Self-Love September; Self-Loving Practices for Empaths

If it is one word that I was called a lot growing up, it was "sensitive." I was accused of being too sensitive, overly-sensitive, a raw nerve, looking too deeply into people's reactions, and anticipating emotions or moods that weren't visible yet (but that almost always became apparent shortly) by my parents and family members. It was often said that I was going to be either an actress or a lawyer when I grew up, and since I grew up to be neither, I like to gloat about this point with my grandma once in a while, just for a shared giggle. But I did realize when I was in my early adulthood that all the things my parents thought I was making too much of a fuss about were because I was empathic, and feeling or sensing things that were often hard for other people to see or feel. I wasn't being dramatic when I reacted quite emotionally to something that was said to me, but usually because I felt the full force of the impact of the statement, on both an emotional as well as visceral or spiritual level. I didn't know how to take criticism without feeling all of the intention and meaning behind the statements. And if you're in the spiritual community like witches, pagans, and tarot readers, you've probably grown up with similar experiences too.

I feel like the word "empath" is thrown around a little bit these days, to describe anyone who may be a bit more sensitive than "normal" (whatever that is, anyway), and it's become a buzzword within the spiritual community. An empath is someone who has a hyper-ability to sense and feel emotions from other people, as well as animals or other beings sometimes too. They can often sense tension well before anyone else picks up on it, and sometimes they are more prone to crying during sad parts of movies. They seem to feel more than others and can empathize with the experiences of others, even if they have never gone through anything even remotely like it. Their capacity for emotion is vast and deep, and these people can often be found working in some sort of healing, counselling or caring field. As someone who is a mother, has worked as a pharmacy assistant, and now does professional tarot readings for a living, I can attest to the fact that a career helping people was always on the table for me, and before that, my dream was to be an animal nurse (in Canada we call them Animal Health Technologists).


So why do empaths deserve their very own separate advice on how to go about being self-loving and care for ourselves? Because we feel more, we give more, we often do more and push ourselves harder and further than others all for the sake of helping, and of being a catalyst for healing and change. Empaths can become drained and stressed out just by stepping outside their door some days, so people this sensitive deserve to pamper themselves a little, especially it means it will keep them emotionally and mentally healthy.

Shielding is probably the most obvious and talked about tip for empaths, and while I do feel like its a valuable piece of advice, I think its also ridiculously easy to forget to put up a shield when you're also trying to remember if you packed your lunch for work, remembered to give the daycare a spare soother for the baby, or can't even remember to grab your reusable bags before you leave to go grocery shopping. Shielding jewelry and talismans, however, can be prepared ahead of time in sacred space, magickally charged with intention to act as a movable shield around you, and can be kept in your purse, locker at work, car, or other convenient places, and simply slipped into a pocket or fastened in place in order to be effective. I would recommend regularly cleansing and resetting your cleansing talismans to keep them magickally juiced, but otherwise, it's a pretty easy "set it and forget it" kind of a thing. Not to mention incredibly useful for the empath on the go.

Empaths should always try to make their home a place of restoration and peace as well. When they come home from the overwhelming and emotional world, they need a calm and relaxing place to reset their brains and bodies. I would recommend you take some steps to make your house comfortable and cozy in whatever ways appeal most to you. For me, this means throw pillows everywhere so I can adjust my comfort level no matter where I sit, soft, cozy blankets everywhere and soothing scents to hand for whenever I need that bit of aromatherapeutic hit. I try to make sure my house is set to a comfortable temperature, and that I don't use overhead lights that much. Lamps, Himalayan salt lamps, and natural light are what I try to maximize the use of. It's softer, easier for your eyes to look at, and are calming for our brains. I only use overhead lighting when necessary, like while cleaning, cooking, or doing tasks where maximum light is needed to do the job properly and safely. I like a comfy, soft carpet in my bedroom, and throw rugs in my living room to add a literal layer of softness. Even choosing the right music can be important for empaths. Heading to work and already stressed? Don't put the modern pop radio station on, play something relaxing and soothing instead! Had a fight with your kids a few minutes ago and now you have to cook dinner? Put on some tracks that will either make you feel happy or will help you shift into more peaceful mindsets.


Get enough sleep. No, I mean it. So many of us stay up late binge-watching the latest popular Netflix show (I'm looking at you, Orange is the New Black...) surfing the internet on our phones, falling down the YouTube rabbit-holes, or even reading late into the night. Study after study demonstrates the impact that sleep deprivation has on us. Even losing out on an hour a night can have consequences after just a couple of weeks, so do yourself a favour and make yourself actually go to bed on time. I know for some people, this advice is easier said than done (I've dealt with insomnia before, so I can totally empathize with your) but try your hardest to get a healthy amount of sleep. Small things can be done to make your rest more pleasant too, from adding a foam topper to your mattress for better heat regulation and comfort, to switching up to a new pillow (especially if you haven't replaced yours in years) to adding a sleep-inducing tea before bed (my favourite is from Yogi tea). These little changes can help to establish a healthier bedtime routine, and of course, the increased sleep not only makes you more relaxed, less prone to reacting to stressors, and energetic, it can also impact memory and retention, elevate your mood, and countless other health benefits.

And lastly, I want to offer just one more tip for self-care for empaths. Remember that if you end up feeling too much and experiencing something really intense and breaking down, it's okay. Feeling so much can be a burden, and it can be hard, but it's also our superpower. Being able to feel this much and being motivated to help people is one of the most powerful ways that change happens in this world. Its the insight and caring nature of empaths that drives reform in law, government, politics, healthcare, and more. Never doubt your validity, your value, and your right to exist, to feel, and to act on intuition and feeling. Keep taking up space, keep doing what you're doing, and fight the good fight.

So much love and self-love to you my beauties,
Jess

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