What is an empath? Am I an empath? And if so, how do you deal with being an empath?!
In this article, we're going to address what an empath is so you can discover if you are one or not (you probably are if you're even reading this article!).
For empaths it is so crucial to have solid self-care tools in your back pocket. Today I'm going to share my best self-care techniques that help me as an empath.
What is an empath?
What's an empath versus a highly sensitive person, versus an introvert? There are some unique differences in each that I'll quickly explain, even though they do overlap and you could easily be all three:
Empath: an empath is a person who can intuitively pick up on and even absorb the emotional and physical feelings of others. They are usually very giving of themselves and it's common to find empaths working as healers and in heart-centered work. They need alone time every day in order to clear energy that isn't theirs and process their emotions.
Highly Sensitive Person: a highly sensitive person is someone who is biologically more affected by external stimuli. Bright lights, loud sounds, scratchy fabrics and strong flavors are all experienced by these people at a more intense level. They also easily pick up on subtle emotional cues and cognitively process things on a deeper level. They need alone time every day to decompress their nervous system and process their day.
Introvert: an introvert is a person who gets their energy from going inwards and spending time alone. They need down time every day to recharge the energy they've lost through social interaction.
Am I an empath?
After reading the above descriptions, you may have found that you are an empath, or perhaps all of the above. I know that I personally resonate with all three descriptions. My husband is an empath and introvert, but not highly sensitive.
As an empath, you are picking up pieces of others throughout the day and misplacing parts of yourself. We are sponges, absorbing everything that is around us all day long.
Being an empath really does mean that you need to take greater care of yourself in order to flourish.
When an empath is not practicing self-care, they are much more prone to mental illnesses such as depression and a general feeling of being overwhelmed with life.
Below are my self-care tips for empaths. Being one myself, I've come to learn and appreciate so much about myself that I thought made me broken before.
But you are not broken, defective, or in need of fixing. You have a gift, and here is how you bring it out.
7 Crucial Self-Care Tips for Empaths
1. Own who you are & where you've been
This first tip is technically not a daily self-care tool, but it's something that I believe every empath should have going on in the background of their self-care.
A lot of empaths experienced something traumatic or shame-inducing during childhood and this is actually one way in which they've developed the ability to be so aware of extremely subtle energetic hints from others.
Even if you didn't experience trauma, it's very easy to pick up on toxic shame that isn't yours as a young child. This shame secretly follows you like a dark cloud affecting everything that you do in life without you even realizing it.
Either way, I have found it extremely beneficial to connect with the trauma/shame, heal it and acknowledge its purpose in my journey.
As an empath, you hold a special healing energy because you are able to connect with the darkness in others in a way that most people can't.
Any darkness that you experienced and hold within yourself is actually the light you carry that heals others.
Don't ever try to stuff away, ignore, or hide who you are or where you've been. It was not in vain and it holds great meaning in your life and in the life of others.
Make it an ongoing self-care project to heal your wounds, find their purpose, and never doubt the healing power your experiences hold.
Own and love who you are.
2. Practice daily grounding
Grounding brings me instant relief. Laying my forehead on a cool surface. Bare feet on grass, dirt or natural surface. Touching a plant, a tree trunk, or an animal.
The calm, soothing energy instantly runs through me and helps me center myself.
I love black tourmaline and hematite crystals. I keep them on necklaces and bracelets and wear them when I leave my house. When I'm around others and begin feeling anxious, I simply run my fingers along the crystals on my wrist or necklace and am reminded to take a deep breath.
Grounding brings you back to the present moment within yourself and can be easily and inconspicuously practiced throughout the day.
Take moments throughout your day to connect with healing, calm energy.
3. Daily alone time
When you're a highly attuned person, you need daily alone time in order to let your system have a break and gently release what isn't yours.
No matter where you are, it's possible to find a quiet place for even just a few minutes. A bathroom, closet, car, etc.
Find a quiet spot away from others, take deep breaths and just let your body and mind be still.
4. Develop boundaries
For many reasons, empaths need to learn to develop strong boundaries.
One reason is that others pick up on your empathic energy and feel really good, even healed, from confiding their stresses and worries to you. This isn't a bad thing but as an empath you do need to make sure you are protecting your own energy.
I have become much more conscious of the conversations I have with others so that I don't unknowingly emotionally entangle myself. Otherwise I can become engulfed and find myself depressed and sick with worry for them.
The best way I've found to distance myself emotionally while still being there for someone is to remind myself that they do not need saving.
Every person is here on a spiritual journey that their soul set out to take, and every person is guided by their higher self.
Just because we judge a situation to be bad doesn't mean it is when you look at it from a spiritual standpoint. Soul lessons are being learned for that person, and I keep that in mind when someone is processing their situation with me.
Other boundaries for empaths include saying yes more often to yourself in order to maintain your own health, which means saying no more often to others.
This is one I'm currently working on. I hate to let others down or worry that I'll make them feel bad if I say no, but wearing myself down does no favors to anyone.
Say yes only to things that you truly feel drawn to do. Learn to gracefully and unapologetically say no to everything else.
5. Clear your mind
When you're taking on so many emotions and feelings from others every day, it can leave your mind racing and feeling overwhelmed.
I think the reason I love to journal so much is simply because I can release all of the thoughts I'm having onto the paper and release them. It's like closing lots of open tabs on a browser.
I don't keep a strict daily journal or anything, but when I feel like I've got too many racing thoughts and feelings, I take out my journal and start with "I've been feeling..." and just release everything.
You don't need to be a writer or even like writing. This is just a process to release the pent up thoughts, energy and feelings you've been carrying around.
6. Protection bubble
One thing that might sound crazy but that has helped me tremendously is visualizing a white bubble surrounding me whenever I'm out in public. You can even visualize that you're invisible and that no one can see you.
For whatever reason, this can really work. It makes me feel less anxious and even cozy in my bubble! I feel protected from other's energy and that's all that matters.
I always do this when I'm shopping in stores or anytime I'm around a lot of people.
7. Call your energy back in
This is one of the most powerful tools in my empath self-care toolkit.
Every night before I fall asleep, I release all the energy that isn't mine and send it back to its owners. I say "I now release all of the energy that isn't mine and lovingly send it back to it's owner."
I then call all the parts of myself that got scattered throughout the day to come back to me. For this I say "I now call back all the parts of me that got displaced today to come back to me." I imagine spaces being filled within me.
This simple but powerful practice helps me fall asleep feeling whole, calm and at ease.
This cleanses your energy, ridding yourself of emotions that aren't yours and replacing them with any lost parts of yourself. It truly feels SO good.
Being an empath can make you feel as if you're too sensitive, too caring, or that you're just an open emotional nerve that needs fixing. But as I said, you don't fixing–you just need special maintenance 🙂
I hope you enjoyed this article. I've also created several transformational worksheet bundles that have helped me immensely as an empath, which you can find in my online shop.
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Lots of love,