Let Me Introduce You to Your Bucket

“Bucket Full of Sunshine” by Cora Marie

The Bucket is a concept that came to me years ago, and has been immensely valuable to my personal growth.  Bucket, you ask?  A bucket, in your mind, or whatever kind of container works for you.  It could be a laundry basket, a mason jar, or anything else you can relate with.  Close your eyes and imagine your bucket, basket, etc.  What size is it?  What is it made of?  What color is it?  You can even give it a name!  Make friends with your container, get familiar with it.

Look inside the container and see the space that is there.  That space can be (and should be) viewed in two ways.  First, the space signifies the tired and empty feeling you have when you’re exhausted and feel like you can’t make it another day.  Second, the space signifies an opportunity to learn the tools necessary to feel refreshed and full, like you can dip into the bucket for the energy you need to make it through your day.

Now it’s time to fill the bucket.  What do you need to push on?  This is where self-care is crucial.  Imagine taking beautiful apples off an apple tree.  Each apple represents a ritual, an event or a thing that helps refresh and uplift you.  In my bucket: each of my friends and family members who make me smile and make me happy to be on this earth.  My dog who needs my love and care and gives me love in return.  Yoga.  Indian food.  Zumba. Reading Little House on the Prairie books.  Hiking.  Matcha lattes.  Mango body wash.  Robert Frost poems.  Snickerdoodles.  Getting a pedicure.  Meditating in a group.  Lunch at Panera with my sister.  Reading anything by Thich Nhat Hanh.  Contra dancing.  Walking my dog to the marina.  Naps.  A day without cell phones or TV.  Clementines.  Lady Grey tea.  Lots more, I think you get the point.  Everyone of those things is a tangible thing or event that you can do that recharges your batteries, refreshes you, and gives you energy to get through even the toughest day.  The key is to do these things before you need them, so that energy is there whenever you need it, thus filling the bucket. Do at least one bucket filler every day.

Start by making a list of things you already do that can fill your container.  Over time you can start adding little things to your routine that fill your bucket.  Now you can dip into it whenever you need to, not just for keeping yourself going, but also for when you need to do for others.  Make sure your container doesn’t get empty.  You can’t give, to yourself, or anyone else, from an empty bucket.