How Do You Fill Your Cup in an Hour?

By: Jen Shoop

My Internet friend Mary recently asked me, “How do you fill your cup if you only have, say, an hour to do it?” Like me, she’s a mother who is also running a creative business, and we were musing on how to maximize our days while taking care of ourselves. It occurred to me that the answer to this question might vary day to day, week to week, season to season, and that I must exercise deep self-awareness to intuit an accurate response. Some days, filling my cup means going for a run, breaking a sweat, taking a long walk with a neighbor. Other days, it means blocking everything out to write creatively and without constraint (e.g., not writing to publish, but writing to tinker). Still others, it means sitting still, prioritizing rest, taking a shower, laying down, reading. And on other days, spending QT with a loved one, jumping on a call with a girlfriend, leaving my desk to do something with the children, or going on a midday date with Mr. Magpie. Sometimes Mr. Magpie even suggests we drive to pick up lunch together rather than ordering in because it means we’ll have 15-20 minutes to take a pause and catch up together. An efficient date.

What I mean to say is — the answer to this question depends on how well I am taking serious the provocation to “become an expert in myself.” How well am I listening? How well do I know what will recharge me on a given day? Sometimes it’s quiet I crave, and sometimes its companionship, or creative inspiration, or the satisfying feeling of hitting the pavement and moving the dirt.

Yesterday, I woke up and knew it was a “move the dirt” day. I could not wait to slip into my running shoes and push myself.

What about you? If you have an hour to fill your cup today, what will you do?


Below, sharing some favorite fall fitness finds to help with “moving the dirt” on the days where you crave movement:

01 // My new Nike Infinity Runs (seen above). Reader, these are excellent. I’ve written about this line of shoes countless times, but I love the upgraded style. They have even more padding/support than earlier versions but still wear like a sock — they are featherweight. Most importantly — they enable me to run naturally, without altering my gait. Note that they are 20% off in select colors! Go a half size up in these — they run snug.

02 // Love this cropped Beyond Yoga top with the matching leggings ( 03 // ) in midnight blue.

04 // My favorite socks to pull up over leggings in chilly weather.

05 // Obsessed with these Tracksmith merino-blend Harrier tees (wearing one above).

06 // Spanx AirEssentials Funnel Neck. I have one of these in the half-zip format and it is one of my favorites. The material is so dreamy. SHOOPXSPANX will get you 10% off.

07 // Lululemon Aligns. Old faithful. I just did a big clean out of my fitness drawer and I donated several pairs of leggings from brands that never worked well for me. For example, I love several of the Alo pairs for style points, but they never fit me properly (better for taller Magpies), and I always hated all of the Outdoor Voices ones I tried (too constricting!). I cleared all of those out and basically have Aligns, Splits59s, and Colorfulkoalas left. I think I’ll treat myself to a new pair of Aligns this season to round out my collection.

08 // This Gap fleece jacket is exactly what I want to throw on over everything, preferably with this waffle-knit beanie from Vuori. Speaking of Vuori, I keep coming back to their boyfriend joggers — I love the style / fit over their more popular pair.

09 // Eyeing this therma-fit lightweight fleece pullover for cold weather runs, as well as these long-sleeved dri-fit tees from Nike. I find their fitness apparel well-made and reasonably-priced, with smart details. I specifically love that the tees have thumbholes. I find this makes a big difference when I’m running in the cold.

10 // Running headband and glove set. Musts! I also think these inexpensive Amazon gloves, which I’ve worn for multiple seasons in a row, are a good buy.

11 // Target has a cute half-zip deeply reminiscent of the styles from Varley for $25!

P.S. On getting back into a running routine.

P.P.S. On seeing your children as whole.

P.P.P.S. Are expectations the enemy?

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10 thoughts on “How Do You Fill Your Cup in an Hour?

  1. I love the Tracksmith tops but am torn on which one to get! I know I want long sleeves and merino blend, but there are still a couple of options that meet those criteria. It would be for hiking and casual wear. The Brighton base layer might look a little too active-wear? Have been eyeing the Harrier as well, which I know you’re wearing above.

    The cup question is so good. For me, the answer is usually taking the time to sit down with my thoughts and journalling. I do also love a good chat with a girlfriend, but find that sometimes it can be hit or miss? Like we need to both want to go deep in the moment, have the right subject matter, no kids around, etc. I’m also curious how you cultivated the list of things that refresh you? I’ve been able to explore mine during my current sabbatical, but for the truly swamped (my husband!) it’s sometimes hard to even know where to begin. Also, there’s the paralysis of not wanting to waste that precious hour on something that will end up not being fruitful. This is another thing I’ve been noodling on!

    1. Ooh, Stacey, you really cut to the quick with your comment on paralysis of not wanting to waste that precious hour on something that will not end up being fruitful. Amen to this!! I used to struggle with this all the time and then stress as the minutes frittered away! I think the answer is, as one Magpie put it, “making a decision and going boldly into it.” Like, “I am GOING to use this hour to lay down in a robe and read a book.” Or “I am GOING to go for a run, and that’s that.” Anytime I’m sort of half doing one thing, half doing another, I feel awful afterwards. It kind of relates to the “one screen at a time” concept. Landon and I try to adhere to that — if we’re watching a TV show, we fully put our phones away. If we’re texting, we pause the TV. Etc. It makes life feel a lot more satisfying?

      For the Tracksmith question — I think the Harrier is a good starting point. It’s a tad more versatile, per your observation, and could even be worn with jeans, I think. The Brighton tee has more of a true “this is a fitness top” look.


      1. I hadn’t thought of the “I’m just going to commit” option, but it makes so much sense. Will give it a try!

        + Putting the Harrier in cart.

        Thanks for always taking the time to respond. I so appreciate it!

  2. Needlepoint! Nothing feels more special to me than a stolen away hour to needlepoint. It is relaxing yet I get to create!
    xx Jillian

    1. Hi! I love this. My sister knits and said there’s something very relaxing – almost therapeutic? hypnotizing? – about moving your fingers / working with your hands. I can totally see it!


  3. I have a bouquet of ways to fill my cup in a pinch- exercise, writing, sketching, prayer. The one that I find has staying power (for me) is acts of service. The old adage, ‘you rise by lifting others,’ holds very true for me. This is something that I am trying to cultivate in my children as well- I rarely ask them if they had a good day because it elicits a bland response. But if I asked them how they were helpful or ask who they helped today?? They bubble over with descriptions and pride and I love to further buoy them by praising their kindnesses.

    1. I love this so much, Jenny. Beautiful. It also reminds me of something a Magpie said a long time ago about instances in which you are experiencing social anxiety / dreading an event / etc. She suggested reframing as: “I’m attending this event to show up for xxx.” That reframe has really rippled through so many situations in my life — nearly any time I am feeling off, negative, etc, I remind myself to try to re-direct/re-thread my energy by focusing on someone else’s needs.

      Going to try this question with my children! Thanks!


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