Buckets need breaks, not holes – you’re not alone | 6-min read

We all go through seasons of stress and anxiety and all the emotions that make us want to scream in an empty parking lot as loud as we can. Unless you have a cold right now and would rather curl up in a ball & cry instead. I’m with ya.

There is so much screaming for our attention on a daily basis, coming from all kinds of different directions, and it only seems like the older we get the broader the roads stretch. On top of that, you have a gazillion responsibilities in life you weren’t told you would have to address upon coming out of the womb. And when you fail at upholding one, Lord knows people will remember and criticize you for it for the rest of your life. (Please consider the sarcasm.)

But really, it almost feels like humans are buckets full of holes. We try to fix one and another one pops and floods our hands with water we weren’t ready to carry. We put tape on that hole and then BAM another hole on the bottom rim of the bucket explodes, precisely the spot you thought would be most sturdy.

You then look around and it feels like everyone else has it all together. Their buckets are the fancy kind with mouldings of castle tops, made of bright shiny colours – no holes at all.

I hate to break it to you but those buckets are being taken care of. The pretty shiny bucket isn’t being overused. It knows its limits. It knows what kind of material is can hold, for how long, and where the rim ends. That’s not to say it isn’t fulfilling its purpose because it relaxes – but it’s thriving in due season. Used, rarely abused.

Whether you are a fancy bucket or one that can’t seem to stand tall enough, both are destined to be used. They have the same purpose; to serve its handler. But which one do you think will last longer?

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The reason your life seems to have so many holes that you can’t control is because your bucket is overflowing (me @ me). It’s trying to tell you that it has reached its capacity and has to take care of itself before trying to hold anything else.

Sometimes, it’s not your fault. People will pour their sand into your bucket when theirs is full. People might pour water into yours thinking they’re helping you build your sand castle. And, sometimes you’ll carry more than you think you can carry because you’re so excited about creating a masterpiece.

It’s inevitable that your bucket will get tired. 

I’ve actually been manifesting myself into a hole-y bucket lately.

I’ve had to reschedule 2 midterms, I’ve got an event to host in two days that I’m not mentally prepared for, I haven’t eaten all day, and I had to cancel a volleyball game tonight that I was super excited about… among a million other things tugging at my attention. How does one deal with a bucket this beaten?

You’re in luck because I’m not leaving you on a cliff hanger; I’ve compiled a list of things I try to do when I feel low and defeated; 5 things I do when I feel like I can’t take any more water in my bucket:

#1. I try to remember “progress over perfection.”  We carry the skills and talents to make a difference in this world, and sometimes when we lack in consistency or results for the very thing that keeps us going, we throw our hands up in the air.

It’s not about doing it perfectly, it’s about doing it step by step. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

#2. I call my mom. (AKA I seek help.)

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I talk to people that uplift me and those who help me see the good in my circumstance, whether it’s the hope that things will work out in the end or whether it’s practical steps that I can take to get to where I need to be.

I ask people to help me carry the bucket.

I also reach out to supervisors, professors, family members, or anybody I’ve devoted my time and attention to, in order for them to know I’m not performing my best because of    (fill in the blank)   .

And, I talk to people that are in my shoes as well, holding the same patterned bucket in their hands. We’re all students, siblings, children of parents, employees, and average human beings – we go through a lot, most of which we don’t anticipate because God knows we wouldn’t want to carry on if we knew what the future held. Meaning; if you knew the experiences you would have to go through in order to grow, learn, and ultimately love your neighbours a little better, you wouldn’t want to keep going. Mystery is bliss. But, the people who have been through more life than you generally have words of wisdom to pass down.

The point is: seek help. A lone fighter wins a small battle. A team wins the whole battle.

Shoutout to Rebecca today for talking to me for a good 5 minutes with her awesome attitude that rubbed off on me for the rest of the day – thanks a million my love! And also to a couple of people who I’ve depended on this past week, including my uncle, my brother, my parents, and some super awesome friends who know who they are.

P.S. It’s also incredibly cool to seek professional help. They didn’t choose to become professionals for fun, it’s their job to help you figure things out.

#3. I write. Exhibit A.

#4. I pray. I talk to God. I look up.

You know why we can always see our noses when we look straight ahead? Try it. Look ahead. Your nose will never not be in the way. (And you won’t un-see it for the next 5 minutes.)

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Our noses will always be in our way to remind us that when our noses are in the air, and our pride is taking over, our vision will be obscured.

When you can’t stand failure, criticism, or making mistakes – your pride is at play. Your nose is in the air telling you that you should have been better. It gets in the way of you accepting that you don’t have to be perfect. (I’m really writing this to myself today.)

My vision is obscured when I look into the world, meaning I can’t see beyond the seemingly large mountain in front of me.

But when I look up, I can’t see my nose anymore. My vision is clear. Look up. This is science y’all.

All jokes aside, my pride is laid down when I talk to God like a friend and when I ask to be reminded of who I am. Jesus comes through every single time.

#5. I reevaluate what matters most. I take a step back.

I accept that missing a test is not the end of the world and that I will always have a support system to fall back on, whether it’s my family, colleagues, or friends. Or, in the worst case scenarios, if I feel I have absolutely non of these available, I know I am fortunate enough to live in Canada where there is government support and there are organizations down the street that will offer a hand. And I know God’s got me.

I also accept that quitting on my stressors doesn’t make me a failure. And, I remind myself that I have a vision for the future and that it goes beyond my present circumstance.


Moral of the story: I try to help myself out every time I feel like my bucket is about to fill itself up with my own tears (which don’t get me wrong, isn’t a bad thing – cry if you have to). I’ve cried more times than I’d like to admit in the past month alone.

I will admit though that I’m more reactive than proactive when it comes to dealing with the turbulence of life, but I know that with a lighter bucket I can fly a little higher, and live a little longer.

I don’t think we were meant to create sand castles with broken buckets. I think we were meant to take care of our tools in order to bring to life our purest imaginations.

You’re not selfish if you want to take care of yourself. And as my uncle always asks, “What does the flight attendant say at the beginning of a flight? Put your mask on so that…”

And I’m asked to complete the sentence… “So that you can help the person beside you put theirs on.”

Thanks for reading you star, I hope this helped ease your day!

See you next week on Mondays with Manda! Xo


(Photo in Featured Image: Photo by Amritanshu Sikdar on Unsplash)

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