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How to recharge my batteries and fill in my buckets

This article is a continuation of "The importance of self care… What and why?”


As we have seen, we have three (imaginary) #buckets inside us, and we pour from them every day in different ways. So it's vital to refill these buckets to prevent them from emptying completely, or even being in debt! Here's how to refill our buckets to recharge your batteries.


How can we recharge when  when our buckets are empty?

It's always easier and quicker to fill a bucket that's almost full. But even if your bucket(s) are in debt, you can still fill them up. It'll just take a little more time and self care before they get full again.  


Warning #1 – When your bucket have been empty for a while and you start to fill them up, you may experience a sudden surge of energy. Like a new breath of of life. This sometimes happens when you go back to 0% or 10%. When you are being so accustomed to operating #withoutlove, energy or power/control, having a little becomes #extraordinary. But you are invincible! You have to try to preserve what you've acquired and continue to fill your bucket. It is your duty to yourself to protect the contents of your buckets!


Warning #2 - These are general advices. If you have #trauma, a feeling of not being #worthy , not being #lovable, etc, chances are you'll discredit some (or most) of the advice because it contradicts your #convictions and #beliefs about yourself. The same goes for people who believe they have no right to say no or who are #peoplepleasers. If this is your case, I encourage you to talk about it with your #therapist or to book appointment in #therapy to help you see more clearly and revisit these #beliefs about yourself.


Warning #3 - Does your bucket have a lid?

It difficult to fill your buckets if they're closed. Often, a bucket will have a lid if you've already tried to fill it (by asking for #love, expressing your #needs, asking for time alone) but your #needs #wants and #desire ahve been repeatedly invalidated. You've learned that you are a #giver, but you don't have the right right to be a #receiver. If this is the case for you, I invite you to consider work with a #mentalhealth professional!



Filling the love bucket

Filling a love bucket is done from the inside (within), not from the outside. What I mean is, you are the person who has to love yourself the most. It's self-love we're talking about here. (This may be your first block. Loving myself? How can I do that? It requires therapeutic work, and it is doable, I promise.) You can also receive love from other, which is always nice and to do so, your love buckets has to be able of receiving that love (don't have a lid on your bucket).


Technique 1: Watch the way you talk (about yourself). 

When you talk about yourself, use positive words. I know that the voice in your head already has a register of words that don't make you look good. And I also know that you once believed, and perhaps still believe, that this voice is the #truth, that it's #right. This voice has simply been programmed by a lot of #repetitions. The more you you say negative things about #yourself, the more the voice will repeat them. So when words pop into your head, or even if you say them, as soon as you realize it, pull yourself together. Ex: "I should have known it was going to rain today, I'm so stupid!” become "Oh no, I didn't think it was going to rain today, I guess I won't walk back home." Same situation, but one example puts you down, the other that finds a solution to the problem. Speaking positively also means avoiding the use of "don't". I'm not capable" could then become "I will try".


Technique 2: Self compassion

You may have made a #mistake, but that doesn't mean you're incapable. You're learning and you have the right to make #mistakes.  You may be late for an appointment, but that doesn't make you're disorganized. The aim is not to make you #blame yourself or anyone else. The goal is to be more #kind and #gentle with yourself. There's no such thing as #perfection, so why are you holding yourself to those unachievable standards? Maybe you're imposing it on yourself, or maybe you've learned that you have to be perfect in order to someone else's love. In any case, you have the right to start being less demanding of yourself and show more #compassion. You're have the right to make mistakes, just like everyone else! And we all have the right to learn from those mistakes. By learning from our mistakes, they become become #learnings. By learning, you become a #student, and you become #wiser.


Energy bucket

Yes, you have to use energy to be able to create it. So we have to use it wisely when it feels like our energy is running out.  


Technique 1: Acknowledge and celebrate

When you do something, however small it could be, take a moment to recognize what you've just done and give yourself permission to congratulate yourself. Yes, the old pat on the back. I can hear you! Yes, you can congratulate yourself for getting out of bed or taking a shower if that was hard to do. You can also congratulate yourself when you finished a big project you've been worked on for several hours or days. Take the time to recognize where you spendyour energy and seeing the results of it. It can not only give you a boost of esteem and pride (love bucket), but will also help you se that you haven't waste energy in vain. And it might even make you want to do it all over again! Using the #car analogy from the previous article, it's really an effort to go out of your way and fill in the car tank, but it's a lot less painful than having to be towed 80 kilometers away because you didn't want to make the effort to take the next exit.


Technique 2: Having #fun  

Having fun, alone or with friends helps you recharge your batteries. Fun means taking a walk , play a board or card game, listen to a comedy show (not to relax, but to laugh), watching an improvisation, being part of a group of people who like to laugh, a good, refreshing conversation with an person you like, etc. Fun helps you to relieve stress. It also allows you to enjoy and appreciate life while filling your bucket.


