Self-Nurturing: Fill Your Own Cup

Like unwatered flowers that shrivel and fade, we all have needs that go unmet. There are three dimensions to all of us: body, soul and spirit. When we ignore one area, the other areas suffer. We might as well admit that we have needs for things like attention, affection and beauty.

Problems in relationships begin when we hope and expect that others will meet those needs, even when we’re not sure what the needs are. Our own lack of self-nurturing and self-love creates an emptiness from which we attempt to draw to give to others. Like Bilbo in The Fellowship of the Ring, we feel “thin, like butter scraped over too much bread.”

If you’re feeling used-up and scraped thin, spend some time on self–nurturing. This doesn’t have to be a trip to Hawaii, although that would be amazing. I’m talking about small daily gifts to yourself, little ways to feed your spirit, soul and body with beauty and rituals that make you smile and give you pleasure. A tight budget and busy schedule don’t have to keep you from loving yourself. Life consists of many small choices, little things done each day. Here are a few ideas to consider:

Buy some flowers for yourself. The local discount store has them for as little as $5. Take them home, trim the stems, rearrange them in a teapot and enjoy.

Freshen your devotional routine. Buy a pretty new journal, try a different version of the Bible, create a pleasant spot for your quiet times with a comfortable chair, good lighting, a soft throw and a place to set your favorite drink.

Take a special bath. Bubbles, salts, whatever your favorite bath ingredients are. Choose either candlelight relaxation or a favorite book. Ahhh.

Build in small breaks and rewards throughout the day so you don’t get depleted. Sip coffee or tea in a pretty cup, light a candle and gaze at it, kick off your shoes and prop them up. It only takes a few minutes to recharge your batteries.

Change your clothes. Instead of a t-shirt and jeans, wear something fresh and pretty that makes you feel good. It doesn’t cost any more to choose something nice to wear from your closet rather than something dowdy.

These ideas just get you started. Everyone has their preferences for pleasant little ways to nurture themselves. Perhaps it’s been so long since you cared for yourself, you are at a loss for things to enjoy. Think about what gave you joy when you were a child. I remember loving daisies and tea parties and bubble baths, so those are clues to things that nurture my spirit.

When you are caring for yourself with love and beauty, you fill your own cup so that you can pour out on others. Find some simple ways to take care of your own needs so that you can care for others from your own fullness rather than emptiness.


  1. Mary Elken says:

    Thanks for a great reminder. This is so true. I hope the younger Moms in your readership really take it to heart!

  2. This is good advice, and I do these sorts of things occasionally. The other day my daughter painted my toenails. It’s been years since I’ve taken the time to do that, and even though no one sees them but me in this weather, it’s a little lift every time I look at them. I would also add “Do your hair even if you’re only at home all day!” I have a tendency to leave it a mess when I’m feeling tired, and that is a very good way to depress yourself every time you look in the mirror! At least make sure it’s clean and combed.

  3. Thank you again!! ahh what a refreshing read…and that is what I do. I make a pot of tea. While it is brewing I place a pretty paper doily on a saucer, find a pretty spoon — you know those collectible ones at historical sites or places along the way—and get out my notebook of Charlotte’s emails that I have printed off for days when I need encouragement. 🙂 Sometimes I write a letter or card with a fountain pen to a friend in need of a cheery word. When I am really needing a lift I walk outside, breathing deeply I begin to quote scripture and sing my thankfulness to my Heavenly Father. I have kept a few old Victoria or Teatime or Sew Beautiful magazines in 3 ring notebooks to peruse. Rereading my journal entries from former years on that particular date is helpful to see how far I have come (or how far I have to go!). Thank you for each encouraging word you write. I am beginning a short boot camp (5 days this week) of Tempo Arms. I have gotten our 27 yr. old daughter to do it with me. (smile)

  4. Thanks for the reminders. We spend a lot of time taking care of everyone else, don’t we?

  5. Denise Baligad says:

    Love this~Thank you Charlotte!

  6. This is very true and yet so hard for lots of moms to do. I often feel guilty if I’m not constantly busy during the day and being productive but I will sometimes force myself to sit down and just read for awhile instead of working. Books are my escape!

    1. Charlotte Siems says:

      Books are an awesome escape! Caring for yourself IS productive. 🙂

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