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Pouring from an empty cup

Life is all about balance. We’re constantly shifting our weight between our various roles and responsibilities, trying to give the appropriate attention to each. We live hectic, multi-faceted lives, and when you throw a chronic medical condition in the mix—well, achieving that balance is all the more crucial.

Because I work from home, it’s a bit of a challenge for me to strike a balance between “work” and “life”; being a full-time student (and a full-time lymphie!) only adds to the load. I’m constantly sitting at my desk, staring at my screen with a cup of coffee nearby, well into the wee hours of the morning—and I’m tired. My neck hurts, my back aches, and my lymphie leg is cramping from sitting; because I’m so out-of-sorts, the quality of my work sometimes suffers along with me.

Truth is, when you’re run-down, burnt-out, or stretched too thin, it’s harder to prioritize yourself and your needs. We may feel as though we’re balanced because we’re meeting our deadlines or following through with plans, but are we eschewing our own self-care and well-being in order to achieve that?

Coffee and stress are not enough to sustain you, and you can’t do good work or be present for others if you’re drained and empty.

If you don’t pause and give yourself a break, you are going to break. I’ve experienced this myself so many times: I get so used to running, running, running that I think it’s my norm to be a little tired and frazzled. I think it’s my norm, that is, until I inevitably crash. Hard. It’s not healthy to operate in that way—I can’t be my best self if I’m constantly on the brink of exhaustion! Come to think of it, I don’t know many people who can.

I’m trying to change this by taking the time to make the time for my self-care. I’m mindful of getting enough sleep, of being consistent with my lymphedema treatment, and of working through my stresses rather than being consumed by them. My time management is improving, slowly but surely: there are still all-nighters, but they aren’t as draining now that they’re less frequent. Like most things in life, it’s about progress, not perfection.

You can’t pour from an empty cup, so listen to your body. Check on your cup. Do you need a refill?

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How do you fill your cup? How do you know when you need a refill?

8 comments on “Pouring from an empty cup

  1. bob Mathews

    Good comments Alexa, thanks for putting it into words. I occasionally choose to stay in bed an extra hour, rather than get going with the day, and I believe it really helps.

    • Hi, Bob,
      I’m glad this post resonated with you! And I totally agree: I find that a slower morning helps, too. Sometimes I set my alarm a little early just so I can have that extra time to calibrate myself and ease into the day.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Be well,
      Alexa

  2. Karl E Franz

    Thank you. This is all new to me. Just had a full knee replacement in June finally getting back. Live in a rural area so its slow.But thanks Alexa!

    • Hi, Karl,
      Wow—a full knee replacement sounds like a lot to recover from!! Here’s to your continued health and healing, and to being gentle with yourself along the way.

      Best of luck and Stay Elevated!

      -Alexa

  3. Trece Wyman

    Thank you so much for this. I know I’ve heard it before but, for some reason, it is sinking in today. We also need to make noise about those of us in rural areas, or morbidly obese, who need lymphie therapists who make home visits. Our voices count, too!

    • Hi, Trece,
      You’re so right: we need to raise awareness for those who don’t have access to care. Regular treatment is so crucial to managing symptoms, yet it remains alarmingly out of reach for countless patients, thus worsening their prognoses and quality of life. It’s a heartbreaking reality that needs to change.

      In the meantime, there’s an active online lymphedema community that offers support and solidarity amongst patients and therapists alike across the globe. If you haven’t already, I highly support you in exploring it a bit. If you’re on Facebook, there are a number of closed, private groups specifically for lymphies to connect, ask questions, get support, etc. They’re great, too, for finding local resources! Here are few to start with:
      -Lymphedema Lifeline Foundation – https://www.facebook.com/groups/LymphedemaLifline.org/
      -Lymphedema – https://www.facebook.com/groups/lymphedema/
      -Lymphedema Support, Awareness – https://www.facebook.com/groups/2224638534/

      Also check out this post on resources for finding a therapist: https://thelymphielife.com/2016/03/05/world-lymphedema-day-series-finding-a-therapist/

      Hope those help, and if you know of any resources for patients in rural areas or those in need of home visits, please let me know so I can update my resource list and “make noise” along with you! :)

      Be well & Stay Elevated,
      Alexa

  4. Many thanks for the interesting post, I think it will come in handy to me.

  5. Pingback: World Health Day 2017: Reflections on life with depression and lymphedema – The Lymphie Life

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