It seems like there aren't enough hours in the day, right? You have a paper due by midnight, an exam in three days (that you haven't even started studying for), your work shift starts in an hour, your laundry basket has been over flowing for days and you have no idea how you're going to get everything done. Tomorrow is just the same. As a matter of fact, you don't remember the last time you didn't have a full "to do" list. I think too often we get so caught up in trying to get everything done, we forget about ourselves. In the hectic messes that become our lives, we need to re-cooperate; we need time to ourselves.
A recent supervisor told me, "You can't pour from an empty cup," and it really struck home with me. I think it's something really important to remember. If you keep going and going without a break, you are going to break. You only have so much brain power to "pour," so to say, and then you're empty. Once you're empty, you've got nothing left to give. If you've got nothing left to give, what good are you to whatever you're doing?
Not only can this drain you, so you have nothing left to give mentally, but it can physically drain you, as well. If you're not getting the recommended amount of sleep every night, you're likely sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation can lead to things like a lack of concentration; if you can't concentrate on that essay you're writing, how are you ever going to finish it? If you drain yourself physically, you also are more likely to become sick. When you're sick, you become drained faster, and then you're in a constant cycle of "emptying" too quickly.
"You can't pour from an empty cup" is all about taking care of yourself. I work a job that is much focused on taking care of and helping other people. I love that very much, and focusing my energy on helping people is what I want to do for the rest of my life. This lovely saying, though, is a reminder to myself that I am useless to the work I want to accomplish if I am not taking care of myself. I can't help others when I can't even help myself.
So, try to take a step back from your essay, and watch an episode of your favorite show on Netflix. When you get off work, call up your best friend and have a night out. Your laundry can wait one more day. Find a cute outfit (if you have any clean clothes left), and doll yourself up just to feel good. Say no to those few hours of over time and order delivery, and drink some wine in your pajamas. Go ahead and buy some new makeup, or whatever it is that has been sitting on your wish list for weeks. Take some time and treat yourself. I know we live in a time where we're so overwhelmed that we rarely get a full eight hours of sleep, but every once in a while, make the time, so you can. It's necessary for both your mental and physical health. Take a step back every now and then, and remember, you can't pour from an empty cup.