the time but even just a 10-minute walk can make a big difference.
2. Recognize your own emotions
Sometimes our emotions can become so intertwined with the people that we are helping that we struggle to see what emotions are theirs and which are our own. This makes it hard to see when we need to take time for ourselves! Journaling is an effective way to identify and process your emotions. As a listener, you have a lot of empathy for others, but it’s also important that you take time to process your own feelings.
3. Time for yourself
What makes you feel refreshed? Make a list of 10 things that make you feel more balanced and you can use those in times when you feel like you need to take a break. Make a scheduled time each day or week that is just for you. It’s not always realistic to take long periods of time away, but taking these small steps can ensure that you offer your best self to help others.
4. Recognize the signs of feeling exhausted and/or stress
According to HelpGuide.org (2018), exhaustion can creep up on us. Suddenly we might find ourselves waking up tired, we may feel resentful at times or find that we feel anxious, depressed or irritable. Taking proactive steps to take care of yourself will lessen the chances of getting to that exhausted state. If you find yourself there, you’ll know it’s time for a time out.
5. Focus on your own goals and do not forget yourself in the process
What would you like to achieve in your own personal life? Set goals and focus on achieving those. Often when we help others we forget our own needs so it’s important we check-in with ourselves and ask if we are meeting our own needs. If we find that we are not, it’s time that we refocused and added some more balance to our busy lives caring for others!
Never feel guilty for taking time for yourself, after all, you can not pour from an empty cup…so take time to refill those cups!