8 Self-Care Tips for Empaths

Have you ever felt your heart clutched with anxiety right alongside the singer who experiences visible stage fright? Do you find yourself crying along with the devastating stories on the nightly news? These are just a few examples of what it might look like to experience life as an empath. Here is a helpful quiz from Doctor Judith Orloff to assess if you have empathic tendencies. 


In psychological terms, an empath is someone who deeply feels the emotions of others and is impacted by the moods of the people around them. Empaths are highly sensitive and pick up on cues from people that others may miss. Empaths open up their hearts and welcome others in, giving them a shoulder to cry on or someone to confide in. 


While empaths care greatly for those around them, this means their own physical and emotional health can sometimes suffer. If you are an empath, hang on to these tips to help you take care of yourself, too. 


1. Make your overall health and wellness a priority. 


Don’t let taking care of others stop you from caring for yourself. Find activities that replenish your reserves and find ways to incorporate them into your schedule. Read a good book. Set aside time to pray or meditate. Listen to a soundtrack that soothes you. Take your dog on a walk or keep up with a regular exercise routine. Allow yourself some time to decompress and be alone when you need it. These little investments in your health can make a big difference.


2. Don’t be ashamed of your big heart.


It’s not a weakness to feel as much as you do. Your empath traits make you a compassionate person and a cherished friend. Your ability to connect with the emotions of others is a blessing. But it will require awareness so you don’t become overly immersed in the emotional highs and lows of others. Be gentle with yourself as you navigate tough emotions and situations. 


3. Take an honest inventory. 


Ask yourself often if you’re taking on too much or if you’re overstimulated. The more you do this, the more natural it will feel. Pay attention to your body’s cues. Maybe you get really anxious or incredibly fatigued when you are at your limit. Learn to look out for subtle signs from your body, as they are often reminders that you may be getting overwhelmed. 


4. Remind yourself that saying no is not selfish


Boundaries are important and can help prevent burnout. We all have a limited amount of time and resources to give. You can’t help everyone at all times. Be gracious with yourself as you decide what you’re able to handle and when you may need to step away or pass on something.


5. Allow yourself time to recharge and regroup


Rest is so vital. Be honest when you are at max capacity. It may feel unnatural at first, and you’ll want to give people rationalizations, but knowing your limits and making your mental health a priority is nothing to be ashamed of.. Empaths often need time to be alone and recenter. Giving yourself blocks of time by yourself to recuperate after a lot of social stimulation may be exactly what you need. 


6. Keep up with hobbies or activities that allow you to express yourself


Writing and poetry are amazing outlets for an overflow of emotions. Other activities, like photography, hiking, and biking can provide an opportunity to get out into nature and slow down. Whatever your favorite activity may be, nurturing our hobbies nurtures our hearts and allows  us to grow and process in our own way.


7. Unplug


Social media allows us to be available to others 24/7, but our mental health benefits from taking time to step away. Social media provides a constant stream of information and news to consume, and this can be overwhelming for anyone, especially an empath. Give yourself opportunities to step away from the scrolling and social media feeds. 


8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help


Just as you have a heart for helping others, there are people ready to help you, too. Please, if you are struggling, do not be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes we need tools to help us process our emotions or a trusted friend or counselor to listen. It takes strength to let someone in and evaluate when you may need additional assistance. 


I hope that these tips help you on your empath journey. Stay well, my friends.