LIFE AS AN EMPATH: 10 TIPS TO RECHARGE YOUR PHYSICAL WELL BEING
I was having a discussion the other day with a hairstylist friend about living life as an Empath. Like me, she spends her days talking to women who are coming to her for a boost. It is very much the same for me as a boudoir photographer.
Both of our jobs often involve listening to their dilemmas, sorrows, vulnerabilities fears and deep dark secrets. In a sense, many people in the creative, medical, social services, and first responder type careers are dealing with the same thing. And — at the end of the day, we are all MENTALLY DEPLETED. That manifests physically sometimes.
Some of us are better at compartmentalizing our empathy than others. But some of us…whoa boy…we get physical manifestations from feeling others’ energy, in that it simply becomes overwhelming in all realms — physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
I found myself in this state last week. After busy week of photographing boudoir clients, dealing with my children’s tantrums and their frenetic schedules, and “being there” for friends who were on the emotional brink of destruction… I HAD ENOUGH. LIMITS REACHED. Cue the irrational explosion.
Because, I was essentially mired in a cloud of negativity that was not my own.
As a result, I was simply wasn’t able to function in a way that would be suitable for me, my clients, or my family the rest of the week. Everything began to upset me, and I needed a “shutdown” to take a break from things pulling me down. It felt like I had an anchor tied to me, with a rope that’s too short.
This “Shutting down” on the people you care about is a horrible feeling for an empath, and is counter to the nature of many of us. On one hand, you know you need to step away to save yourself; but THEY can feel slighted that their needs or attention isn’t being met, too. They rely on this quality in you, too.
And if helping and healing people is the true nature of an empath, this experience takes us out of our “center” and creates guilt and resentment. But still — that cloud of negativity… you need an umbrella for your physical well being.
“Physical empathy doesn’t have to overwhelm us; now that I can center myself and refrain from taking on other people’s pain, empathy has made my life more compassionate, insightful, and richer.” - The Elephant Journal
I took to to the Internet, and Compiled a list of 10 Coping Strategies To Stop Absorbing Other People’s Illness, Stress & Pain
Distance. Distance is my first go-to, but it doesn’t just mean shutting people out. It is a game of physics — getting your positive nucleus away from the negatively charged source. “When possible, place yourself a minimum of twenty feet from the suspected source. See if you feel relief.” Change seats, leave the room, move to a different space, leave that energy field.
Breathe, Breathe. If all this yoga and pilates I do teaches me anything, it is the importance of being aware of your inhale and exhale. But it’s not just woo woo stuff. We are rebalancing our oxygen, changing our physics and chemistry to the situation. Breathe and rebalance, it will soothe you.
What is your “Meridian”? When I absorb too much, or am holding too much in, I get a tightness in my throat and I feel like someone is standing on my chest. Breathe and take a moment to see where you are feeling it, and fixate on it. Put your hand there and hover… just soothe, mentally hug that area with your hand.
Saying No and Boundaries. No, is not a 4 letter word. “I can’t at the moment” is OK too. You are no good to anyone if you accept things that are not serving you in this state.
Get in the Water. Swim, Take a bath or shower, jacuzzi, immerse. I am a Pisces *(even a former swimmer!) so my orientation to the world is to be near, by and in the water. It is a rapid way to drown stress out of you and immerse in depths of nothingness and comfort. If I am overwhelmed, I take a bath and put coconut bath spa in it. I am literally soaking off the negativity.
What’s Yours… Isn’t Mine. Is what I am feeling my pain or theirs? Should I be putting this much energy into it? I am typically guilty of this. But I have to ask myself, are they triggering something within me, or is this their independent issue?
Quickies. NO, NOT THAT KIND! haha. I am talking about meditation quickies. Close your eyes for a few minutes and zone out wherever you can. I am pretty weak at meditating, but there are great apps to help. Surf City hypnosis apps for iPhone are some of the best.
“Develop X-ray vision. The spaces between the vertebrae in your lower back (lumbar spine) are conducive to eliminating pain from the body. It’s helpful to learn to mindfully direct pain out of these spaces by visualizing it leaving your body. Say goodbye to pain as it blends with the giant energy matrix of life!” — This is a great one I garnered from the Elephant Journal.
Hard Core Exercise. We all know what endorphins can do for our brain, but I work out a lot of angst by doing even 10 minutes of rigorous cardio. I focus on that negativity when I run sprints and PUSH… Or I box it out in a round of kickboxing. It truly works and helps you dispel that pent up anger.
Sleep. Sometimes the easiest thing to do in order to escape all that negative energy and pain is just to sleep. Before you go to bed, make a promise to yourself that tomorrow is a new day… that you get to RESET on the daily. And your outlook and empathic symptoms will disappear after some time in dreamland.
These ten tips are about creating that bubble of protection for your physical self, so that your empathic, spiritual self can do a better job coping for your needs and the needs of others. Give it a try. Let me know how it works for you, too!