• Shelley Lowther

You Can't Pour From an Empty Cup

Self-care ain't selfish

What does self-care feel like? Is it chocolate and a bubble bath? A glass of champagne? A week of vacation on a sandy, serene beach? I love truffles and a good CBD bath bomb— and good knows I like a good vacay–– but we gotta do better than a two week vacation in the self-care department.

Girl— you have to fill up your cup so you can pour.

We spend so much of our time caring for others— partners, friends, parents, children, pets, students, clients— the list goes on. As women, we are taught and expected on some level to be caretakers and nurturers. A modern woman is expected to be able to do it all, and at one time, with one hand tied behind her back.

And yet so often, in all of our giving, we forget to nourish the one person who really can get all that shit done— ourselves.

Have you heard of hygge? Pronounced “hue-guh,” it is is a Danish word that expresses a certain coziness or liveliness in any ordinary or extraordinary event or task. It is a feeling that is invoked more that it is a thing. The practice of hygge was born from the long and sometimes drab Danish winter. You don't buy it in a store, or get it from a magazine. Hygge is a deep appreciation and joy in the present moment.

So what does that have to do with self-care? Like hygge, you can't buy it and it doesn’t come in a box or a bottle. Self-care is a feeling, an emotion, and it requires nourishing our bodies and our souls on a level much deeper than a box of chocolates or glass of bubbles can reach.

You can have the best intentions in the world, but if you don't practice self-care, you are gonna have a hard time caring for anyone else. As a frequent traveler, I cant tell you how many times I have heard the safety message on a flight: In the event of an energy, please put on your own oxygen mask before you help others.


Well this is an emergency. From toxic messages from the media –about who we should be, and what we should eat, and how we should dress and what we should look like– to societal archetypes and expectations – women should nurture, women should mother, women should take care of others – to our own agreements about who and what we should be, we have created an untenable expectation that we are always supposed to give and be everything to everybody.

And here's the reality check–– you don't have to wait for a two week vacation from your life to practice self-care. In fact, that isn't so much self-care as it is avoidance. Instead, we need to learn how to take care of ourselves in small (and big ways) every single day.

You gotta hygge. There are so many ways to take care of yourself and you don't need a lot of time or money to do it. Roll out your mat and do 10 minutes of yoga. Start a meditation practice. Take a nap, a long walk in the woods or on the beach, or go sit in your local park. Too cold or hot outside? Create a cozy little hygge corner in your house and read a good book. You don’t need a lot of time to refill your cup— you can do it every day, in small doses.

And just so you know, you can still go on vacation, take the bubble bath, and pour the bubbly. But if you want to find something that really fills up your cup, look for what sets your should on fire and go do more of that. Every single day.

How do you hygge or practice self-care?

About Shelley

Shelley Lowther wants you to live an extraordinary, ridiculous life of magic and badassery.


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