We’ve all been through the airplane pre-flight safety demonstration: “In the case of an emergency, oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling. You should always fit your own mask on before helping any person.” While we often tune out this admonition because of its frequency, it has a powerful application to Ascend’s July Code of Honor theme: you can’t pour from an empty cup.
The metaphor reminds us of the importance of self-care and self-prioritization. Just like a cup can only pour out what it contains, we can only give to others what we possess within ourselves. Those in the ABA field and caretakers of children with physical, intellectual, or developmental disabilities are particularly faced with intense physical and emotional challenging situations each day. Neglecting our own needs can lead to exhaustion, burnout, and resentment. It’s crucial to recognize that taking care of ourselves is not selfish but rather essential for our well-being. By refilling our cup through self-care practices such as rest, self-reflection, and nourishing activities, we ensure that we have the energy, compassion, and resources to give to others without depleting ourselves.
When we neglect self-care and attempt to pour from an empty cup, our ability to be fully present and effective in our relationships and responsibilities diminishes. We may find ourselves feeling drained, overwhelmed, and unable to meet the demands placed upon us. By prioritizing self-care, we replenish our cup and cultivate a state of balance and inner abundance. This enables us to show up as our best selves, to be more patient, understanding, and compassionate towards others, and to navigate life’s challenges with greater resilience.
Whether you need to take the time find a support group, make a call to a therapist, or simply go for a walk, prioritize yourself – fill up your cup so that you can be the best version of yourself not only for you, but for those around you: your family, friends, clients, those you serve, and your community.