Most of us are familiar with the phrase, “you can’t pour from an empty cup”. And it’s SO true. When we’re exhausted and our energy is depleted, it’s extremely difficult to serve others as well as take care of ourselves when we’re pouring from the very last drops of our cup. We’ll all have experienced this at some point in our lives so let’s look at how to fill your cup

how to fill your cup

It’s common knowledge these days how important self care is and how we can’t take care of others if we’re not taking care of ourselves. The practice of putting ourselves first more often is becoming much more accepted and I don’t know about you but I am here for it.

Related read: 4 Categories of Wellness and Why They’re Important

Putting your own physical, mental, spiritual and emotional needs first is not selfish. In fact, it’s highly UN-SELFISH in the long run when by doing so, we’re much more equipped to deal with everything life throws at us, which includes being able to help thy neighbor.

How do you know when you need to fill your cup?

I think intuitively, we all know when we need to fill our cup. But sometimes life gets SO busy and hectic, it can cloud our own judgment and intuition. You might need to learn how to fill your cup if you’re:

  • Constantly multi-tasking yet always behind on tasks
  • Taking on more than you should but you’re not aware of it
  • Never finding any time for yourself and your needs
  • Always helping other people but never helping yourself
  • Finding it hard to be productive on a daily basis

If you’re experiencing one or more of the above, then chances are you need to fill your cup. Your physical, mental or emotional energy is draining and you’re not putting you and your self care first. You can’t run on an empty battery – just like your phone or computer. And whilst you’re more valuable than any device, the analogy is still the same.

So in this post, I’ve highlighted 21 small but practical and useful ideas for how to fill your cup. Filling your cup means doing an activity which helps you slow down, de-stress and ground into the moment. It allows you to pull away from the hectic nature of life, to gather your thoughts, recognize where you can improve and also putting you and yours self care first. 

Here are 21 small, practical but useful ways to fill your cup:

how to fill your cup

Schedule in some you time in your diary

Whether that’s a full day entirely to yourself or just an hour here and there, it’s SO important to schedule in that time so life doesn’t get on top of you. Let people know and mark it on the calendar.

Do a full body scan

Filling your cup doesn’t have to mean anything long and elaborate. Being more aware of our bodies and how they’re feeling can be a really useful tool in learning how to fill our cup. A quick full-body scan in the morning is a great way to do this.

Carve out some time for Yoga

I would personally recommend this great practice from Yoga With Adriene called Yoga To Fill Your Cup – how convenient! It’s a super sweet, yummy and stretchy practice that gets into all the stiff and hard edges. Perfect to loosen you up and fill your cup.

Write a gratitude list

Gratitude is one of the most wonderful ways to emotionally and mentally fill your cup – especially if you’re having a bad day or going through a tough time. You can write a gratitude list or use one of these suggestions on how to express gratitude.

Say no to something you actually don’t want to do

Filling your cup doesn’t always mean adding something IN to your life. It can be taking something out, too. Constantly doing things you don’t want to do can drain your cup even more. Here is when it’s important to say no.

Journal how you’re feeling

I’ve fallen in love with journaling again this year. I don’t have any specific routine but I just write when I need to and it helps my mental health massively, almost like the paper is absorbing some of my stress. Here are some journal prompts for mental health to help.

Book a treatment you want or need

A massage, a manicure or a fresh new hair cut are all great ways to fill your cup. Although self care always goes much deeper, sometimes it’s these simple treatments that can leave you feeling like a new person.

Take a nap

Look, sometimes we just need a nap. For physical and mental exhaustion, sometimes a nap is the ONLY thing that will fix it. So if you can, go and nap and don’t feel guilty about it!

Have a social media detox

Gosh, social media can leave our cups and energy absolutely depleted. I know first hand the effects of social media on my mental health. Cut down your social media time and you’ll slowly feel your cup filling up over time! Here’s why you should have a digital detox.

Meditate

Meditation isn’t for everyone but it’s a very useful tool. It’s important to remember that it’s a practice and not something you have to “get right” in one, five or even a thousand sessions. Perhaps this is your cue to give it a go?

Go for a walk

Walking is a great way to release some bad energy, especially if you’re walking somewhere nice (preferably with dogs). Getting out into the fresh air and into nature is often one of the best ways to fill your cup.

Spend quality time with a loved one

Perhaps afternoon tea with your Mum or a shopping trip with a friend. Spending quality time with a loved one is one of the most wonderful ways to fill your cup, have a vent, be around some good energy and perhaps even get some perspective.

Take yourself out for coffee and cake

I think taking yourself out for a solo date is a great way to fill your cup. If you’re not too comfortable with spending time alone, then going for a coffee and a slice of cake in a local cafe or tea room is usually a pretty chill way to get started!

Go on a cinema date

I find the cinema a great place to go to de-stress and relax. I went on my first solo cinema trip last year and loved it but whether you go alone or with a pal, it’s a great way to fill your cup.

