I had planned to write about something else today but intuitively felt this should be prioritized. Why does my intuition play such a big role in the content I create and work I do? Well, It’s because I’m an empath! And while a strong sense of intuition is a great perk of being an empath there is a downside. Empaths tend to personally feel the emotions of others and can become emotionally overwhelmed and exhausted easily. Sometimes it’s handy to have this keen sensitivity but others, like now, it can be a real struggle! For many empaths what’s happening in the world right now is almost too much to bear and knowing what to do with all the feels is nearly impossible! So, I thought I’d share my 5+ best tips for empath survival in today’s world!
Check on the empaths in your life… they are NOT OK!— Upcycled Adulting Mama Cassie (@Upcycledadultin) June 2, 2020
1. Turn Off the News
I know you want to save the world. Believe me I get it! But sitting paralyzed in front of your television won’t help! It’s time to take a break from the news (in all forms). Right about now it feels like the world’s on fire and the media is completely committed to showing you the worst of it! You know… sex and violence sell! Peaceful protests, acts of kindness and communities coming together doesn’t lead in the headlines but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening!
Make it your business to discover the good. Bolster yourself with the hope of a better tomorrow! Yes, bad things are happening in the world, but good ones are too. Creating a balance within you will help keep you from drowning in the misery that is plastered everywhere. Join online communities, Google “acts of kindness”, ask your friends and family to share good news or create your own good news group! Consider it an emotional spa! You need a break. You need an emotional reprieve!
2. Cultivate Your Social Media (or Detox)
You might want to argue with your Facebook friend that saying “all lives matter” is insensitive and doesn’t make sense but maybe you should save your breath! Often, it’s like talking to a brick wall and if you’re already emotionally exhausted this is just going to be an overwhelming and volatile situation, not to mention a waste of energy.
I really struggle to scroll past ignorance. It hurts my heart to see people lacking basic human kindness and understanding. I wish I could lend them my empathy glasses, but I can’t. And I know that if I react it will only turn into a huge argument that will make me miserable and them indignant. So, what’s the point?!?!
It might be time to block or hide some people on social media! You can do this gently and simply hide them for the time being and they won’t even know. I know how we empaths hate conflict and worry about hurting the feelings of others… it’s ok… they really won’t know! In my opinion the purpose of social media isn’t to debate and hurt one another but to connect, share and uplift. So, I try to work to ensure that’s what my social does for me! It’s ok to have your own social media agenda, like I do, and it’s ok if others don’t agree with you (they likely won’t even know). Create your ideal social media communities!
Or… take a break all together! It can be difficult to avoid the angst on social media even with the most carefully cultivated feed. If that’s the case for you, take a break! Let those you’re closest to know how to reach you (if you like) and sign off. I know many of you are in Facebook groups you love and want to stay connected to. Guess what, you can turn off your feed and only see your groups. How awesome is that option?!?!
3. Create an Energy Bubble
This might sound a little crunchy but bear with me! I was trained as a massage therapist. It isn’t an uncommon field for empaths so there’s a lot of work done around energy. Because, seriously, being in the same room with people for an hour at a time and massaging them can be intense. You wouldn’t believe the kind of energy people store in their bodies that they sometimes don’t even know about let alone the physical pain you’re in contact with. It is very common that the whole room will fill with the overwhelming feeling of physical and emotional pain. If you’re an empath you know that feeling when you simply stand next to someone who’s struggling, and you can feel it emitting from their body. Well, anyway since this energy contact is common in massage it’s important to learn to protect yourself.
This is the best way I’ve come across to do it, create an energy bubble. Get comfortable and close your eyes and imagine an impenetrable bubble around you. It contains your energy and that of other’s can’t invade your bubble. What color is your bubble? Is it shiny? What shape is it? My bubble is a purplish pink iridescent sphere. Once you’ve imagined your bubble think of it as a force field. When you’re out and about or feeling emotionally overwhelmed focus on keeping that bubble up.
The simple technique of visualization helps tremendously to protect your energy and wellbeing. If the bubble concept isn’t working for you try visualizing a safe space where you feel completely at peace. This strategy can help anytime you’re feeling overwhelmed and anxious whether you’re with others, in a crowded space or all alone trying to recharge! Give it a shot!
When feeling stressed it can be very difficult to get ample rest and not getting ample rest leads to increased levels of cortisol and stress! During trying times it’s more important than ever to focus on getting plenty of sleep and down time!
Try to minimize your schedule and remove things from your to-do list. Daunting timelines and demands only compound the feelings of overwhelm and anxiety. And let’s be honest if you melt into an emotional puddle, you’re not likely to get anything done. So, give yourself some grace! Spend some time doing things you find relaxing (like a creative hobby) rather than taking on an intense workload. Consider taking on a project you’ve been looking forward to. Something fun that makes you feel productive and takes your mind off things. Just ditch the pressure.
And don’t forget to stay active. I know it might sound counterintuitive to start a workout routine or other physical activity when you’re already stressed but it’s a great outlet! Not only will it help to improve your mood and create balance in your life, but it will also help you get better quality rest!
5. Practice Self-Care
Come on, you knew this would be on the list!
It’s vitally important that you take a break from caring for everyone else to take care of yourself! Do it like it’s your JOB! Because… it is! Put self-care on your schedule in ink and be very adverse to rescheduling it! Be stubborn about it! You MUST take care of yourself or you’re useless to everyone else.
Often when I talk about self-care, I’m including nourishing and moving your body and prioritizing your health. Yeah, that’s all true here but it isn’t enough! You need to take that warm luxurious bath, cuddle up with a good book and your favorite cup of tea, take the time to watch a storm or go for a long walk alone or with your bestie! You need to be pampered and you deserve it!
A little self-care goes a long way in preventing burn out!
Pro-Tip: Do Something
It can be very difficult to see our way clear of the helpless feelings we have during times like these. But it isn’t enough to simply empathize with those who are suffering. It’s indulgent to wallow in the angst and overwhelm (sorry, not sorry… tough love)! Rather than feeling bad about the situation do something!
Reach out to organizations online and ask what you can do to help. Research the questions you have about the situation at hand. Set up a forum for open, helpful conversations. Start a book club online or with your friends to educate yourself. Volunteer! Donate! Commit to acts of kindness! There is SO much that needs to be done and can be done! Who better to do it than those who carry the burden of other’s pain! It’s a privilege and a great responsibility to have a heart so big that it feels for all the world! You know better… you must do better! (paraphrased from Dr. Maya Angelou, “when you know better, you do better”)
Empath Survival Tips
Whatever you do, know that you need time to yourself to process and recharge. You need to take care of yourself so you can do the work to help the world move forward. Empath’s are known for their huge hearts, keen intuition and kindness. Being buried in the pain of others won’t allow you to step into the position of leadership those traits naturally lend themselves too. It’s time to move past the heartache, overwhelm and anxiety and step up with kind, intuitive, heart felt solutions. More than anything, what the world needs now is for us to reach out in love! Who better to do that than those of us who already feel SO deeply?
This is a “those who care, share” post so don’t forget to pass it on! Tell me your best self-care or survival tip in the comments!