NAVIGATING LIFE AS AN EMPATH

renewed

5 STEPS TO SELF CARE

Self care in itself is spiritual practice. As healers and empaths we often neglect to take the time to properly care for ourselves. All too easily we become overwhelmed by the many aspects of our lives that call to us. Before we know it the day has passed us by and we have forgotten to take time out for ourselves for self care. With all that is occurring in the world and almost nowhere to escape from it, we are likely to feel easily drained and overtired. Though many of us have very limited amounts of “free” time, there are several daily time-friendly practices in which we can engage in order to promote self care and overall well-being.

1)    STOP MAKING EXCUSES FOR PEOPLE- As sensitive souls, we are often known to be peacekeepers in interpersonal relationships. Whether romantic or plutonic in nature, we are likely to find ourselves rationalizing the hurtful or offensive behaviour of loved ones in order to avoid conflict.  We often rationalize and excuse their behaviour because we feel that we can accept everyone for who they are and that we are immune to their negativity. It is our nature as healers and empaths to make excuses for the behaviour of others, even when it offends or hurts us deeply. In order to nurture and care for ourselves, we must remember that it is acceptable to put our own need first. If we are repeatedly hurt or offended by the actions and behaviours of others, it is safe to remove ourselves from the situation. It is safe to accept that these types of people are not contributing to our well being in a positive way. It is safe to accept that after repeated, hurtful behaviour, these people may not be the right fit for us in our lives at this time. Should these excuses we make be for family members or those whom we are unable to remove from our lives, it is important for us to take the time to ground ourselves before and after any interactions with these people. This grounding may take the form of writing, drawing, connecting with nature or any other healthy outlet to which we are drawn. While it is our goal to be non judgmental toward all humans, it is not our job to accept their repeatedly offensive and hurtful behaviour on the grounds that “they have had it rough”, “we deserved it” or any other excuse we can come up with. Though it is important to respect where others have come from, their hurtful behaviour wears on us. After prolonged exposure it even has the capacity to wear on our self respect, self confidence and self love. There is a fine line between accepting someone for who they are and allowing ourselves to shove our hurt feelings down inside to our own detriment. It is never ok to continuously put our own hurt feelings aside to make somebody else feel good.  Be honest with yourself and others. If someone is being hurtful towards you, it is acceptable to walk away.

2)    SET REALISTIC BOUNDARIES FOR YOURSELF AND STICK TO THEM- As empaths and healers we are prone to being energetically drained by other people and circumstances. It is crucial to our well being that we create boundaries for ourselves. This most often means learning to say “NO”. As healers and empaths, it is our second nature, our duty, to help anyone and everyone we can. While this is quite a noble feat, we often tend to go overboard. We often tend to ignore our body’s warning signs that it needs to rest because we are so caught up in caring for others. But what we must remind ourselves that the very best way to care for others is to care for ourselves. And this means setting boundaries with others so that we allow ourselves the time to rest and recharge. This means taking the time to listen to our bodies and hearts to hear them speak of what they need to be balanced. And once we have heard their needs, follow their advices. It is one thing to tell ourselves that we are going to stop doing something, yet it is entirely more effective to stick to the resolution! Be firm with yourself in knowing what you need to keep yourself physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually healthy- and stick to it! After all, we cannot pour from an empty cup!

3)    RESPECT YOURSELF- Self respect is an integral part of self-care. Under the umbrella of self respect are many ideals. Eating healthy food, resting well and exercising to the best of our ability are all adequate ways of respecting ourselves and our bodies. Aside from the physical aspects of self respect, there are various mental and spiritual. To be patient with yourself is to respect yourself. Understand where your beliefs and feelings end and others’ begin; avoid confusing the two. Subscribing to the beliefs and thoughts of others- if out of alignment with ours- can be exhausting. Any beliefs and actions that we take that are out of alignment with or authentic selves are not genuine. The lesser genuine we become, the more exhausting life becomes. Be firm in your convictions however do so without trying to prove to anyone who you are and what you believe. Part of self respect is being confident with who you are and what you believe without allowing ego to interfere. Whether going along with the beliefs of others or forcing your beliefs on others, you may find that you become easily depleted. The preceding behaviours are out of alignment with your highest good. To realign with your highest good is to stay firm in your convictions and to have compassion for those who do not.

4)    LEARN TO SAY “YES”- LET GO OF LIMITING BELIEFS, THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS- Part of caring for ourselves is to acknowledge that we often engage in limiting thoughts, beliefs and actions. When we tell ourselves “no” or “I can’t” or “I shouldn’t”, we are limiting our potential. Often we object to taking breaks or vacations because we feel we “can’t afford” or “can’t leave”. While not everyone can necessarily go on a month long cruise of the Caribbean, everyone has the ability to take a “time out” once in a while. Everyone has the ability to take a few hours away from their stressors to go into nature or to turn off their phones and listen to relaxing music in their favourite room of their house. By telling ourselves “I can” take a break, we are allowing our bodies to recharge.
By telling yourself “Yes, I can take healthy steps to change my life” instead of being afraid of new and potentially exciting new experiences, you will be changing the very fabric of your life. You will be tailoring your life to a higher and better version of itself. You will be creating a far more optimistic life path for yourself.
The energy that comes along with saying “Yes!” to new opportunity is far more positive for the body and mind than telling yourself “No”. The “yes” vibration allows you to be open to receive all of the wonderful blessings and gifts that the universe has for you!

5)    LET GO OF UNHEALTHY ATTACHMENTS- Buddha rightfully claimed that “Attachment is the root of all suffering”. When we become attached to material items, people or circumstances, we are creating the potential for suffering. By practicing detachment from all of the above, we are lesser likely to be disappointed when these things leave us or fail to go the way we’d hoped. Nothing is permanent. To understand the impermanence of all that comes in and out of our lives is to be free of attachment to them.
That said, it is often difficult to release attachment to loved ones. This is because in the human body we form emotional bonds with others. It is even often difficult to release attachment to workplaces and sentimental items for the same reasons. However, often we outgrow these relationships, circumstances and items. Though we have outgrown them, letting them go can prove to be quite challenging. But the more we hold on, the more they can breed suffering. This suffering naturally takes its toll on our well being. This is because these people or situations that we have outgrown are often out of alignment with our current vibration. As many of us know, the further long our spiritual path we venture, the more we gravitate away from that which no longer serves our highest good. When we invest our energy into those situations that no longer serve our highest good, we will invariably find that our energy becomes quickly drained. This is because we are constantly descending our energy to meet those old vibrations which we outgrew.  It is of great import to learn to recognize when an unhealthy attachment is forming and to release it immediately. By aiming to release attachment to all unhealthy situations, we are saving our energy from certain depletion.

Particularly in today’s world where we are often surrounded by misery on the news, at work or on social media self care is a must. Self care is self love. By engaging in positive action toward self care, we will become stronger and more empowered versions of ourselves. We will feel more energized and far better equipped to be the best versions of ourselves we can be!

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