What fills you up?

I’m currently at a conference in the USA and despite having jet lag, dealing with health flare ups and having a super packed schedule – I’m enjoying it, and I feel like the time I am spending here is filling me up. It got me thinking about the different ways and parts of our lives where we can nourish and fill ourselves up, and why it’s important to do so.

I think of this in a very literal way. For me, I think of having an internal battery, the more charged up my battery is, the more able I am to take part in and most importantly, enjoy what I am doing in my day to day life. This is why, for me, it is vital to focus on the things that nourish, nurture and fill me up. This analogy also makes it a bit easier to get some perspective on the rare occasions that thoughts like ‘I shouldn’t have time off’ or ‘I can’t afford to go to yoga this week’ – would I expect my car to take me to work without any fuel? No. Would I expect my laptop to run without any charge? No.

There are lots of different ways we can fill ourselves up and recharge our batteries, and what works for one person might seem like the most draining thing for someone else. We might also sometimes surprise ourselves when we come across something new that fills us up. There are of course the traditional self-care activities which can help us with our energy levels, motivation and general functioning – getting good sleep, eating good food an exercising regularly. But sometimes, there is a bit of a paradox. Sometimes, going out for dinner with a good friend and staying out later than normal might be just what you need for charging yourself up. In terms of food, I’ve long been an advocate of what is most nourishing may not be the healthiest. Sometimes a good take away can nurture you as much as a fresh salad, especially if getting take out is the only way you’ll eat during a stressful period. Ruby Tandoh’s new book ‘Eat Up’ talks about this beautifully –  how the emotional state we are in when we eat impacts nourishment and backs it up with some great scientific evidence. It’s the intention behind what we do that most often impacts the outcome.

For me personally, I have spent a lot of time over the last few years trying to focus on the things that fill me up and nurture me. A small number of examples are what you would probably typically expect to ‘fill you up’ and include yoga, meditation, massage, early nights and long baths. But there are other activities that fill me up too that require a bit of energy – brisk walks, wild swimming, travelling, horse riding, organising events and as I have discovered this week – attending conferences! Though these things might require the expenditure of physical energy, they do so much for me on an emotional and mental level.

So how do we figure out what fills us up? Follow joy – follow the things that feel really, really good – for your mind and body. And don’t worry about what other people might think of you. You are in charge of your internal battery, you are the one that has to function on whatever energy you have – so forget about the opinions of others and focus on yourself.

The amazing thing about focussing on what fills you up and what charges your battery is that without even trying, you start to become much more aware of the things that do the opposite – the things that drain you. Maybe it’s an extra job you’ve taken on, a project you’ve got involved with, a relationship/friendship that isn’t healthy or a work environment situation that is stressful. And when you begin to remove those aspects of your life that drain you, you open up much more space and freedom to do the things that do the opposite – fill you up.

I invite you to spend a few moments thinking about the things that make you happy, whether they are something small (like a brief meditation, wearing your favourite outfit, eating your favourite meal) or something bigger (enrolling on a course, travelling or volunteering) and try to bring them into your life a little at a time.

Until next time 🙂

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