Lately I’ve been feeling VERY emotional. Is it because my life is difficult right now? No. Is it because life is difficult for some people I care about? Yes!
I’ve realized that I am a TOTAL empath!
I’ve always been aware that I’m generally empathetic, but lately it’s been much more prominent in my life and more difficult to deal with. And I bet many of you can relate!
That’s why I started thinking of ways we empaths can protect ourselves so we don’t get too drained and overwhelmed.
If you’re here, you probably already know that you’re an empath, but in case you’re not sure, here are some ways to tell.
- You can feel just as sad when something bad happens to someone you know as you would if it happened to you
- You frequently feel emotional and don’t really know why
- You may feel anxiety over jobs or tasks that will impact someone else
- You get really sad during emotional movies
- You generally feel a desire to help people and love the idea of improving the lives of others
So when you are an empath and exhibit some of these qualities, it can be very easy to get either emotionally drained or emotionally overwhelmed.
So here are 8 ways to protect your emotions as an empath
#1 Reflect on who or what causes you to feel drained or overwhelmed
Do you feel drained after watching the news? Do you feel overwhelmed when reading about problems happening in the world?
Does the same happen when someone you know is having a bad day?
Or do you have someone in your life who uses you as an emotional crutch? (Either intentionally or not)
These things can be very draining for an empath and it’s the first step to recognize them.
#2 Recognize that you can’t fight people’s battles for them
As an empath, you probably want to solve everyone’s problems because you will feel so affected by them.
Whether it’s wanting to save the world or fix all the problems of those close to you, you can’t do it all.
That isn’t to say that you can’t do your part to help the world or your loved ones, but recognize that you can only do so much – and that you do need to take care of your mental wellness first.
#3 Give what is within your comfortable range
So we already know that you would do anything for the people you care about, but let’s be real – you have limits. You can’t do it all.
Figure out what is reasonable for you that you can help with and do that.
You’ll feel good about contributing, but you won’t feel overwhelmed or drained.
Related Article: 100 Self-Care Activities
#4 Determine your boundaries and stick to them
You can take #3 a step further and really figure out what you are able to give to others while still protecting your own emotional health.
A little exercise I like to do is think about about what “fills my cup” and what “empties my cup”.
There’s a popular saying, “you can’t pour from an empty cup”, meaning that you can’t help or give to others if you aren’t at your best (or at least at a good emotional level).
Make sure you stay away from the things that empty your cup.
If you are constantly doing things for people that empty your cup, you will burn out.
If you’re getting drained by trying to please everyone, here are some tips:
-in any area of life, whether it’s at work or in your personal life, know that it’s ok to say no to things!
-be genuine and express that you just don’t have the emotional capacity right now
-if you do want to help people but you just find they drain you a bit too much, set a limit. Let them know you are there for them, but tell them in advance that you can only give so much time
-recognize that each person is in charge of their own lives and, whether they realize it or not, it will benefit them to work through their problems on their own.
If there are people who continuously draining your energy and causing you negative emotions, you MUST communicate with them clearly.
Let them know how they can affect you in a calm and nice way.
Tell them that there are certain things you can’t help with and suggest someone that can help them (therapist, professional advisor, etc.)
If you let people know that you care, and that you actually might care too much, they will be more understanding.
Let them know that you are still there to listen, but that sometimes you need a break. Again, suggest therapy or counselling (or even a helpline) if you feel like they need more help or if you are worried that they are in a crisis.
If it’s a co-worker or boss that is draining your energy by being demanding, callous, mean, or anything else that makes you feel upset – communication is key.
As an empath, you will take on that energy so strongly and it will not be a good environment for you.
And although it might seem scary to confront someone you work with (especially one who might be a little bit scary to you), it will be much better for you in the long run to at least try to make things better for yourself.
#6 Make time for self-care!!!
You need a you day! You NEED self-care in order to re-charge your mental energy.
Remember how we talked about filling your cup? Well in my mind, self-care is the best way to fill your cup.
Make sure that you do the things that fill your cup!
You can check out my post on 100 self-care ideas or sign up to get TONS of self-care worksheets, journal exercises, and tips on happy and healthy living!
Journaling is an incredible way to release your emotions if you are feeling bogged down by them.
You can use stream of consciousness journaling to let go and release all of your thoughts onto paper.
You can also use guided exercises like the 5 why’s and a thought dissection exercise. You can get them by following the links or you can download my free self-care worksheets above, so you can get beautiful printable worksheets (you can also fill them in my editing the pdfs).
Just write down how you feel and that can help you get your thoughts and feelings out of your mind and body.
#8 Consider therapy, counselling, or coaching
Sometimes these empathetic feelings can really affect you, and that’s ok.
Sometimes there are toxic people that are hard to escape from.
Therapy or counselling is an excellent way to deal with your emotions. Whether you feel anxious, overwhelmed, or just need advice on how to deal with different people and situations in your life!
You can also consider online therapy, which is a great way to get counselling and therapy from the comfort of your own home!
Great post! I’m very empathic and this is definitely something I have struggled with. Sometimes it’s important to mentally put a little distance between yourself and other’s issues so that you can listen but not take them on, goes with setting boundaries as you said.
I have just come across your post, and I am very empathic and this will help me alot I am looking forward from hearing from you
that’s so great! I’m glad to hear it! It can be hard being an empath sometimes, so I’ll try to write some more articles about it!