You Can’t Pour From An Empty Cup

I’m Lindsey, a math teacher in Cincinnati and I am obsessed with my job and my students. I am also a mom of two little girls, a wife, sister, daughter and friend (obsessed with all of that too). In general, I am a super passionate person which can easily lead to high highs and low lows. 

I am very fortunate to be with a partner who supports me in knowing that I can better take care of my family and my career, if I first take care of myself. The whole, you can’t pour from an empty cup, thing. I know that if I’m not mentally well – it will impact those around me, and so I’ve learned putting myself first is not a selfish thing at all. 

This means I get to enjoy nights with friends old (some 30+ years) and new or with my sisters and cousins. These fill me up, even when it means stepping away from something else (bedtime routine and/or grading papers). I also believe exercise is a HUGE part of self-care, and for me that’s Barre3 Mariemont, the only exercise routine I’ve stuck with, and going on 6 years now. They are the biggest advocates for self-care (aside from 1N5) and support my body, my mind, and mostly my gratitude practice. Another thing I started to do was journal (publicly via instagram) about my daily goings on, years ago after a conversation with a therapist I was seeing at the time. It helped me to process whatever was happening, but also to look for the good in each day (because there is always plenty of it), or to at least joke about the bad, and mostly to connect with other moms who were going through the same things. It became more “self-care” than I ever released it would — the catharsis of it all — which is not what most would think of for social media. 

There are several different areas concerning self-care, we asked Lindsey which ones stick out to her and if she has any advice to give to others. 

Emotional: talking! crying! whatever it is, letting it out and not keeping your emotions tucked away inside, good, bad, ugly, I say, share ’em!

Practical: I’m one who finds much delight in crossing things off a to-do list. That’s practical and good for my mental health? Also needlepointing? “Therapeutic repeated stabbing” we say, but I’m working on a belt for my husband right now so that feels practical?

Physical: barre3 mariemont, long walks, fast walks (I’m so not a runner), a feel good peloton instructor

Mental: love me a crossword or sudoku or worlde — something that gives that quick good feeling of accomplishment. For me, it’s a lot of math problems, but then I’ve found writing and other creative outlets to help use the other side of my brain.

Social: Like I mentioned above, girls nights whether that’s friends or sisters or cousins. Wine nights or Early morning walks. New friends or old. Virtual or In-person. And sometimes it’s hard to make yourself want to go, but I find I’ve never regretted it.

Spiritual: I’m not a religious person but I think beliefs of some kind are important. For me, it may be the cardinals that remind me of my grandparents, the wildness of the way the universe works sometimes, or even just spirituality in a studio full of women taking a deep exhale. Feeling connected even if it’s just a good podcast or some great music.

One last question for Lindsey was how she could encourage others to start caring for themselves, and this was her response – I think things like this, other moms (especially) sharing what they do and make time for – just to normalize, ya know, that it’s not a bad thing? missing bedtime or serving fast food because you are running off to a workout class. It’s good for everyone; it’s good for your kids to see; it’s good for your partner too. That said, I know I am in a very lucky situation that may not be possible for everyone so I would just encourage people to find *something* that works for them, even if just staying up a bit late and escaping in a good book.