Empaths, or highly sensitive people, feel everything all around them deeply. They pick up on energy, subtle or not, from environmental cues and daily surroundings at all times. One of the major downsides of being an empath, despite many of the secret blessings, is getting mentally drained very quickly, especially if you absorb other people’s emotions and feelings on a constant basis.
For highly sensitive people (HSP) the risk of mental burnout and fatigue is very high. At times it can take quite a toll to mentally discern/untangle your inner voice and feelings/emotions from that of others. Some of the most amazing benefits of being a HSP include picking up on details and subtleties that others might miss, being an astute judge of character, and reflecting on all those details. Despite all this, empaths have a tendency to move a lot slower, think a little deeper, and need more downtime than others non-HSPs.
The summer can be a very stressful time for empaths. While being a fun and relaxed season for the most part, empaths might feel a need to disconnect more often from their environment, when it all seems like “too much” to take in, especially with parties, bar barbecues, less rigid structures/routines, and more opportunities for socialization. The following are some self care tips for empaths that can be utilized at any time to disconnect, unwind, and bring yourself back to feeling more recharged.
Get more sleep. Don’t go without less than eight hours of sleep for more than two nights in a row. If you’re an HSP, you might need even more sleep than others because your nervous system is constantly on overdrive, and you’re more likely to experience emotional burnout. Sleep de-stresses and revitalizes your nervous system, giving you more power to function throughout the day.
Listen to your body. Make a point of checking in with your body and emotions throughout the day. Notice when you feel yourself reacting negatively or beginning to feel overwhelmed. At the very beginning of those feelings, and not after they’ve had time to grow and snowball, take time out to recharge. If possible, spend time alone, even if it’s as simple as taking a quick five-minute walk away from your stressors and distractions.
Make friends with other HSPs. Finding people who can empathize and understand your needs is a treasure, especially for HSPs who may feel misunderstood because of their sensitivities and unique ways of viewing the world.
Declutter. If you don’t feel relaxed when you walk into your home, scan your environment and change the things that make you feel stressed. Declutter your wardrobe, tidy your kitchen, and embrace minimalism. HSPs tend to be highly affected by their surroundings, so even the sight of clutter can make them feel unnecessarily stressed.
Eat dark chocolate, and don’t feel guilty about it. It’s packed with antioxidants and provides a strong, positive sensory experience for the HSP.
Go for a walk by yourself. Walking, especially among nature, helps clear the mind and sparks creativity. Find your local trail, and consider hiking.
Practice authenticity. Know what your values are and honor them. Stop looking for approval from others and find it within. Create routines and rituals that fuel your confidence and strength, even if they don’t make sense to other people. Do what works for you. Stop being your own worst enemy and treat yourself with kindness, patience, and forgiveness. This all takes effort but it’s worth it.
Take yourself out on a date. The options of what to do are endless but the idea here is to take yourself somewhere you want to go, and to do something you want to do. Being truly comfortable with yourself is very crucial. Most people run away at the thought of being alone with their thoughts. Empaths, on the other hand, embrace it as a time to decompress and reconnect with their innermost selves.
Listen to music. It’s a source of healing and wellbeing, and has been scientifically shown to reduce anxiety and provide pain relief when one starts to feel overwhelmed.
Remove yourself from toxic people and situations. Being nice and being a doormat are two very different things. Falling into the doormat category isn’t uncommon for harmony loving HSPs. It is important to hold your own convictions, and to be strong in who you are, without resorting to people pleasing behaviors. Each time you do, it’s an act of self-care and deep love.
Exercise. Just get moving, and vary your routine. Mix up your routine, whether it’s going to the gym, doing yoga, pilates, or going for a light jog.
Log off social media. Scrolling through people’s statuses and feeds can lead to negative feelings. Everyone’s life seems perfectly polished, and problem free, presented at its very best, making you feel as though you’re the only one struggling in life. A social media detox can be a form of self-care.
Get lost in a book. Curl up on the couch and let the power of stories carry you away from reality for a little while.
Do something creative. Even if it’s trying to paint, draw, or make dessert for the first time. Try it and have fun. Chances are you will find it therapeutic and deeply satisfying.
Hug your pet if you have one. Animals provide a loving and cathartic connection/release and don’t ask too much of us in return. It also lowers your stress hormones, and blood pressure. Just petting your animal for a minute or two is enough to provide these stress relieving benefits.
Breath intentionally. Learn how to breathe deeply and purposefully. Listen to your breathing. Meditate. Inhale and exhale thoughtfully.
Travel. Life at times can make you feel like you’re stuck in a rut. Taking a vacation or just changing the scenery, even if it’s just down the road, can work wonders. Just one trip away, however close, could help change your outlook on life for the better and recharge your mental state. Traveling in and of itself can sometimes be overwhelming for HSPs, but there are things you can do to enjoy it more. Seek out what brings you the most joy.
Although these self care tips can benefit everyone, empaths specifically can benefit the most from the tips above. The next time someone will tell you that you are too sensitive, you can look at them and smile, knowing that you have a precious and unique gift that they, through no fault of their own biological makeup, clearly don’t possess. Being equipped with this knowledge can help with your positive mental outlook on life come fall, and into the seasons beyond.