Over the years, I have spoken with many families that have a thorough list of services that they are receiving or that they are requesting. Only on the rarest of occasions do I come across a parent, or family member, seeking services or support for themselves. The question can seem strange… “Support? For me?” and it isn’t uncommon for them to reflect upon this tearfully as we discuss options for their support. A family’s time and spending goes to where it is most needed and families adjust, selflessly. They are givers.
A similar story is true for those that work in the world of autism. Every day asks that we share ourselves, our energy, and our passion to helping and learning from those with whom we work. We are givers.
Givers naturally assume a ‘bottomless-refill’ type of thinking (picture the fabulous Red Robin Strawberry Freckled Lemonade kind!). The refills are essentially “free” and, with the help of a great waiter, every time the cup is empty, it is refilled. No worry needs to be given as to whether the strawberries and lemons are growing nicely or whether more ice is ready – they're always just there. MAGIC!
September is National Self-Care Awareness month. This is a reminder for us to look at ourselves, our colleagues, and our families and ask an important question: How am I refilling my cup? How are those around me refilling theirs?
With a hefty to-do list and a little bit of pressure, I can easily convince myself that my cup is bottomless. I don’t have time to think about growing and harvesting fruit! I’ve got the bottomless cup – it’s essentially “free” and always fills back up, beautifully. I can put the small voice of reason in the back of my head under an ice cube and focus on my work and the due dates on my calendar.
Nonetheless, it is inevitable that the refills will eventually stop. Logic, not magic. As much as I hate to say it, my cup is not bottomless and I’m guessing yours is not either. The price is “free” – to think, work, and live as if it is, but at what cost? Consider your cup this month and what you do to refill it. Is it working? If you’re growing those strawberries and lemons, what might happen if you add in a little something more for yourself? Try it. Another ingredient or a few more minutes a day for you.
From one giver to another – cheers! Take care of yourselves.
PS: I’d suggest raspberries.