If you’re someone who absorbs other people’s emotions and energies, you might find yourself easily exhausted. And, right now, with so much pain all around us, you might feel completely depleted and burnt out after internalizing the anxiety, anger, stress, and sadness.
According to Tanya Carroll Richardson, a professional intuitive who works with empaths, “Empaths have a hyper-perceptive emotional and energetic system, which means they simply pick up on more,” leading them to become overstimulated very quickly.
Thankfully, you don’t have to stay in this overwhelming state; you might even be able to prevent it, protecting and effectively caring for your empathic tendencies.
Richardson, author of the forthcoming book Self-Care for Empaths: 100 Activities to Help You Relax, Recharge, and Rebalance Your Life, suggested these simple but powerful self-care practices:
Create a grounding routine. Richardson notes that this is one of the best ways to calm an empath’s sensitive system. It could look like: having the same sleep and wake times; taking a walk every morning; listening to the same weekly podcast; or attending the same virtual yoga class every Thursday. What kind of nourishing anchors can you include in your day or week? This gives you something calming to look forward to and helps you stabilize and soothe your energy.
Create daily buffers. Think of this as “cocooning your sensitive system to create a buffer against overstimulation and unnecessary drama each day to help your batteries recharge,” said Richardson. These, too, can be simple gestures, such as: “reading an uplifting book before bed, solving a puzzle with the kids, or snuggling with a pet and watching an episode of your favorite comedy,” she said.
Create a sanctuary at home. This could be a large space like a studio or a shared space like a bathroom, writes Richardson in Self-Care for Empaths. For shared spaces to become an instant oasis, you might first set the intention that this is your sanctuary time, put on soothing music, and spray calming lavender essential oil, she writes.
To help you create your sanctuary, Richardson suggests reflecting on these questions: Where in your home does your energy feel most peaceful, open, and inspired? What sounds or scents would you like to hear there? What energy or mood do you want to foster? Which sacred or special objects would you like to keep there? How can this space become physically comfortable?
Enter observer mode. This helps you support and care for your loved ones, colleagues, and even strangers without absorbing their energy or emotions. Start by pulling back into your own energy by picturing a cape or cloak around you. Visualize what it looks like. Instead of feeling with the person or trying to change their emotion, get curious, making sure to stay in your head versus your heart. This gives them the safe space to process their emotions. Richardson shares this example in her book:
“Oh, that’s interesting. This cashier seems a little bored and down. I’m getting the intuitive information that it’s because there is something in her life outside of work she’s unhappy about. I’ll be sure to smile at her when she gives me my receipt. It has nothing to do with me, so I’ll let these observations fade away as I walk out of the store.”
You also might imagine space between your energy body and someone else’s or imagine it shrinking back into your physical body as if your physical body were a shield.
Some empaths have been taught to fear their sensitivity or think their sensitivity prevents them from handling certain challenges, situations, professions, or relationships, said Richardson. Maybe you’ve been taught to view it as a burden or a nuisance.
However, your empathic nature is an asset. A gift. The key is to find ways to manage your sensitivity, taking compassionate care of yourself.
How will you honor your empathic tendencies today?