If you’re an empath, you know that it can be both a blessing and a curse in many ways. While your high level of sensitivity allows you to perceive other’s emotions easily and offer them support, it also sometimes leads to feeling overwhelmed and drained. Embracing your sensitive nature is important for self-acceptance, but if you find yourself wishing your empathic abilities away more often than not, here are some tips to help you live a more balanced life.
Take Note Of What Drains You
Understanding what drains you is the first step towards better understanding your highly sensitive nature and getting better control over your emotions. Take note of when you feel like things are off in your life. Does it happen when you spend time with certain people, engage in certain activities, or go to certain places? Sometimes, certain people, places, or tasks are unavoidable, but the fear or negativity surrounding these things doesn’t have to control you. When you’re able to recognize what drains you, you can take the appropriate steps to counteract this negativity.
For some empaths, just being aware of their emotional triggers is extremely helpful. When you can, avoid the places, people, and things that take a negative toll on you. When you cannot avoid them, be sure to schedule extra time into your day or week to focus on finding the balance and support you need to stay healthy.
Define Your Boundaries And Stick To Them
Boundaries are difficult for empaths, and sometimes, the thought of telling someone “no” can be frightening or uncomfortable. Sometimes you may think that if you say no, you’ll hurt them, or they won’t like you anymore. But being able to stand up for yourself is an important part of keeping your sanity. You may find that you are always helping coworkers with tasks that are outside of your job description, or you may find that you take on the brunt of the housework at home to save your spouse or roommates the trouble. Friends and family members may always call you for advice, and before you know it, their negative energy is infiltrating your life, and you have forgotten yourself again.
Don’t let others control your life, and don’t let the fear of saying no” stop you from caring for yourself and being true to your needs. Clearly define what you will and will not do for others and let those people know what your boundaries are. While it can be challenging, stand firm. A boundary shouldn’t be bent or broken unless the circumstances are clear. If you tell your friend you can only listen to them complain about work once a week and you don’t stay firm about it, you may find that you start resenting this friend or that their negative energy is taking a toll on you. While it’s rare that a friend would take advantage of you, if they aren’t aware of your boundaries, they won’t know if they’re breaking them. On the other hand, when you practice setting boundaries and sticking to them, it can empower your life and put you back in control.
Create A Safe Space
Empaths and highly sensitive people need to have a place to escape to when negative energy seems overwhelming. Creating a calming retreat is a great idea. Start with a space that feels cozy and comfortable, and fill it with soft light, favorite objects like pillows, soft blankets, and decorative items, and make sure that everyone you live with knows that when you’re spending time in that space, it means you would like to be alone. This safe space can be your escape from the pressures of daily life. When spending time in your safe space, you can meditate, read, or just enjoy your own company.
Practice Extra Self Care
Self-care is important for everyone, but empaths are notorious for putting themselves last. Take an inventory of what self-care looks like for you. Of course, the basics like eating regularly, exercising enough, and getting restful sleep every night is important, but for some people, self-care can be remembering to take medication and supplements, or using sick time at work to take a mental health day. Be sure to take note of when you’re spending more time on other people than you are on yourself.
For empaths, self-care can also be striving to understand your own nature better, and learning to use your gifts to the fullest degree. Sometimes, joining a support group, meditating or practicing mindfulness, journaling your feelings, and regularly spending time with people who lift you can help you understand yourself more fully and make the most of your empathic abilities. Spending time outdoors connecting with nature can also be a great form of self-care, as empaths often feel a connection to the natural world.
Take Time For Yourself
Empaths are, by nature, extremely giving people, but, as the saying goes, you cannot pour from an empty cup. Empaths and highly sensitive people need to set aside some time to focus on themselves and not on the people around them. This can give you time to rest, recharge, engage in enjoyable activities, and detach from the stress and negativity that sometimes finds its way into your life. Don’t feel guilty about wanting to get away from other people. Even the people you love the most and enjoy spending time with can sometimes be draining.
Feeling responsible for other people’s emotions is common among sensitive people, so it’s understandable that there are times when you just need to get away. Set aside a few minutes every day to meditate, take a relaxing bath, read a chapter of a book, listen to a favorite song, or enjoy a favorite drink or snack. Even just a few minutes can give you the recharge you desperately need. And don’t forget to schedule longer getaways now and then. A spa day, a personal vacation, or some alone time in nature can give you the space you need to think, relax, and center yourself.