The Bucket Runneth Over

Jeremy Sharp, PhDstress & anxiety, therapy Leave a Comment

Whew! I don’t know about some of you, but this time of year is always when things start to get a little crazy in my life. Traveling for the holidays, planning family get-togethers, dealing with daylight savings time (it gets dark at 4:30!), etc…it’s enough to stress out even the calmest of people. And this year is extra special – added traveling for a race this weekend and working at a university where students are freaking out over finals just ups the ante on craziness.

It’s no small coincidence that blog posts have been few and far between over the last couple of weeks. In fact, this is the longest I’ve gone between posts since starting the blog. This is unfortunate given that blogging has become one of my favorite things to do over the past few months. I found myself reflecting on the process of pushing aside enjoyable activities to attend to the stressful activities and decided to post on this very issue.

I know that we all have times when things get more stressful than others, but it’s important not to lose sight of the things that nourish us and give us positive energy. I use the “bucket” analogy with clients a lot. This is the idea that we have an energy store represented by water in a bucket. The bucket unfortunately has a cork in the bottom that can be yanked out during stressful times, allowing the water/energy to drain out. If we don’t turn on the faucet, so to speak, and fill the bucket back up, we end up with low energy and a “yuck” feeling.

I usually spend a fair amount of time talking with my clients about activities that help “turn the faucet on.” For me, I know that blogging, running, and socializing with friends can all help fill up my bucket. Having a good idea of these self-care strategies can help keep the energy from reaching critically low levels, preventing burnout and keeping meltdowns to a minimum. Sometimes I’ll even go so far as to have clients write out a “De-Stress Strategies” list to look at when they’re running on empty. So if you haven’t taken time to evaluate your balance of “faucet vs. cork,” now may be a good point to check in and make sure that you’re taking good care of yourself.

That’s all for now – happy holidays and full buckets to all  🙂


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