July 2019: Giving to ourselves first enables us to give more to others

In the hustle and bustle of the busy world we live in, it’s easy to feel time-poor. Many of us juggle partners, children, work, household duties and friendships on a daily basis. Then it’s time for bed and we wake up to do it all over again. Daily events often make us feel that we are on a treadmill and left wondering if we’ll ever get to where we want to go. It’s not uncommon to feel like life is passing us by, with little time to do the fun things which bring us joy. Which leads us to ask the questions…

Does work/life balance truly exist? 

‘State’ is defined as “the particular condition that someone or something is in at a specific time”. Each of us has the power to change our ‘state’, and thus completely alter the direction of our day. And we can change it in an instant… if we know how.

“When we continually give from our cup, our cup runs empty. But when we give to ourselves our cup overflows and we can give from our saucer."

The Art of Extreme Self-Care, Cheryl Richarson Tweet

What do you do to fill your cup on a daily basis?

I recently travelled to the USA for an intensive training in the Life and Wellbeing space. The biggest takeaway for me was to plan to make room for myself through a daily ritual. Not as a one-off, but everyday. That may look different for each of us depending on our routines, time available and passions. But this is my way to fill my cup first, in order to freely give to others later.

Would you call yourself a continual ‘snoozer’? I know I was. It would be nothing for me to hit the snooze button 4 times before getting out of bed. That’s 40 minutes! Despite teaching meditation, I realised the way to fill my cup first would be to meditate in the morning. So, I decided to change my ‘snooze state’.

Snooze 1: When the alarm sounds I plug in my headphones and listen to a guided meditation. I am at rest, still under the doona, but in a conscience, calm, focused state.

Snooze 2: Stating the things I’m grateful for. It usually centres around my children, my health and the amazing people I have in my life.

Snooze 3: Up! Making my bed always was a chore, especially as a kid. But now for me, it symbolises the end of sleep and my room feeling less cluttered, and my day-path clearer.

Snooze 4: I’ve put a couple of songs on a morning playlist that I love as the motivational alarm to get me out of bed. The meditation ‘state’ has replaced the sleepy snooze ‘state’ and has elevated my first waking hour.

You can see by the list above it takes me about 40 minutes, yet before my day properly starts, I have already achieved so much and I’m in optimal peak state. Conducting these rituals daily has brought mindfulness into my day.

In addition, I have my end of day ritual. Before I go to sleep, I write a list of what I need to achieve the next day. I do this for 2 reasons: to have a clear vision, and to de-clutter my mind so I sleep better. I leave the list on my bedside table in case anything pops into my mind I can jot it down to deal with later.

With 1 out of 5 employees suffering some kind of mental un-wellness, we know there is a real economic cost to not addressing it. The cost of mental ill-health in Australia each year is around $4000 per tax-payer, and costs the nation more than $60 billion (Economics of Mental Health in Australia – National Mental Health Commission, 2016). Starting our day by being mindful has so many benefits, including MBSR- Mindfulness-based stress reduction. MBSR reported improvement in personal relationships, in self-confidence, assertiveness and empathy….and a decrease in anxiety.

Think of some of the things that make you feel good and you would like to see more of in your life and create your own daily ritual. Some examples are walking, meditation, breathing exercises, yoga, gym/workout to start your body moving.

If you’re looking for more YOU-time I dare you to try it! Create your own ritual and see how you feel. 

My wish for you is that you start your day in the best possible way.

– Leah Barthel (Twalk Life and Wellbeing Strategist)