This is not just a cup of tea, this is a Self Care cup of tea!
‘You can’t pour from an empty cup’ is a phrase we hear and see on social media so frequently when discussing Self Care. It certainly has merit, if any vessel is empty we won’t be able to drain anything from it, including ourselves, however this got me to thinking what we can get from a full cup?
My awareness around Self Care began as I wrote my MSc research, looking at the experiences of professionals working with victims and survivors of domestic abuse. The irony being, as mentioned in previous articles, that I didn’t notice myself breaking a little bit whilst researching this project. However, every day is a school day in my opinion, and the concept of Self Care, my participants understanding of it, and the potential benefits of looking after ourselves, exploded around me on many levels.
Now, as a full-time counsellor and psychotherapist in private practice, I also write, research and train other professionals, believing that Self Care is absolutely at the core of a resilience toolkit. We can develop and nurture a Self Care lifestyle if we take responsibility for our own emotional and physical health. It’s a choice, but it’s also about cultivating new habits, embedding these habits so that they go some way to buffering the impact off stress on us as human beings, in this interesting, chaotic and let’s be frank at times, overwhelming world that we live in.
So back to that empty cup, or rather, let’s look at a full cup and see how it can make a difference. I am convinced that whilst developing new ways of looking after ourselves, there may be many ways that you are already incorporating Self Care into your life without realising it. This idea is constantly simmering around my awareness, and my daily cup and saucer of green tea is one of these rituals I recently realised that I do.
So, let’s start at the beginning, I am fortunate to work from home most of the time, and I really get how lucky I am here. I have access to all those little things in my life that make me smile. Like my cup and saucer. Its beautiful, and there’s a very happy tale behind it!
We try to travel to Wales as often as we can for short sweet breaks, walks on the beaches, spending time with our closest friends and generally switching off. One of these treats is to go for tea and cake in a fantastically traditional café where I revel in a proper full on full fat cream tea. Wow do I feel special and so unfamiliarly genteel with a cup and saucer in front of me. I love those cups and saucers, they have a gorgeous botanical rose design, not normally my thing at all, but they are objects of gorgeousness in my opinion.
One Christmas a few years ago, my awesome husband (don’t tell him I said that) had taken the time to find these cups and saucers, and bought me two for Christmas. They genuinely were my favourite gift, reminding me of a beautiful place in the world, a time when I switch off and spend time with those that I love.
When I look at them they are also a daily reminder of the effort my husband went to to make me smile. No grand gestures, no vast amounts of money, just two beautiful cups and two saucers that literally make me smile. I know he had a bit of a mare finding them, but he is tenacious, I’m remined how much he loves me and for that I am eternally grateful.
Now I have never been a particular Green Tea fan. I have read about all the benefits, and ‘joined in’ with the odd box shoved into my shopping trolley here and there, just to make me feel I was into ‘wellness,’ but in all honestly, I really didn’t like the taste. However, at some point, and I genuinely can’t remember when, I had this free sample, I have no idea where it came from, but I found one that I really like the taste of. Strawberries and vanilla, I know, sounds odd, but trust me it’s good, it smells beautiful and is the cleanest purest pale green colour in my cup.
I have a little ritual, I boil the kettle, retrieve my cup and saucer from its special place, rip the top of the cute and pretty packet that the tea bag comes in, artfully dangle the label over the side, and hang on to said label whilst I pour in the freshly boiled water. I hang onto the label as it really irritates me if it falls in, I know, not all Self Care and tranquillity here!
I then take it into my therapy room, because it is generally quiet and peaceful there, and I take ten minutes to enjoy it. I admire the cup and saucer for the way it looks, pretty, and the memories it evokes of Wales, fresh air, family, friends and beaches. I bask in the feeling of being loved by someone I adore, being the recipient of their kindness, and then the genuine savouring of the smell and the taste.
So, what Self Care wisdom did I want to pass on from my cup and saucer of green tea?
1. Try to be present and aware when you can. This helps you to realise the things that you are already doing as acts of Self Care
2. Reflect on why they make you smile, or feel the best about yourself, the best you can at that moment.
3. Look for the layers, can you believe what I found in in one cup of tea, memories, kindness, ritual, ten minutes peace and gratitude for my relationships
4. When you find acts of Self Care, do them regularly, and encourage others to do the same.
My final thoughts. Do you remember I said my husband bought me two cups and saucers? Well, I’ve hidden the other one, this is my time, my ritual and a few rich moments especially for me. We talk about Self Care not being selfish, and it isn’t, I don’t think any of you would suggest so reading this, so try not to feel selfish when you’re taking care of yourself. I’m not recklessly denying anyone anything, I’m simply revelling in the peace and pleasure my daily Self Care cup of tea brings.
So, the other cup and saucer is hidden, because to coin another phrase, ‘there’s no point in crying over spilt milk’, however if I’m totally honest, I may just shed a tear if I broke my last cup and saucer of Self Care tea!
Sass and her cofounders have created an inspirational new Blog, launching on the 1st of September and they'd be delighted if you'd join them as a guest blogger. Sharing your own Self Care experiences.
Contact Sass at SelfCare Psychology Here
Sass Boucher is a psychotherapist and counsellor registered with the BACP and working in private practice. Sass also writes and trains around SelfCare and suggests her own self-care "will always be very much a work in progress!"