If you’re an empath, you’re probably feeling more depleted during this COVID-19 pandemic right now than you ever have before in your entire life. Let’s face it, most of the world right now is wound up tight on adrenaline, riding on an emotional roller coaster, not knowing when the cart will stop.
Between trying to keep ourselves and our loved ones healthy, stocking up on food and toilet paper, learning what furlough means while trying to file for unemployment… It’s a lot. Not to mention having to entertain and educate children home from school.
This isn’t even the tip of the iceberg though. What about those who are grieving the ones they just lost? And what about those grieving cancelled life events such as weddings and graduations?
With everything currently going on, it’s a concoction for total burnout and adrenal fatigue. I want you to know though that it is normal to feel anxiety & stress right now. As a human whose species is currently under “attack” with COVID-19, your fight or flight mechanism has been activated and your body and mind are in shock trying to make sense of it all. So please do not feel shameful for taking it slow or being over emotional. You matter! Your feelings are valid! You are human! And most importantly, you are not alone!
But I want to take a moment to specifically focus on my empaths for right now.
What is an “empath” you might ask?
An empath is one who has almost like a six sense. They can literally feel what other people are feeling. They experience emotions at a heightened level and tend to over analyze. These folks are ones who definitely feel the room and can tell the vibe of a crowd or an individual from miles away.
It is a great gift to be able to empathize & connect deeply with others. Some of the best therapists, nurses, other health care providers(heroes) and coaches have this gift! But it can also be a curse if empaths do not manage this innate gift correctly.
Judith Orloff, M.D., best-selling author (& also an empath herself), puts it this way: “We feel everything, often to an extreme, and have little guard up between ourselves and others. As a result, we often become overwhelmed by excessive stimulation and are prone to exhaustion and sensory overload.”
Being an I-O Psychologist, Burn-Out Coach (and fellow empath myself), I couldn’t agree more with Judith’s statement. Just thinking about how many people are suffering right now could cause extreme overwhelm inside of me, if I let it.
I think about the health care workers who do not have enough PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), the families who’ve lost loved ones, the ones who are currently in pain from this virus, other essential workers, the new entrepreneurs who threw in the towel. I feel for the HR departments who are bombarded with new protocols & policies. And what about the health care workers who come home to their families & feel they have to distance themselves from their loved ones in fear of infecting them? I think about the families who are struggling to pay bills and some of the children who are home from school who may not be in the best care.
I allow myself to feel, but I have to implement extra tools, especially now, to show up with high vibe energy so that I can continue to be of service in my zone of genius to others who need me most.
Below are some of the tools I am implementing:
Tools to Help Empaths Through a Crisis:
1. Turn the News Off:
Although it is important to be informed about what is going on, get the facts in the cliff-note form and move on. There is no need to listen to the news all day and absorb alarming energy. Hearing words such as “pandemic”, “outbreak”, “attack”, “war”, “virus”…. over and over again will submerge in your unconscious and make you feel even more panicked.
2. Ask Yourself , “Who Can You Serve?”:
Generosity has been proven to boost feel-good hormones in the body which include dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. When we give, it puts a smile on the receiver’s end and has a positive effect on the giver’s side. Ask yourself how you can be a blessing to others (through social distancing of course). Can you mail a friend a gift? Offer a free service online to those in need? Make masks for your community? Get creative!
3. Do a Self-Audit:
Take a second to do a self-audit. Scan your thoughts, emotions, aches & pains. Where are you feeling the most tension? Is it in your finances? Is it in your parenting? Is it in your food choices? Is it a combination of all of the above? Now, where are you feeling it in your body? Where do you hold your tension? Is it in the back of your neck? Is your lower back hurting you? Is it again a combination of both? Once you pinpoint your focus on where the most stress is coming from, some of it will dissipate because you have taken the time to locate it which puts you back in the control seat. Gaining somewhat of control of your situation reduces stress.
4. Professionally Decompress Yourself Through a Therapist or Coach:
Talking to a friend is great, but if it is just a “vent sesh” then you could leave the conversation feeling more depleted then when you entered. Speak to a professional therapist or coach who can guide you through techniques based on your unique level of stress and positioning.
5. Up Your Normal Self-Care Routine:
Right now, more than ever, you need to tune in and love on yourself a little harder. Whether that means taking a few extra minutes in the bathtub or pulling out a journal to write your thoughts down, you need some extra rest and relaxation. Put on a face-mask, drink your juice and dance in the comfort of your own home to some of your favorite tunes.