Lately I’ve been feeling depleted. At this point in my life I know myself enough to recognize that I need to do certain things in order to feel grounded – things that “fill my cup”, so to speak – and lately I have been participating in exactly zero of those things.
I’ve basically been pouring things out of my cup. I can always tell when I feel off-balance and am not taking care of myself enough because I’m extra low on energy, I don’t sleep right, and I’m short-tempered.
I’ve tried a million things to organize myself and desperately make time for those things that fill my cup: reminders on my phone, a physical day planner, even a giant color-coded calendar stuck to my refrigerator staring me in the face each day. Nothing works.
Instead once I have a minute of “free” time where someone is miraculously not pulling on me or screaming “Mama!” or needing something, I go completely blank. Can’t. Remember. Anything.
I was re-organizing recently and I came across these wooden chips I bought several years ago for a craft project gone wrong. I never used them and instead tossed them into the vortex of my craft closet.
It occurred to me that I could write on them, so I took out a silver marker and wrote some of the things that make me feel grounded. I found a green jar to toss the coins into when I do one of these things. Here’s a sampling of my coins:
An at-home yoga session, connecting with a friend or family member, pitching an article idea, alone time with my daughter, submitting a piece of writing somewhere – these are a few of the things that “fill me up” emotionally.
Instead of trying to schedule specific times to do these things, since that never works out and sets up unrealistic expectations, I would just try to do most of these things at some point within a week whenever I could. Trying is good enough for me.
And each week I hit the “reset” button by taking all the coins out of the jar and starting over. Which is nice, because then no one’s keeping score and if the week prior was a big fat failure then I get to wipe the slate clean like it never happened.
It might seem ridiculous but I swear every time I drop a coin in the jar it feels like I am investing money into an emotional piggy bank. It’s addicting.
I hesitated putting this out there in case it didn’t work for me but I’m going on week 4 now, and I have to say I feel much, much better. I never use all the coins up each week but I come pretty damn close every time, and I like that a list of all of the things that make me feel good are all in one place so I don’t need to think.
Penelope was so curious, and loves playing with my jar. She can’t read yet but she recognizes the words and knows what each of the coins say. I explained to her that this is Mommy’s “sanity glass” and she was confused for a minute because it didn’t have a stem on it. (I’m kidding. Not really.)
But once I fully explained it we took out some paint and made some for her:
She got into it pretty quickly and had a great time painting them. (Note to self: she is also dangerously too close to our couch with tubs of paint.)
Then we talked about the things she loves to do, that make her heart feel happy, and wrote them on her coins. Here are some of those things:
I love how colorful and fun hers came out!
We put them in a favorite container of hers that she decorated with stickers.
I totally recommend doing this, whether for yourself or as a craft to do with your toddler. And since I have a ton of these wooden coins left I am going to give away a set of ten to one reader – just comment on this post, tell me what things you want written on your coins (or if you want blank ones), and leave me your email address. I’ll message you for details and send some emotional coins your way 😉
What fills your cup? What things do you need to do – be it weekly, monthly, or daily – that make you feel a little less insane? I’ll draw the winner at random one week from today!