Being an empath can be challenging, as it means that you are highly sensitive to the emotions and energy of others. However, there are a few things you can do to manage your empathy and prevent it from becoming overwhelming.
But what is an empath?
An empath is a person who has a heightened ability to sense and feel the emotions, energy, and experiences of others. Empaths are able to tune into the feelings of people around them, often to the point of feeling those emotions themselves. This sensitivity can be both a gift and a challenge, as it allows empaths to be deeply compassionate and understanding, but it can also be overwhelming and draining.
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Empaths often have a strong intuition and are able to pick up on subtle cues in body language, tone of voice, and other nonverbal communication. They are often very sensitive to the emotions of others and may feel overwhelmed or drained after being around people who are experiencing strong emotions. Empaths may also have a tendency to absorb the emotions of others, which can lead to feeling overwhelmed or burdened by the emotional experiences of others.
It’s important to note that being an empath is not a scientifically recognized condition, but rather a term used to describe people who have a high degree of empathy and sensitivity to the emotions of others.
As an empath, it is challenging to live a “normal life” especially after a long cocoon stage of my spiritual and emotional healing where I have spent few years alone, getting to know myself, healing my inner child, doing my passion and just creating. Returning to school and being around other people is overwhelming and draining not to mention the weight of the lessons and lectures I am exposed with and on my third language.
However, there are strategies that I am using to cope and thrive in a school and work environment:
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Taking care of the physical, emotional, and mental well-being is crucial and became more crucial especially that I am now in my thirties and a lot has changed. I need to make sure that I am getting enough sleep especially when I am in the field.
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Here in Germany, nursing is a technical vocation where the time spent in school is equal to the same time spent in different fields of medicine unlike in my country where it is a four year degree and the practical side starts on the third year (or second year to some).
Here, after a month (or so) learning theories in the school, a month (or so) would be spent in the field and the students are already experiencing what the licensed nurses are doing but of course only up to some extent. It is tiring to be on my feet the whole day so I have to make sure that I am eating energy giving meals and engaging in regular exercises even just walking along the river to relax and meditate.
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My self-care game has been increased to a lot of notches higher since I started going back to school. I am still adjusting so it is normal to get so emotional at this point and confused which emotions and energies I have absorbed so I make sure to do more activities that help me manage my emotions.
Set healthy boundaries.
When I got clear that I’d go back to school after spending a lot of time alone, I also looked forward to meeting new people and make new friends. But it’s not as easy as I imagined it to be. The school is already exhausting enough. As much I wanted to be making new meaningful connections, boundaries must be established to protect my energy.
If I had learned how to say “no” before, I am saying more “no” this time to avoid overextending myself and even if I needed to cancel plans that I previously got excited to. I am getting better at communicating my needs to my teachers, family, friends, colleagues, classmates about the time alone and space to recharge.
Grounding techniques are helping me stay centered and connected to the present moment. I am doing a lot of deep breathing exercises, mindfulness techniques and physical activities such as walking on the sandy shore of the nearby river or on the grass to help me feel grounded. I read my favorite books or look for new books to read.
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I would make a list of all the things that I love and I would make sure to do even one of them at least an hour day to return to myself again.
Embrace your empathy.
Rather than trying to suppress or ignore my empathy, I am embracing it as a strength and a gift. I am using it to connect with others and help them in meaningful ways.
Develop coping strategies.
Identify coping strategies that work for you. It could be taking short breaks, journaling, talking to a trusted friend, or engaging in a creative outlet. Find what helps you manage stress and emotions and incorporate it into your daily routine.
For me, journaling upon waking up and before going back to sleep helps me a lot. It also helps that I know my “ride or die” people and they’re on my speed dial. I also don’t hesitate to share them my thoughts, silly jokes or funny memes I have seen.
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Though blogging and podcasting have been put on the side for now for new inspiration, I am still on Instagram often to share photos I took, graphic cards I have designed and made or quotes that made my day. Social media is a creative outlet for me and where I find like-minded people even if in real life, I don’t know anyone.
Create a support system.
Surround yourself with supportive people who understand and respect your empathic nature. Having a trusted friend, family member, or mentor who you can talk to about your feelings can provide comfort and validation. It’s not easy at first but when I allowed myself to be vulnerable and mindful enough, I have come to create a support system that I now call my “ride or die” team. I feel like the richest person alive.
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Use shielding techniques.
Shielding techniques can help protect your energy field from external energies. You can visualize yourself surrounded by a protective shield of light or imagine a bubble around you that filters out negative energies. Experiment with different techniques and find what works best for you.
Seek professional help if needed.
If you find yourself struggling with overwhelming emotions or feeling unable to cope, consider seeking support from a therapist or counselor who can provide you with tools and techniques to manage your emotions. This is one thing that I have never tried but at this point, will not hesitate to do in case I feel like my emotions are getting out of hand.
Understanding myself and healing my life made me realize that there is no shame in seeking professional help and I will not suffer in silence again like how I did before when my mental health was at its worst.
Now I understand that mental health is as important as physical health and must be a priority too.
Remember that being an empath is a gift, and with the right strategies, you can thrive in a school environment while managing your empathic abilities. Take care of yourself, set boundaries, and seek support when needed. You deserve to have a positive and fulfilling life experience.