You Cannot Pour from an Empty Pitcher: 3 Quick Ways to Recharge and Refresh When You’re Worn Down & Worn Out.

You cannot pour from an empty pitcher.

And especially at this time of year, I know that’s what you’re trying to do.

I don’t know where it comes from.

Maybe it comes with training through the ages of what we’re “supposed” to do.

Maybe it comes with being fueled by estrogen. ;)

Maybe it comes with the simple fact that we love people – so much.

We care.

But whatever the reason, most women I know have a powerful, abiding, consistent, can’t-hardly-help-themselves tendency to give and give and give and give and….

Well, Give.

Until there’s just nothing left.

Until they are worn down and worn out.

Used up, dried up.

Worn down to a nub.

And then — they get sick.

People who cannot find time for recreation,
are obliged sooner or later to find time for illness.”

– John Wanamaker

Last week, I had no less than three cancellations from women who were home with illness, the kind that zapped them completely. One mom was in bed with a temp of 102 for 2 or 3 days in a row. Another missed a full week of work. Another apologized like crazy when she forgot an appointment while home taking care of two really-sick kids at once. By herself.

Here’s a simple truth, Courageous Women.

If you don’t take care of yourself, sooner or later your body, or your circumstances, will force you to do so.

You ARE Courageous. You are NOT invincible.

And the simple fact is, you will do no one any good at all if you’re worn to the bone yourself.

I know there are groceries to buy, gifts to wrap, events to attend. I know there are people all around you – big people and little people, loud ones and quiet ones, demanding ones and sweet ones – who need you. And I know you want to be there for them – because that’s just who you are.

Or who you think you have to be. :)

But stop.

Just for a moment.

You must find ways, little ways, to nurture your spirit in the middle of it all, or you won’t last.

You must find ways to rest, replenish, renew, revive, restock & restore your Self, body, mind and spirit…. if only so you can be there for others the way you want to be.

You must care for the caretaker.

Don’t know how? Can’t find the time?

Here’s a few ideas to get you started.

Wake Up (just a little) Earlier.

Set your alarm to get up just a few minutes before everyone else in the house. Tuck your tootsies into slippers and grab a cup of your favorite morning beverage. (For me that means a fresh, hot cup of black, 8 O’Clock Original coffee. Mmmm mmmm good.)

Go find a place in your house where you can curl up, sit quietly and have something lovely to look at. That might be your lit-up Christmas tree, a window to the sunrise, or just your favorite nook in the cleanest part of your house. Sit there for 10 minutes – JUST 10 MINUTES – and gaze. Breathe. Enjoy your drink. Let your thoughts go where they will. Do absolutely Nothing.

Then draw in one good, long, full, deep breath. Breathe in the quietness, the calm. Hold it in your body for just a moment, then let it go- slowly, easily, completely.

Now, sit up straight, have a good head to toe stretch, and move on into your day.

Sneak in a (mini) Nap.

Isn’t that just a lovely idea? I know you’re running around like crazy, finishing your holiday shopping, going to Christmas parties, running your kids from lessons to games to who knows what.

But have you ever seen a cat curl up in a puddle of sun by a window?

That’s how I feel sometimes when the warm sun hits my cold car in the winter. So try this.

Carry a light throw and a travel pillow in the trunk of your car (or even in the back seat.) When you drop off the kids, or carry the packages back to your car – take an extra 10 minutes. Pull out that pillow, lean your seat back, and grab a 10 minute snoozer right there in your car. Just 10 minutes can make all the difference in how you feel before diving in to your next round of activities.

No one has to know. It can be your little Secret. :) Although, it looks like the Nap is an idea whose time as come. Click here to see what I mean.

Finish (the Day) Well.

It’s been a really long day, but somehow you made it. You got through supper, wrapped three more packages, managed to get the kids through their homework and into bed. The dog’s been out, the dishes are done, and the coffee (or tea pot) is set for tomorrow morning. You’re exhausted, and your bed is calling your name.

Shouting it, actually. :)

But, you think, maybe you’ll take a just a minute to relax a little before light’s out.

That’s great – but don’t turn on the TV.

Don’t check your email.

Don’t TOUCH your phone.

Don’t post a status update on Facebook.

Don’t do any of that.

Instead, brush your teeth. Wash your face. Brush your hair. Put on a little lotion and your favorite comfy jammies. Light a small candle by your bed (or by that favorite nook you enjoyed this morning). Then pull out one of two little luxuries to help you end the day with serenity.

Read something beautiful. This isn’t the time for the newspaper, or even your favorite spy novel. Instead, pick up a book of poetry, a devotion, a book of meditations, prayers or essays. Some children’s books are works of art; keep a few favorites by your bed and let yourself enjoy one of them. Read a few words, gaze at beautiful illustrations.


Pick up a journal or favorite blank book and a pen you love. Spend a few minutes writing, drawing or doodling whatever you want. Play with color. Dream. Vent about the day’s frustrations if you want. Let whatever comes to mind land on the paper without judgment. Don’t go back and read it. When you feel like you’re done, just close the book and put it away.

Watch that flickering flame in the candle for a moment, then take another long deep breath, release whatever the day has brought, and turn out the light.

There. These 3 simple ideas can make all the difference in the world in how you feel at the end of the day. Think of them as little windbreaks in an otherwise blustery and overwhelming day, small moments of peace that you claim for your Self in the midst of caring for so many others. Totally do-able. Totally within your control.

Simple. Sweet. Sustaining.

Got other ideas? By all means, share them here. Let’s learn from each other.



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