Now can be a rocky time for empaths.
The inundation of important national news is mentally and emotionally fatiguing. The once-blurred boundaries of news media and social media are gone. Maintaining hope and positivity for our mental health is necessary.
For empaths, actively investing in yourself amidst both the COVID-19 pandemic and the public health crisis for Black lives is necessary for maintaining our overall wellness.
Here are some practical steps you can take for finding balance and for your mental health:
1. If you haven’t already, set up some boundaries. Be honest with your friends and family about your needs. Pull back if you need to or if it has been expected for you to always be available. While someone you care about may need to vent, you may find you need to pull back from being the recipient or landing pad for another’s processing.
2. Limit social media intake. Set up some parameters that make you feel more at ease in the short and long-term. While it may be a habit, starting the day with social media or news can be a rude awakening. Scrolling right before bed can also feel like a jolt when you wanted to relax.
Give yourself (and your nervous system) more peace in your schedule and block off intentional times of day, or times per day, for viewing. Giving ourselves the healthy habit of a little less social media may not be a bad response to 2020 and moving forward.
3. Check in with yourself. Do specific environments, entertainment, or content leave you feeling less than great right now? As an empath, pay attention to how any shows or movies you watch leave you feeling. Check in on yourself after chats and hangouts. Do certain conversations or environments leave you feeling drained? Check in with yourself on when you feel comfortable, restored, or energized so you can create more of these experiences moving forward.
4. Find a soothing practice every day. Your mind and body will be so thankful for it. If you can, get out for a walk in nature. Pick up a habit of breathing exercises before bed. Or, you may want to start your day with a mindfulness practice. This can look like doing breathwork, sitting in meditation, or a yoga class. Do something to bring you back to feeling grounded, present in your body, and that gives yourself time and attention.
5. Pick up gratitude. This provides a little bigger perspective and creates feelings of appreciation and hope in a time of difficult news. Find a time of day to do this (right before bed is a good one). Sit with the feelings of about three to five things you are grateful for from each day. This is also a way to work against your brain’s inherent negativity bias.
For finding my own peace of mind and heart, meditation is a part of my daily routine and spiritual practice. I fold in creative projects almost every day, like writing. I also find joy through my work, and practicing gratitude helps me to recalibrate my perspective when more difficult emotions arise.