Whether you are parenting children, teaching children, or managing a team at work, it’s vital that you know how to fill your own cup. This means keeping your own emotional, physical and mental energy up, otherwise how can you keep filling the cups of those around you?

It also means that you need to know yourself well. Also understand that everybody fills their cup in different ways – you may need to be alone in your ‘cave’ to re-energise (that’s what I have to do), or maybe you need to be with people (I know this is true for my sister), or exercising (I know a lot of these kinds of people), or doing something creative (have you tried adult colouring-in books yet – I love them?). For most of us there are a number of different things that will calm us, help to refocus us, provide us with perspective or replenish us on various levels. And, it is the same with our children too.

Parenting children effectively means you can’t run on empty

You need to know what it is that fills your cup and then get enough of those things so that you are not running on empty. Self-care does not mean you are being selfish. In fact, looking after yourself means you can love and support the people your life more! The air hostesses are not wrong when they tell parents to sort out their own oxygen masks before helping their children!

Of course, when it comes to our special children we all need to be good role models for living life intelligently, with passion and purpose. And one of the secrets lies in filling your own cup.To survive the end-of-year countdown, and especially in this exceptionally hot weather we are having which can be draining all on its own, take a quick look at these essentials to avoid fatigue and beat stress:

Food – make sure you are eating enough energy sustaining food, not junk, and the secret here is to keep your pantry and fridge filled with the right stuff otherwise you will eat the wrong stuff.

Hydration – sufficient water intake is essential and note that the first organ to dehydrate is your brain, hence those feelings of irritability and being ratty with others – have a few more glasses of water – you’ll be nicer to be with

Exercise – happiness hormones and increased oxygen flow to the brain result from exercise and you don’t have to be training for the Comrades Marathon either – regular brisk walking will do it for most of us

Sleep – the more we sleep, the better we cope with stress, but when there is too much on our plates, we usually do the opposite (I sure do)

State of mind – research indicates that stress is a major cause of 90% of all illness. Most people have no idea how to proactively and constructively manage life’s stressors. Not only do we need to deal with our issues (move towards them) but we need to take full responsibility for them (embrace them and the learning and growth they have brought you). Unresolved emotional issues have a way of bubbling over and impacting on our families and work colleagues. Don’t delay, deal with your baggage today.

Make sure the countdown to the end of the year doesn’t become a meltdown. With all the looming deadlines, prize-givings, awards evenings, school concerts, exams, year-end functions and more, put a bit more effort into planning so that you are less reactive. And, most importantly, remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup – fill yours first!

If you and your team need a lift at this time of year to remind you that you are human beings and not just human doings, think about this.”


Learn more about Nikki Bush’s parenting advice.