October 25, 2019

How Empaths can Survive Work Overwhelm.

I am an empath, and until I had a grasp on my empathic gifts, working in a cubicle was torture.

I would spend a lot of time in the bathroom stall with tears silently falling, my shoulders shaking from sobbing without a clue of what just happened or why I was feeling so lost and hurt.

Do you go into work happy and within seconds of being there become moody and withdrawn? How about depressed or angry? Are your emotions flickering on and off as if you were a light switch?

As empaths, we feel everything deeply, whether it is emotional, physical, or mental perceptions. And if we are unaware of our gifts, we not only feel it, but actually take on others’ emotional, physical, or mental ailments as our own.

To add insult to injury, if we are not aware of what is going on, we will often create a mental story to explain away all the emotions we are feeling. We’ll bring up negative self-talk, old baggage, stories, fights, or even think about what negativity the future will bring.

When I worked full time, there were days I left my job feeling like a mac truck had plowed me over and then reversed over me again. I would feel totally drained and exhausted. I would come home and not want to do a thing. Yet life continued and I had things I needed to do, such as cook dinner, get lunch ready for the next day, clean, or try to do a little work on my own business. Overwhelmed by others’ energy, I had very little patience left to consciously offer to anyone else in my life. I had used up all my resources.

As empaths, when we work a job, not only are we dealing with our own issues, but with whatever we pick up from others.

Here are some common empathic themes and how to deal with them during the day.

These ideas and tools, if used consistently, will help you to preserve your energy so that when you leave work, you can genuinely and intentionally connect with your family, or create more time for yourself.

Negativity from others and being emotionally overwhelmed.

Do you feel one emotion and all of a sudden, another emotion comes to play?

Not only are you picking up on other’s emotions, you are also dealing with the negativity of the environment.

To identify what emotions are not our own, we can create an empath symbol.

My symbol is a bear, and when I see it, I know that what I am feeling does not belong to me.

Every morning, ask the universe to show you your symbol when what you are feeling is not yours. This will start to connect you with your own energy, and will also reveal with presence over time how much energy you pick up as an empath during the day.

When you see your empath symbol, breathe and center yourself. You can use a grounding visualization, and when you are done wash your hands with the intention of clearing any emotions you may have picked up that are not yours.

Empaths can be sensitive to noise.

Noise from a lot of talking, phones ringing, printers constantly running, or hearing people chew can set empaths on edge.

We all know the feeling when someone in the next cubicle over chews with their mouth open, or listens to the same music over and over. After a while, it can wear on our nerves—especially if we are tired or not feeling well. Because throwing something over the cubicle wall is frowned upon, I had a pair of headphones that I used constantly.

Tuck away a pair of ear buds or head phones—if you can get away with it, use the noise-cancelling kind. Listen to podcasts that have positive, uplifting messages, or music that raises your vibration.

And never be afraid to ask for what you need. Request others’ music be toned down, or politely request that they chew with their mouth closed. The worst someone can say is no. Often, people are unaware of their effect on others.

Empaths find that they are sensitive to certain lighting.

Florescent lights are on the top of that list. If you have lighting in other areas such as natural light from a window, or light from another area, ask for your light to be removed. Remember it never hurts to ask.

Empaths attract people who want to share their issues.

People feel heard and validated when sharing their issues with an empath. However, as an empath at work, you get to choose when and if you want to hear these stories. Remember that.

Make sure you are grounded before you even walk into work, and be sure to clear any energy you pick up from people sharing their struggles. You can do this by washing off your hands as a symbol of removing what is not yours from your body. If you are tired, or do not feel well, set boundaries. Ask someone to come back if you do not have the time to be a supportive listener. Go to lunch with them instead of letting them stand at your desk for 20 minutes or longer as they share their challenges and feelings.

We all need to make sure we take care of ourselves. You are not here to save everyone. Self-care is a must for empaths.

Empaths tend to have a hard time sticking up for themselves.

I had to deal with a manager who felt it was acceptable to mistreat workers. Every time I had to go into this manager’s office, I would feel my energy shrink in on me, and my shoulders come forward. It was as if I could hide in plain sight.

But with strong boundaries, we can definitely deal with even the nastiest of managers.

Stop shrinking in, and stand up tall. When dealing with my former manager, I imagined while standing there that I was cutting any cords with him so that I would not pick up the emotions emitted during a temper tantrum. If I had a meeting that I knew about ahead of time, I would visualize how I wanted the meeting to go, and the type of energy that I wanted to be infused into that space.


We can all try and benefit from the use of these tools, but when we start dreading going into work, that should be used as a red light telling us that it is time to move on. In some cases, it might even be a sign that it is time to do something different and aligned with ourselves.

Sometimes this is the scariest step you can take by listening to your intuition, yet this can also be the most rewarding move.

This is what I know without a doubt: the happier you are within yourself, the easier emotions flow through you as an empath.


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