Running on Empty is Never a Good Idea

Self-Care and Refilling Your Tank

Self-care involves engaging in activities that promote physical, emotional, and mental well-being. When we prioritize self-care, we enhance our ability to effectively handle stress and manage various aspects of our lives. Unfortunately, self-care is often misunderstood as being selfish or only applicable during vacation or breaks. However, as educators, our lives are characterized by a hectic schedule, long working hours, missed meals or hasty eating, inadequate sleep, and lack of exercise. The truth is, there are numerous areas where we neglect our own well-being.

The following scenario was shared on Facebook by Christy Starr Whittington Robertson, a mother from Mississippi. It has gone viral! I’m sharing it again with you, with Christy’s permission, because it just sums up self-care in such a powerful way.

“The whole world paused this morning.

Do you know why? Because an 8-year old’s tank was empty. 

The boys had already started their school day at their desks and I was preparing to leave for work when I noticed my littlest standing in the bathroom wiping his face.

 I paused at the door and asked if he was okay. He looked up with tears silently dripping and shook his head. When I questioned if something happened, again he shook his head.

So I sat on the side of the tub and pulled him in my lap. I told him sometimes our heart tanks feel empty and need to be refilled.

He cried into my chest and I held tight. I asked if he could feel my love filling him up? A nod and tears stopped…

I waited a minute…

‘Has it reached your toes yet?’ He shook his head no…

‘Okay, man. We will take as long as you need. Work doesn’t matter right now. School isn’t important either. This right here, is the most important thing today, okay? Filling you back to the top. Is that good?’ nods

One more minute… ‘Is your heart full of mama’s love now?’ ‘Yeah…’ looks in his eyes I see it shining in there, you’re full to the top, and you’re smiling!

Y’all. You may not be 8- you may be 28, 38, 48, or whatever- but ALL of us run on empty just like he did. His weekend was so busy and so full and his little soul was just dry!!!

We all have to pause, and take a moment to refill with the good things. Scripture, prayer, sunshine, worship, song, laughter, friends, hugs. Refill your empty, or you’ll find those emotions (tears, anger, snappy words) overflowing with no reason why.

Take a moment. Refill. It’s the most important part of your day!”

Self-Care Ideas

Just as teaching methods vary for different individuals, there is no universal formula for self-care that applies to everyone. Here are a few actions you can take to promote your overall well-being and prioritize self-care.

  • Eat a healthy diet – you’ll feel better if you eat healthier, meal planning helps.
  • Get a good night’s rest – it’s okay to leave some things for tomorrow rest is important.
  • Make time for healthcare – staying on top of your physical health is a priority! 
  • Exercise – take a walk, go to the gym, just get moving.
  • Take care of your spiritual health – make time for religious services, keep a gratitude journal, take time for reflection or whatever makes you feel spiritually grounded. 
  • Learn to say no – taking on more things when your plate is already full isn’t a good thing.
  • Create lists and routines – listing things you have to do and prioritizing them helps you stay focused. Doing certain things at certain times helps you get things done. 
  • Prioritize personal time – instead of working late and/or going into school early every day, pick a day a week to do one or the other. Pick an evening a week to bring things home to do. Acknowledge the positive before pointing out the negative.
  • Take a mental health day now and again – take a day off to rest or do something fun.
  • Pamper yourself – go shopping, get a massage, get a facial, take a long bath or shower, just do something to make you feel good! 
  • Get creative – spend time doing something creative that you love, or find a new hobby.

Whatever you do, just remember that it’s okay to take care of YOURSELF. Make it a priority and you’ll be a better administrator or teacher for it.


What is Self-Care and Why Is It So Important for Your Health?. Retrieved November 22, 2021, from

Teia Hoover Baker is an educator, published author, and entrepreneur. She is an innovative, devoted educator whose career has been dedicated to coordinating programs that support struggling learners. Her passion is meeting students where they are and guiding them to excel. Her main focus is always what is best for children. Teia holds a Bachelor’s in Journalism and a Master’s of Education. In her spare time, she enjoys being Lovie to her growing grandchildren.

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