In my department we often talk about our emotional tanks–what fills them and what drains them. We teach (and actually some days it’s more akin to preaching) that we all need to fill our tanks faster than they drain. I can say it, but living it isn’t always the reality I’d like it to be.
My tanks drain easily. I know the large valve to drain the tanks is due to a diminished reserve. Illness and and injury have plagued me for the last few years. They’ve taken a toll.
My tanks are also drained by the things that fill me. I love being around people, but too many people in too short a time span leaves me smiling and exhausted. Writing gives me a great sense of expression and fulfillment, but it’s work no matter how enjoyable it is.
For years I’ve struggled to learn how to refill my tanks and refuel my emotions when the energy-giving actions and activities are beyond my financial and geographic grasp. Colorado is unfailingly landlocked; time at the beach is not an option. Horseback riding is incredibly expensive. Those have always been my two major ways to refuel.
I’m learning new things about myself and how to fill my tanks. I’m learning the importance of regular sleep, of reading for fun, of creating–be it in the kitchen, at my sewing machine, or with paper and ink. I’m learning that as much as I hate sweating, exercise clears my mind. I’m learning time one on one with a friend–even via skype–does wonders for my soul. I’m relearning the importance of journaling.
My tanks empty quickly, but I’m learning I can refill them. It takes intentionality.
How do you care for yourself?
photo courtesy of greyman at rgbstock.com