Supporting the Mental Health of South African NPO's


NPOwer Support Helpline - 0800 515 515

fill your cup


"You cannot pour from an empty cup"

When life, or work, becomes too busy, we can often forget to take care of ourselves – we continue to help others around us, despite sometimes feeling a little low or even burnt out. This is especially true when you work in the non-profit sector. We want to help people and be there for my friends and family when they need us, but there is only a finite amount of hours within one day and you are only one person trying to keep, what seems like, everything and everyone together.

When our cups are empty, you may feel depleted, overwhelmed and even guilty for feeling like you cannot help everyone all the time. You may feel emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted. So, what does ‘’Filling your cup’’ actually mean? How can you fill your cup when your work and life are exceptionally busy?
To fill your cup means to replenish mental, emotional, and physical stores of ‘’energy’’. It means that you need to stop and recharge yourself so that you can carry on to do the things that give you joy.

Filling Your Cup is Creating White Space: White space refers to the places in your life or in your day where you pause. It’s the empty spot on your calendar. It’s the spot that you take your “me time.” White space is the time in your day that’s dedicated to filling our cup. Like the metaphor it calls to mind, it’s blank time that you can choose to do whatever you want with for you. This is not an empty time period to schedule one more obligation or appointment. Your white space is an appointment – with you, from you, and for you.

Stopping to Fill Your Cup is Self-Care: Filling your cup is self-care. There are many ways to care for yourself. It’s not all bubble baths and candles. Hobbies are a great way to practice self-care, or you can write or journal, sip tea or watch the sunset (or sunrise). Enjoy a walk or spend some time being outside. There are many, many ways to fill your cup, and you may do something different every time. You are one person and can only do so much. You are not responsible for the world. It may feel like it, but you are not. That’s why it’s so hard to fill our cups. Stopping in today’s busy world is incredibly hard. But – it can be done. Sometimes you just need a break and a stress-free day.

Practical Self-Care Ideas to Fill Your Cup:

- Do a hobby that you love, or try a new hobby
- Go for a walk or go hiking
- Call a friend
- Read for pleasure
- Watch TV
- Draw or paint
- Sit outside or do an outside activity like fishing or gardening
- Do Yoga
- Try a restaurant you have never tried before
- Take a bath or shower
- Put on makeup, even if you plan to stay home
- Play a card game
- Plan a camping trip
- Take a bike ride
- Take a nap, sleep in
- Cook a nice meal
- Learn Something New

Support Group Insights:

Things that helped our Mental Health in the past year

- Engaging with positivity: Doing things that make us feel good - be it positive news, a feel good movie or an inspirational video
- Making social connection: Spending time with friends who make you feel good. Spending time with those who fill your cup
- Alone time: Spending time with yourself
- Animal Therapy: Spending time with animals
- Feeling good about victories: Celebrating the small things and the big things
- Silent mind activities: Do things you find therapeutic around the house like folding the laundry or washing the dishes. Be mindful when you do these things
- Being outside: Engage with nature and experiencing natural elements
- R&R: Taking Long luxurious baths or doing your nails
- Meditation
- Get active: Exercise - hiking, walking group, gym
- Create something: Starting a project that has nothing to do with anything that is causing you stress or anxiety
- Giving to others: Charity/heart work that fills your cup (Outside of your normal giving)
- Recharge: Remove yourself from the 'bubble' that is draining you. Remove yourself from the noise around you.
- Listen to music: Engage with something artistic that speaks to your soul

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