When Your Cup Overflows..

WAGSofSCIWAGSofSCI ModeratorPosts: 301Moderator Moderator
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Hi All - Brooke here! <3

My mom always uses the analogy of a cup full of water when it comes to discussing life's stressors as whole for any given period of time. When you have a lot to deal with with as a caregiver to someone with a spinal cord injury, your cup is at the "almost full" point a lot of the time. Whether it is doing the day to day caregiving, errands, appointments, work, household chores, cooking, looking after the pets, and taking time for self care, my days are super full from beginning to end. My cup is almost at the fill line daily, and I dont have much room for other stressors to come in normally. That all being said, Ive learned to successfully manage my life day by day by keeping the outside stressors to a minimum to ensure I get all I need to get done, without impacting me negatively. What does this mean to me?  It means I know my body and mind, and I know when I am doing too much. Its such a delicate balance and this usually means the littlest additional stress can push the water over the edge of my cup into overflow very easily...

For me, keeping my own personal balance could mean going to bed at 7 one night, or sleeping in from time to time. It can also mean cancelling plans with friends, cancelling appointments that can wait, or just staying in the house for a day to relax. It means not beating myself up mentally about the things I "could" have done during the day that I did not do in favour of my own health and sanity. Its a constant mind game trying to silence your inner critic from pushing you to go go go in favour of equilibrium. 

But what happens when something happens unexpectedly? It could be something to do with SCI, but it could also be something else like a financial hardship, unexpected payment, family troubles... friend issues..moving... travelling.. even if its not negative... anything that causes stress to the mind and body. When this happens, I find that my cup overflows way sooner than anyone else's would.. and It affects me so hard physically and mentally... more than most mid 30s women I think...

I find in general with caregiving - that this life is all about balancing what works for YOU to avoid your cup overflowing. When it does, its all about fighting with your brain to stop making you feel bad about not accomplishing a lot during the day to help repair your mind and body. The fact is you HAVE to slow down in order to allow more peace into your life.. if you're going going going all the time and not stopping to smell the candles and incense in your bedroom while relaxing, how will you ever make room for the GOOD things in life? 

I find my friends sometimes do not understand - when I cancel plans, or say I just cant do something anymore, they find it odd.. they tell me im a recluse lol or they think I just dont want to be their friend anymore. But the fact is that I have been given an opportunity to deal with all this stuff in my head in order to be a better human in general. Lots of people I know do not pay attention to their "cups" and have them overflowing a lot of the time. This brings in disease and unhappiness. who wants to live a life full of stress? not me.. I want to have the mental capacity to deal with these stressors that WILL and DO come in to everyone 's life at certain points without being a wreck. 

Handling life's stressors means allowing space in your life to feel peace, love and happiness so that when you do have days that are more stressful, you can handle it better.. even if that means you need more space than others.

- Brooke 
Your WAGS of SCI
(Elena and Brooke)

Comments

  • JHPRCJHPRC Information Specialist Posts: 25Moderator, Information Specialist Information Specialist
    10 Comments Name Dropper Photogenic
    As a mom of two young children this post really resonated with me in may ways esp. trying to prevent your cup from overflowing. It is such a delicate balance and no matter your situation self care is so so important. Thank you for posting this ! 
  • WAGSofSCIWAGSofSCI Moderator Posts: 301Moderator Moderator
    100 Likes 100 Comments 25 Awesomes First Answer
    @JHPRC
    Thanks for your comment. What are your secrets for maintaining your own personal balance?? - Brooke
    Your WAGS of SCI
    (Elena and Brooke)
  • JHPRCJHPRC Information Specialist Posts: 25Moderator, Information Specialist Information Specialist
    10 Comments Name Dropper Photogenic
    I always try to carve out a little "me" time every day to something I enjoy whether reading watching a tv show or just resting my eyes for a moment or even going to Target who doesn't love that place haha even if it is just for 30min to a hour or a quick errand it makes a huge difference for me.  Life is a lot to juggle and full of so much pressure. Practicing self-care has really helped me maintain some balance. 
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