Have an uninterrupted bath

Difficult for some people, depending on your responsibilities so I recognize this might not be doable for everyone but if it is, even for just 30 minutes, then soaking in some warm water, with the lights off, candles flickering and some beautiful scents… mmm, heaven!

Do some gardening 

Gardening is hugely beneficial for your mental health, so similarly to the point about getting out into nature, this is another great way to fill your cup from the comfort of your own home.

Cook yourself your favourite meal

Cooking can be extremely therapeutic and it’s a wonderful act of love, to others AND to yourself! So as we’re focusing on ourselves in this post, perhaps you could take the time to lovingly prepare yourself your favourite meal.

Seek additional help if you feel you need it

Look, sometimes, we just can’t fill our cup by ourselves. And that’s okay and absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Seeking additional help, whether that’s therapy, medication, going to your GP, calling the Samaritans or something else is an act of bravery.

Read for pleasure

Ah, reading. The love of my life. And one of the most wonderful ways to feel your cup. With so many great stories, authors and genres out there, there really is something for everyone. Love YA? Check out some YA books I’d recommend!

Spend time with animals

I’ve left this one pretty vague because obviously not everyone has a pet themselves. But animals are one of life’s biggest joys (in my opinion) and spending time with them ALWAYS lifts my mood! Maybe visit a friend with a pet if you don’t have one yourself or head to a farm or the zoo!

Slow down

Like I said, earlier, sometimes filling your cup isn’t about adding things to it. Sometimes it’s about taking something away. The simple act of slowing down can be hugely beneficial. But I understand that’s easier said than done sometimes.

how to fill your cup

If you’re struggling to fill your cup right now, consider doing some of these activities and see how you feel. If you don’t feel better straight away, that’s okay. Sometimes things take time where you’ll need to be consistent in prioritizing these things to ensure your cup gets full – and stays full!

How do you fill your cup? Leave your own suggestions in the comments!

62 Comments

  1. Fantastic post Jenny. I’ve spotted a few things on this list that I absolutely need to do for myself. Even though my energy is charged at least half way, I think I’m running close to needing a top up.

  2. Mine is usually because of social media so I come off of it for a few days which sometimes helps, I do love a good ol’ social detox xx

  3. AHHHHH Jenny, did you write this for me and me specifically?! Because I am sooooo guilty of all the things you mentioned at the very beginning! I have been trying to get more time for me when I can feel burnout coming, and it actually helps me be more productive now, so thank you for the other tips as I am sure they will come in very handy x

  4. Thank you for sharing this! I’ve recently found myself feeling a little overwhelmed with things, just trying to make sure I get everything done and it can be so exhausting some days. However, I do acknowledge when I need to slow down and do something for myself. You have a lot of great suggestions here, and I will be sure to consider them in the future!

  5. Love all these tips. Especially about schedule in some you time in your diary – I like to take a break between work to relax my mind. Thanks for sharing 😀

  6. These are all such good ideas to imply if you’re energy is lacking! Thanks for sharing them. This will come in handy the next time I am feeling that way!

  7. Oh wow, there are so many things here that I already do, and that’s journalling, exercising, walking, and cooking. They really do help me reset, so to speak. Another decent activity for me is drawing. Helps me forget time for some reason, even though I suck at it. Anyway, thanks for this post!

  8. Wow, this is SUCH a lovely post, Jenny, just what I needed to read today.! You’re absolutely right about uninterrupted baths not being practical for all of us (!) and you know how much I love my garden, but the one that chimes most with me is this: “Filling your cup doesn’t always mean adding something IN to your life. It can be taking something out, too.” Perfect, thank you! xx

    1. Ah you’re so welcome Lisa! Obviously a bath isn’t for everyone but there’s always an alternative haha! Yes absolutely sometimes filling it up with something else just makes it worse!

  9. This post is so timely. I think I’ve been feeling burned out lately. I definitely need to get back to writing my gratitude journal, meditate and read a fun, light YA book! 🙂

  10. These are good self-care tips. It’s so important to know our boundaries. Doing things for other but nothing for yourself is so bad. I’m glad not doing it anymore. And I don’t want to do that again. Not ever!

  11. Doing a social media detox is one of the best ways to recharge – sometimes we don’t realize how harmful it can be until we take a little break. Thanks for sharing this!

  12. You’ve shared some really great tips here lovely which I’ll for sure be keeping in mind when I’m feeling empty! I do love to bake when I’m running on low, not only is it therapeutic but you get a yummy treat at the end too. Thank you so much for sharing this with us Xo

    Elle – ellegracedeveson.com

  13. These are some great suggestions for when you are feeling like you have no energy. I learned about body scans through the pain clinic and they are so relaxing, one pretty much put me to sleep. A gratitude list is always so important to write because you then start to identify things you will often not think about and take for granted. Due to fibro if I have a flare up, I often feel fatigued so some of these activities is what I do! Thank you for sharing your suggestions.

    Lauren x

  14. Great post! I love cooking and going for a coffee,it also gives you a time to reflect and slow down. I wish I had a garden it really energizes you when you are in nature.

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