Let’s face it. There is a LOT of really horrible stuff happening in the world and sensationalized in the news these days, and it’s easy to feel helpless and overwhelmed by the constant onslaught.
For those of us who are sensitive or empaths, we FEEL everything that much more intensely and can go into shutdown or paralysis mode, or else be tempted to go stick our head in the sand and pretend everything is ok in our own little bubbles. Neither option is healthy or productive!
It's important to stay aware of what's happening so we can take positive action and do our part to make a difference, but equally important to protect our own energy so we aren't swept away in the current of despair.
Today I’m sharing a few self care techniques that you can practice to protect your energy while still taking action.
5 ways to protect your energy when you're a sensitive empath (and the world is going to sh*t)
1. Set boundaries
This is so freaking important, especially since we live in a time where we’re bombarded 24/7 with news and social media updates. We’re constantly consuming so much information and have to be very intentional with where we spend our attention and focus!
On social media, set clear boundaries around how you use your apps and what people you follow. Unfollow anyone who does not add value or positivity to your life.
Be very aware of how you feel when you consume news from TV, paper, magazines, radio, etc. I personally don’t watch news on TV because it’s so sensationalized, and I try not to read the paper first thing in the morning when I’m most sensitive.
Where is your energy throughout the day? When do you feel more resilient, and when are you more vulnerable to negativity or anxious thoughts?
I try to start my mornings unplugged with journaling, meditation or affirmations (if I am rocking at life) and personal development reading so I can fill my own positivity and love cup before opening my inbox or facing the world. It gives me so much more resiliency to better respond to the rest of my day instead of going through on autopilot, reacting to whatever happens to me.
If you have people in your life who trigger you, remember that no one can “make” you feel anything so get curious about where your negative feelings are coming from. Work through whatever comes up (get help from a therapist or coach if you need to!) or else remove yourself from situations that don’t allow you to be your best self.
2. Turn guilt into gratitude
It’s easy to feel guilty for everything. Being white, being privileged, being safe and unaffected by the latest tragedy du jour, etc etc etc.
Guilt comes when we feel that there is something wrong with us. And there is nothing wrong with you!! If your heart goes out to someone or something, do what you can to help by sending donations or volunteering your time, but try flipping your guilt into gratitude.
Be grateful or at the very least appreciateive for everything you have, because the world needs more positive energy!
3. Feel your feelings
It’s ok to not know how to feel, or how to react or respond. It’s ok to be an emotional rollercoaster. Sometimes we just have to sit and marinate or process our feels. Again, seek help via a therapist, coach, or counselor if your feelings are too intense for you to process on your own!
4. Get support
I’ll say it again because this is so important: get support! Whether that’s your friend, mom, or a professional. It’s easy to feel like we’re all alone in whatever we’re dealing with, especially on social media when it looks like everyone else has their lives together. Instead of falling into an isolation trap, reach out. Spend face-to-face time with your friends, family, and people who love you. Talk stuff out. If your friends or family have different opinions or views than you, please don’t build walls but rather be open minded and curious about their beliefs. If we seek to understand each other instead of building walls, we can realize we all belong to the same common humanity. We’re all in this together and whatever you’re going through, you are NOT alone.
5. Keep your cup full so you can be the light.
What does this mean?
We all have a limited amount of mental and emotional energy in our "cups" to spend each day. It’s so important to keep our cups full so we have extra energy to show up in our lives and pay it forward to others. We can’t contribute positive energy to our jobs and families, much less the world, if we have zero energy to give and that's what leads to burnout and feeling resentful or depleted.
We can replenish our positive energy stores by spending more time doing things that make us happy. It's pretty simple, really! Easy to do, but easy not to do since we tend to put our own needs on the backburner.
So let me officially give you permission to BE SELFISH in a good way! What do you need?
Get out into the woods. Drink too much wine with your besties. Snuggle your baby or peet. Go out for date night and leave your phone at home. Call your grandma and let her talk to you for as long as she wants. Try a new recipe that looks ridiculously complicated and see what happens with a backup plan so you don't have to worry if it is an epic fail. Blow bubbles. Watch the sunset or sunrise.
There's that Mr. Rogers quote about "look for the helpers" but maybe we should ask ourselves how we can BE the helpers -- in our every day lives, not just in an emergency.
Be your own best friend.