What really does self-care mean to you? The term can mean many different things and, for some, it can seem to be something we just do not have time for. Others may believe it is selfish and something only a rich, luxurious lifestyle can afford. This metaphor of thinking of self-care like a teapot might just give you a different perspective.
Imagine that you are a teapot and that in our lives, we have “teacups” all around us; people and things in our lives that mean something to us. This could include our careers, families, friends, finances, children, pets, plants, hobbies, etc. When something in our lives means a lot to us, we may automatically pour into it from our own teapot. What we are used to doing may be pouring, pouring, and pouring from our teapot, without regularly filling it back up.
When this happens, it is a perfect opportunity for stress to then fill up our teapot. We are still pouring, but now it is from a place of emotional drainage, frustration, exhaustion, and sometimes even anger and bitterness. If instead, we were to regularly fill up our own teapot with the love, kindness, generosity, time, and attention that we want to pour into others’ teacups, then we can engage with others in the way we want.
If we consider self-care this way, it changes the definition of self-care. We can now view self-care as a selfless and vital act. Something that will serve to nourish our important relationships. Because we must regularly fill up our own teapot to be prepared to pour into others’ teacups, the key is self-care. While massages, hair cuts, pedicures, and traveling are some examples of self-care, they present some financial & practical obstacles that may provide an excuse for us to not engage in self-care regularly.
It can be helpful to make your own teapot activity list that’s mindful of these 5 qualities:
- Activities that are free or inexpensive
- Activities that don’t require another person to do it with you
- Activities that are available & accessible
- Activities that are not overly time consuming
- Activities that are refreshing/enjoyable/something that will serve your future self
If we consider activities with these 5 aspects, it can be useful to ensure we are removing any barriers that might get in the way of us engaging in self-care regularly.
Some examples might be taking a quick stroll in your favorite park, listening to your favorite song, allowing yourself to enjoy a nice cup of coffee or tea, taking a walk on your lunch break, doing those dishes you don’t want to do right now to take care of your future self, or even just doing something silly that is fun to you.
Self-care does not have to look the same for everyone. What matters the most is having the intention to care for yourself, and doing what serves you best.
How can you fill up your teapot today?