Friday, April 4, 2014

Refilling the Well

We all have responsibilities.  For women, that often includes the usual human things, such as eating, cleaning, looking out for our bodies and more.  Some women are married and stay-at-home wives, while some work outside the home, in addition to the usual in-home chores of life.  Some women are single and look out for themselves.  They clean, they shop, they cook, and they are responsible for only themselves.  Some women, single or married, add children to the equation.

We are nurturers.  We take care of others--husbands, children, parents, siblings and friends--while juggling all the other facets of life.  Sometimes we become so immersed in those things that we forget about ourselves.

Being a single mother with grown children and young grandchildren, my attention is focused on them, while still finding time of my own, as I try to balance work, play, and the inevitable checkbook.  It's easier, now that my four daughters are grown, but once a mom, always a mom.  I do what I can, when I can.  If I can't, I worry that I'm not being the mother I should be.  And then I remind myself that it's my time.  Not all of it is mine, but the others can take care of themselves.  After all, they're the moms now.

The first time I heard the term Refilling the Well, I was already writing and in the midst of working toward publication.  I was married, with four children, so demands on my time were natural for any woman in that same place in life.  We give of ourselves and often forget that we need time to regroup, to kick back for a little while and become who we are, other than wives, employees, mothers, cooks, cleaner-uppers, caretakers and all those other things we do because that's who we are.  After all that giving, we sometimes feel depleted of energy, time, and--dare I say it?--giving to others.  We need a little time to take a breath and think of ourselves and find way to remind us that we, too, are special.  That's what Refilling the Well is.

Why do we need to refill our wells?  Because if we don't, we might fall into the trap of not caring about ourselves.  If that happens, we might endanger our caring for others.

So how do we refill our wells?  We give ourselves the gift of time.  Our time.  No rushing Junior (or Juniorette, in my case) to ball practice or spending every spare minute that isn't taken up by all the have-to's in life by giving to others.  We don't fill those spare moments with organizing the pantry or polishing the baseboards in our house.  Well, not unless that's something that makes us happy and takes a special place in our hearts.

5 Ways to Spend Time Alone (And 14 Inspirational Quotes about Solitude)

Make a list of the small things you can do for just yourself.  A long bubble bath?  Reading?  Watching a movie we've always wanted to see?  Kicking back and listening to music we enjoy?  Spending time with a close friend or several friends?  Taking a long walk in a peaceful spot?  Watch the water in a pond or even something as simple as sitting outside on a nice day, enjoying the weather?  What one thing can you do for yourself that will take you away from everyday life and, especially, make you smile?

I used to be an avid reader.  I could read 3-5 books a week, depending on the length of them.  Reading is still what I do when I have a few minutes of quiet, uninterrupted time to put aside the demands of work, family, and home.  But too often theses days, I find myself not reading for pleasure, only for knowledge and instructions, even though my Kindle and bookshelves are filled with all kinds of fiction!  Guess what one of the things will go on my list?

With luck, I'll also be spending time with friends this weekend.  I'm looking forward to and excited about our writers group's upcoming mini-retreat this weekend.  Eight hours of talking writing, brainstorming, helping each other, laughing and sharing.  I'll spend the day with people who share my love of writing.  (The photo above was taken at our Fall Mini-Retreat last year.  While the mini-retreat is "job" related, it never feels that it is.  Many of us in the group are friends, outside of the group.  We're there for each other when times are bad or when we have something to celebrate.  We might get together for dinner out, and we've even been known to take in a movie together!

How often should we refill our wells?  As often as possible!   Ideally, that would be every day.  That's not often possible, so let's go for once a week.  If that doesn't work, how about once a month, or quarterly?  Or whenever the opportunity presents itself and especially when we're feeling depleted. Don't say no to an invitation from a friend to do something together or simply get together, unless it's absolutely necessary.  Don't feel selfish or that you're wasting your time.  We all need to do things we enjoy, in addition to the requirements in our life.

Why You Shouldn't Feel Guilty About Stealing a Little Time for Yourself (Psychology Today)

Refill the Well whenever you can.  Whenever the opportunity presents itself.  It doesn't have to be planned out in advance.  It can be done on the spur of the moment, when a small amount of time is presented.  Leave the dishes and vacuuming for a little later.  Give yourself the gift of time.

Enjoy your weekend, and if you get the chance to refill your well, take it!
I think you have to refill the well at some point. ~ Skeet Ulrich

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