Technique 3: The #arts and #creativity

I'm not talking about masterpieces! I'm talking about anything that's the least bit artistic. Cooking if you like it (not because you have to feed the kids), play #music for fun, #painting (by number), #drawing (by number), diamond painting, #coloring a #mandala or simply #drawing a multitude of shapes for no specific reason. #Listen to or #compose music or do #sculpture or #pottery. Play with modeling clay or #draw a picture you've printed. The important thing is not that it's beautiful. The arts stimulate the right hemisphere of your brain, and therefore allows your left hemisphere (mainly in charge of #planning, #strategy, #organization etc.) to rest.


Technique 4: Nature

Whether it's going by the #water or into the water (it doesn't matter if it's the beach by the ocean or in your bath), to take a #walk in the #forest or sit on a rock, have a #campfire or enjoy the #heat of the #sun on your skin (be careful of sunburn), or admire the view, nature allows you to recharge your batteries. Of course you can, spending two hours in the forest listening to a podcast or replying to your work e-mails won't help. When you go into nature to #rechargeyourbatteries you want to immerse yourself in nature and be in the #present moment (#mindfulness) as much as possible.


Technique 5: #Spirituality

Whether it's silence, meditation, yoga or prayer, spirituality implies being in union with ourselves and the #universe around you: to #connect with our #mind #body and #soul. Let go of everything to better find yourself. There are chances your mind will start to think about everything and anything or to ruminate or spiral. This is quite normal. In this case, you may notice the #thoughts (the thought of grocery shopping list, having to go to work, getting ready for the next vacations) without getting caught up in them. Eventually, your mind  will quiet down. It is

when you're bored that you start to recharge your batteries.


Power/control reservoir.

It's all about having control over our lives. To fill it, we need a feeling (ideally #actual rather than #perceived) of having a say in our own life, of having the right to make #choices and #decisions.


Technique 1: Asserting yourself

Step 1 - Recognize and name

Make a list of the areas in where you feel you don't have enough power/control. You can name specific situations. "At work", for example, it's a very broad situation. But, for example, "At work, when colleague A comes to talk to me and stays in my doorway for 45 minutes, when I've got work to do” allows you to really put your finger on a problematic situation for you.

Step 2 - Assert yourself

Find polite and respectful ways of informing colleague A that you don't have as much time to #sacrifice in your day or that you're busy, that it's not a good time for you. Use "I" statements.  By recognizing and naming your boundaries, you regain power over your life.


Technique 2: Broken disk

Once you've set your boundaries, if the other person doesn't respect them, instead of justifying, arguing, defend yourself, or explain yourself (JADE), you can simply use the technique of the broken disk. This means repeating the same sentence, almost word for word, over and over again. For example "I've got work to do, I don't have the time to talk. I'll talk to you later". It sounds robotic and fake, and it works!


Technique 3: Make as many decisions as possible

Even if it seems trivial, making decisions will give you practice and show you that you have the right and the ability to make decisions. What do you want for dinner? Which restaurant do you want to go for your birthday? Would you prefer to meet in the morning or the afternoon? Often, the default answer will be "I don't know”. But, what do you want, really? By getting into the habit of really asking yourself the question "what do I want/prefer?" you open yourself up to the world of of choice.


Technique 4: Adapt your vocabulary

If you tend to say: "I must" and "I have to" in almost every sentence, you're giving your power away to who-knows-who. The choice is yours. Use a language that recognizes your #right to have #choices.  "I have to go to work”. Really? You don't have to go to work. Plenty of people don't go to #work. You choose to go to work because you want the benefits of work or because you don't want the consequences of not working. In both cases, you choose to go to work or not. It's the same with #householdchores, and even #childcare. You don't have to be a good parent. Many parents have chosen not to respond adequately to the #needs of their #children. You choose to be a good parent because you want the benefits (both for you and your child) and/or you want to avoid the #consequences of being a bad parent. So instead of saying "I must" or "I have to", try saying "I choose", "I want’, "I prefer". You'll see that life will be less burdensome and therefore more pleasant.


Here's an image to remind you of what you just read. Don’t we say an image is worth 1000 words?


Taking care of yourself requires constant work. You are the most important person in your life. If you don't take care of yourself no one can do it for you. If you let your buckets run dry, too dry for too long, you'll be the one needing #sickleave and being too #overwhelmed. But there's no sick leave for life, family and household chores. The longer you you wait, the harder it's going to be. It's never too late to start start #takingcare of yourself and making sure you're the #best #version of yourself. For the people you love. But most of all, for yourself!

Jessica Bastonnais MSW RSW , MSS TS



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