Fuel for Dads

Out of Gas

Too often, I observe dads not making themselves a priority, and this is one of the main things that I think we can improve on.

Dads spend a lot of time and energy on work, community service, marriage, and family. If they have any time and energy left (usually little to none), they spend time doing the things that replenish themselves.

Let’s use the analogy of a car’s fuel tank. Just like a car, we can only go so far on a single tank of gas. Parents are often near or at empty and still trying to move forward. Eventually, we will break down without filling up.

When you are practice self-care, you almost always feel better after the activity than before. With self-indulgence, you usually feel worse afterward.

When we keep ourselves and our tank full, we have so much more to give, especially to our children. Feeling energized often brings about contributing to others. Not only will you enjoy giving and contributing to your children; they will be more receptive of it.

I suggest that dads identify the activities that bring about their own happiness. Even fifteen minutes of doing something that I truly enjoy can re-fuel me for an entire day.

What re-fuels you? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Work out
  • Read
  • Get a message
  • Play golf
  • Have a night out
  • Go on a date with your partner
  • Spiritual practice (i.e. prayer, meditation)
  • Eat healthy

Regardless of what you do, the intention is to find ways to make yourself feel better and more energized. Many people consider these selfish acts, but there is a world of difference between self-care and self-indulgence. When you are practice self-care, you almost always feel better after the activity than before. With self-indulgence, you usually feel worse afterward.

The key is to know when you are full, half full and approaching empty. I promise that if you practice this act of “filling yourself up,” not only will you be happier—the other people in your life will greatly appreciate it.

Photo: Jeena Paradies/Flickr

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About Michael Stoller

Michael Stoller is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. He works primarily with adult men on issues including depression, anxiety, parenting, addictions, relationships, and problem solving. His work with couples focuses on conflict resolution, communication, intimacy, parenting and other life transitions. With teenage boys, Michael often uses sports analogies and lessons to address issues such as self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and school performance. He received his Masters degree in Social Work from The University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration and his B.A. in Psychology from Indiana University. Learn more at MichaelLStoller.com

Comments

  1. Michael Stoller says:

    Just curious what men think of this article and this concept of “Filling Yourself Up”

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