Survival Guide for Empaths
Empaths can struggle with being emotionally overwhelmed at the best of times, especially if they are unaware of being empathic. With the added pressure of feeling the emotions of many, during the COVID-19 crisis, an empath can feel like they are losing their mind!
What does it mean to be empathic?
It means you are, by definition, a sensitive being. You are emotional and this is, truly, one of your gifts. You are able to feel deeply with your personal experiences and observations. You are a sponge, picking up on the feelings and emotions of those in your physical space; emotions shared on a podcast; or stories shared on the news and social media. You have an innate ability to take on the pain of others as if they were your own. As an empath, it is necessary to appropriately process these emotions so you do not overload your sensory intake.
Characteristics of an empath?
- People, and sometimes even strangers, confide their deepest secrets to you
- Crowds, large gatherings, parties, or shopping malls are something you prefer to avoid
- Your energy levels need to be recharged, typically with quite personal time
- You may feel an overwhelming need to help others
- Friendships and intimate relationships can feel exhausting
- You can experience extreme, unexplained emotions in certain environments
- Emotions can feel overwhelmingly heightened, especially when you do not know where they are coming from
Dangers of not setting healthy emotional boundaries
The emotional onslaught, felt by an empath, can lead to self-isolation in order to avoid the external stimulation. Without tools to identify and manage sensory overload, empaths can experience anxiety, panic attacks, fatigue, physical symptoms such as headaches and increased heart rates, and even depression.
So what is an empath to do?
Simple and easy strategies to help an empath protect themselves
- First and foremost, if you are an empath STOP WATCHING THE NEWS! You feel the suffering of others and right now you are experiencing the emotions of a global crisis. People are afraid, anxious, and they are grieving. Everyone is in survival mode, with over extended adrenals, and they are stuck in fight or flight. This means your senses are on high alert and unplugging is one concrete way of limiting your exposure to the pain of others. Remind yourself, in this moment, you are safe.
- When you find you are feeling overwhelmed, be kind to yourself. Remember you are absorbing many different emotions, from many different people, and now is NOT the time to be critical of yourself or others.
- Recognizing your feelings is important. By recognizing, acknowledging, and then identifying these feelings, it takes away their power to engulf you.
- Journaling allows another way to connect with your inner self. Putting your thoughts into words on paper, allows your energy to begin shifting and transforming.
- Mediation provides a way for an empath to ground themselves, returning to the present moment, void of the experiences and emotions of others. This is a natural way to balance your energy, to connect to yourself and what is real for you, in this moment.
- Chakras are moving energy centres in your body. Each has a specific purpose and each is connected to a specific organ in your body. Chi, or life force energy, flows through these chakras. It is very important to keep the centres free of blockage. This can be done through mediation, crystals, and even Reiki, which is an excellent way to ensure your chakras are free of clutter.
- Allow others their own journey. As empaths we want to help; we want to “fix”. Embrace the perspective of everyone being fine, and they are exactly how, and where, they are meant to be at this time. If they require your help, they will ask you for it.
- Recognize the emotions you are feeling may not be your own. Recognize this and quietly say, “This is not my stuff. Take it away.” You can also request the negative energies be returned to Mother Earth, for she can use these energies in a positive, healing manner. If these are the emotions of someone else you will feel almost instant release.
- Empaths love to be around water. Water represents the flow of life, a purification or cleansing, and much like a refreshing spring rain, can energize a depleted empath. If possible sit by an ocean, a lake, a stream, or a small creek.
- It is important for empaths to shower daily, to rinse off all they have picked up from the environment and people throughout the day. Be intentional as you ask the flowing water to wash away anything which does not belong to you. When you are washing your hands, for may seem like the 400th time today, visualize all the negative emotions running down the drain with the soap and the bubbles.
- Before you go out ground yourself by sending roots down through Mother Earth, from the soles of your feet. Wrap yourself in a protective bubble of positive energy to keep negative energies from entering and your positive energy from leaving. Imagine a hole in the top of this bubble for your own negative energy to leave and for the white light to enter.
- Carrying gemstones on your person. Each crystal has a different function and can assist you in many areas of your life. Supportive empathic stones include moss agate, quartz, tiger’s eye, lepidolite, black obsidian, and lapis lazuli. Be careful to regularly rinse them in cold water, clear them with a ringing bell, or set them outside during a full moon.
- Return to nature, barefoot if possible, and take time to be still. The most effective and healthiest way for an empath to ground and balance their energy is to walk in nature. Find a quiet place which feels peaceful and, if possible, has an abundance of trees. There is a reason you feel better after a forest walk and it is because you can breathe easier. Trees have been proven to lower blood pressure and improve your immune system by reducing stress. Further, realize you ARE able to absorb the healing vibrational energy of trees and plants; Matthew Silverstone says this will contribute to human health benefits.
- Energy vampires are real and they love to spend time with empaths, especially during a crisis. Because empaths like to help, it can be easy, almost too easy, for them to give their energy away, leaving the empath feeling personally drained from the encounter. Set boundaries (the amount of time and energy you are willing to share), make sure you have crystals on your person, and ensure you are well ground before any meeting. As a positive step for your own mental health, it is strongly suggested for you to release your relationship with anyone whom you may consider an energy vampire.
- Access the services of a practitioner who can assist you in releasing negativity stored in your body. Reiki and Access Bars are both good suggestions. Thought Field Therapy and Emotional Freedom Technique are also supportive tools which allow you to release what no longer serves you. Yoga, exercise, and Qigong are all excellent energy releasing activities, able to ground and balance you in these stressful times.
- Give yourself permission to spend time alone. Whether you are an extrovert of an introvert, if you are an empath, you will need to spend time away from others. When you give yourself this gift of silence you in turn have more to give to others. During this alone time you do not have to sit in silence but use this time to nurture your soul. Read a book, to meditate, to be creative, etc.
- Perhaps during your alone time you can practice self-care. Take a bubble bath (this may seem simplistic but warm water and soft candle light naturally relax your adrenals and helps your body to unwind), light a candle in a dark room and just be, make your favourite dinner, bake your favourite dessert, or sit in the sun.
- Finally, give yourself permission to feel good. To enjoy the life you are living. Remember each of us is on our own journey. We can send others love and support but, as an empath, do your best not to become emotionally involved. Your suffering WILL NOT diminish their pain. Play with your children, engage in a hobby you enjoy, listen to music, or dance!
In this Time of COVID-19 how do we Show up?
Showing up in times of challenge is what you are good at, especially if you have incorporated tools into your daily life and business. Empaths generally have a high emotional intelligence and you have walked this path before those who are now needing your services. You have the opportunity to a guide others in these uncertain times. You can teach others how to manage the cascade of emotions they are feeling during this COVID-19 crisis.
You have been preparing for this vibrational shift on the planet for years. You knew it was coming and now is the time to hold your vibration frequency high. Like you, I do not know what the world will look like when this is over. I am, however, confident the world will not be the same as it was before.
This is an amazing time to let go and be. To review your life decisions and to make the changes you may not have been aware were there to be made. This is the time to address any fears and to encourage individuals to look beyond what they think they see; To re-engage in critical thinking and be open to different points of view.
If we all can be a little more tolerant, accepting, and less judgemental of the points of view of others perhaps we can learn and move forward together.
Tammy Adams, Certified Coach Practitioner offering support, in-person or online, Canada-wide.
She is certified in Reiki, Mindfulness, Thought Field Therapy, The Grief Recovery Method and she designs gemstone bracelets to support your emotional wellbeing. To learn more about the services she offers book a 20 minute free consult or visit her service tab on her website at www.tadams.ca