First things first. Breathe.
Now. Didn’t that feel better?
If you live in the United States and have even a little bit of empathic ability, this last week has probably been extremely rough for you. Violence, hateful rhetoric, confusion, anger, and chaos have been on the forefront of almost everyone’s minds since the events in Charlottesville, VA, over the weekend.
For U.S. empaths, the last year or so has been especially difficult, from the vitriolic Presidential campaign to the chaotic aftermath. Just functioning in this atmosphere of fear, mistrust, outrage, and frustration can be an enormous challenge for those of us who feel our surroundings more than others.
As a service to our more sensitive readers, we at the Two Ladies Blog are gonna crank up the Hildegard, take a deep breath, and offer a few tips for surviving what feels like the End of Days.
- Breathe. I realize we’ve already mentioned this, but it was so important it merited mentioning twice. Many of us have spent the past nine months in constant state of fight-or-flight. Empathic individuals have it worse, since they are susceptible not only to their own fear reactions, but to those of people around them. And in times of stress, the first thing to go is the breathing. Taking the extra effort to focus on proper breathing can lower your blood pressure, reduce anxiety, and stave off panic.
- Shield. When you’re an empath, you’re like a sticky surface in a glitter factory – it’s not long before you’re carrying a bunch of stuff you never intended to pick up. Learning to shield is essential to good emotional health. If you don’t always want to block the energies around you, there are alternatives which may work just as well for you.
- Withdraw. By now, most people are aware of the benefits of taking a technology fast – shutting down the phone, the computer, logging off social media, even ignoring the television and radio for a while. It seems during a chaotic time, though, our desire to be connected and in the know are intensified. Of course, we want to be informed, but there is a limit to how much bad news is actually needed. Sites like Facebook and Twitter, along with cable news, thrive on bad news–it’s their bread and butter. Stepping away from the news and the newsfeeds can give your overburdened brain and emotions time and space to process the glut of information you’re receiving.
- Withdraw Some More. Empaths may want to extend their fast from mere technology to social connections as well. Toxic conversations with family and friends who disagree with you either socially or politically can be extremely taxing. Even people who are pleasant and agreeable can be draining when you’re already not your best. It’s not rude or selfish to take some time for yourself. Healthy isolation can work wonders on stressed nerves and emotions.
- Be Proactive with Positivity. In times of chaos, negativity will need no encouragement. It’s in its element and surrounded by willing acolytes eager to promote it. If you want (and need) something positive to hold on to, chances are you will have to find it (or create it) yourself. Just as unchecked thoughts can trigger a negative emotional spiral, focusing on activities that enhance positivity can trigger a positive emotional spiral. From a daily gratitude list to proper body positioning, there are many ways to improve your experience of emotions.
It takes a bit of effort to coast easily above the swirling waters of chaos, but it can be done. Taking charge of your self-care may make the difference between being that empath who changes the world…or the one who gets crushed under it!