We’ve all heard the clichés:
“You can’t pour from an empty cup”, and “You have to put your own oxygen mask on before helping another."
As someone always on the go, I struggled with these concepts early on in my career as a coach and a professional. I wanted to give, give, give. It took me a few years of exhaustion before I really understood what those sayings meant and how crucial it was to help myself, to best help others.
I would never expect my car to run well for thousands of miles on an empty tank and never getting its oil changed, so why did I have such an unrealistic expectation of my own body?
Self-care is NOT selfish — it’s necessary maintenance. If you don’t take the time for yourself, eventually you end up with a machine that no longer functions.
There are massive benefits to our physical and mental wellbeing that show up when we master the art of finding stillness.
- Emotional Cleansing
- Creativity can be tapped
- Increased self-awareness
- Internal Peace
I define mastery of stillness as the ability to lean into today and focus solely on the present. To do so, we must leave the past behind us — and the future for tomorrow. It requires practice and intentionality to achieve this state of mind that allows us to cultivate an appreciation for the now.
You may be wondering how it’s possible to find stillness at a rock concert, but I assure you it is. For me personally, there is nothing more freeing and exhilarating than live music, especially in the front row.
Me. The musicians. The Beat pulsing through my veins.
At a recent show, I found myself completely consumed. Actual tears down my cheek. There were no thoughts of work, responsibility, or to-do lists; just pure unadulterated happiness.
Sometimes it isn’t about finding stillness in silence, but rather finding yourself only in the moment you’re in.
No distractions. No interruptions. Just that moment.
There are many ways we can lean into the present and find clarity.
Here are a few questions for you to consider:
- Is my gas tank on E?
- Do I need to stop and fill up?
- What self-care would be beneficial for me right now?
- How can I create a habit that supports my self-care?
Some of my favorite ways to fill up that you might enjoy too:
- Attend a concert. If you’re a music lover (like me), and enjoy the thrill of a show, get yourself a ticket in the front row for one of your favorite performers. I fully believe in this as a grounding opportunity, as the loud music makes it almost impossible to be anywhere but in the moment. If you can’t attend a concert, blaring music with the windows down while you drive can be a close second.
- Social media fast. In this time of constant movement and connectedness, have you considered the opportunity to limit distractions and be present by simply stepping away from your social feed? Try locking all the apps on your phone for a weekend. (I know, crazy!) Use the time you gain back from scrolling to sit with the reasons we scroll at all. What are we missing from our lives that perpetuates our desire to live within the screen?
- Make something with your hands. Bake something. Pot some plants. Whip out the arts and crafts bin. Attempt a project that requires your entire focus. These activities can be considered a meditation of their own.
- Journal. Step away from your desk midday with a pen and notebook. Write about what you are feeling. This may sound like a cheesy practice, but the results can be revealing. When is the last time you checked in with your emotions or honored your need for healing? Writing is therapeutic.
- Yoga. If you’ve never taken a yoga class, add it to your list. There is something about practicing breath work and body alignment with intention that creates space in our brain and chest for new growth. If you struggle with anxiety, this one could be a game-changer for you!
- Adult sleepover. Spending time with friends always fills my cup. They allow me to release my stress at the door and step in simply as I am. If you haven’t had an adult sleepover before, do it. Rent an Airbnb or stay at someone’s house. Refueling as a group can be incredibly beneficial.
There is no right or wrong way to find stillness, and finding your own version can change your life in a multitude of ways. Remember that just because the world around us is in chaos doesn’t mean we are required to join in. Don’t wait until your tank is empty to stop for fuel.