“I feel like I’m an emotional sponge.”
My friend just finished telling me about how her daily lunch break at work has turned into her being forced to listen to hour-long rants from one of her co-workers who is going through a bitter divorce.
Yup. I can relate.
To being an emotional sponge, that is.
If I talk to someone close and listen to their problems, struggles, or issues, it’s almost a guarantee that I will have trouble falling asleep that day. Or that at least, my energy levels will suddenly drop.
Certain people or places just have that effect on me. Over the last couple of years, after going through quite a few changes during the journey of my personal growth, I’ve discovered that I very easily soak up other people’s emotions. Then I let them take over and I worry, I stress, and then I worry some more.
It was around that time that I realized that sometimes, you just have to protect your energy in order to stay sane.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR ENERGY
FIND YOUR HAPPY SPACE
Here’s a little secret to my sanity: I turn my phone off, all.the.time. I just have to. There are days when I just feel so emotionally drained. So empty. It doesn’t always have to do with something bad or tragic going on. Sometimes it’s something as simple as other people dumping their own problems and emotions on me, while I’ve got my own shit to deal with. I’m not talking about chatting with a friend who’s going through something and needs to vent. I’m talking about people who tend to talk about the same negative things over and over and over again, while also refusing to make a change.
Sometimes you just have to allow yourself to disconnect from all of that, and just be. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad friend, but some people can become energy vampires, where they just suck all the positive energy out of us- staying away from them isn’t always an option, but you can protect your energy.
My little office room is my happy space. I have my candles, my essential oils, my favorite books, my vision board, my gratitude journal, my desk, and my favorite chair. There’s my dog, who usually follows me and lies down by my feet. The minute I enter that room, my energy shifts. I find my focus and I’m back in my happy place.
One of my friends is a mom and also runs her own business. Her happy space is actually… her pantry. Every time she needs to stop for a minute, she will leave her kids with her partner, grab a glass of wine and her favorite dark chocolate and just sit in her pantry for a few minutes. Other times, she’d tell me that sitting on her living room floor, surrounded by toys and her three kids is her happy space, whenever she feels that her positive energy levels are being affected by work.
Find that happy space for yourself- and it can be literally anything; your bathroom, your car, bedroom, kitchen. The best way to avoid stress and feeling emotionally drained and to protect your energy is to have a plan for when those negative feelings begin to take over.
TAKE A LONG BATH
The thing is, it’s not about the actual “act” of TAKING a bath or a long shower. It’s about the fact that for many of us, those of us who are constantly busy, working, taking care of our families, interacting with others, the time we spend in the shower or a bath, is the only time we truly get to disconnect throughout the day. It’s the only time when we have a few minutes all to ourselves. Not everyone can afford to take an entire day off and go hiking (hiking alone isn’t always a great idea, btw) so sometimes, a longer shower or a bath just has to do.
Something that I like to do at the end of the day, is to actually visualize my stress and anxiety and that heaviness while I’m in the shower and imagine them literally wash away. The warm water also helps to ease and relax those tense muscles often caused by stress. As your body and muscles relax, you can visualize that stress leaving your body and your energy being restored.
LET GO OF THE FEAR
… and choose love, instead. Protecting your energy and letting go of fear go hand in hand. Here’s an example: when I talk to a friend or a loved one and hear about the things they’re going through, problems they have to deal with, my mind tends to jump into that fear mode. I’m sure that a lot of you who are also highly sensitive empaths can relate. I’ve had nights when I couldn’t sleep because I was thinking about the things that a friend is going through. That’s fear, and that’s me, allowing it to take over. Moodiness, trouble sleeping and tiredness often follow.
Sometimes you can also feel that fear takes over when traveling or going to an important meeting or an interview. You just feel your energy levels change and you immediately feel fear. That’s when you have to protect your energy; imagine yourself being wrapped up in a warm blanket, feel yourself being strong, standing strong, tell yourself “I am safe” and remember that your energy, is your responsibility.
BE AWARE + SET BOUNDARIES
Here’s something that I myself have been learning to do over the years: the need to learn to detach myself from other people’s negative emotions. I’m sure that a lot of you can relate; you’re talking to a friend or a family member, and suddenly find yourself immersed in their emotions and feelings. Usually, if those feelings or emotions are of a negative nature; their effect on us just seems much stronger. Afterward, you sometimes feel your own energy levels drop. That’s when it becomes a bit difficult to differentiate between your own feelings and the feelings of that other person. You kind of have to stop and ask yourself: “is what I’m feeling right now my feeling or someone else’s feeling?”
For empaths, this isn’t always easy to do as we tend to literally absorb the energy from other people, places. One of the other ways to protect your energy is to become aware of places, people or situations which trigger a change or even a subtle shift in you. Who and what is sucking the energy out of you? Pay attention and don’t be afraid to set those healthy boundaries. Think of it as an act of self-love, because that’s exactly what it is. It’s one thing to lend an ear to someone you love. It’s another to allow yourself to become an emotional sponge.
When people, places, and events give out positive energy, it’s almost contagious. The same thing goes for people, places, and events that give out negative energy, unfortunately. The latter can leave you feeling dull and damaged.
Here’s the thing to remember: most of the people who do drain that energy out of you, aren’t aware of what they’re doing. This is important to remember because you can use that as an opportunity to once again, choose love, instead of entertaining fear or frustration. You are in charge of protecting energy, do not allow anything (or anyone) to mess with it.
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