How to Deal with Empathy Fatigue

In this episode of Curves Welcome, Suzie Carr talks about how to deal with empathy fatigue.

Listen to this episode here.

I’d describe myself as an empath. When someone is hurt, I’m hurt. When someone is sad, I’m sad. When someone is in a bad mood, I’m in a bad mood. I seem to absorb the energy of whatever is happening around me. This can be all consuming and detrimental to my well-being. I realized after a while that taking on the weight of the world’s problems would destroy me if I didn’t set some safety measures and boundaries into place.

Today I wanted to share some of those.

Transcript for Today’s Show

Hey thanks for joining me today for this episode of Curves Welcome, a podcast about facing and embracing the curves of life. If this is your first time tuning in, this is Suzie Carr. I’d describe myself as an empath. When someone is hurt, I’m hurt. When someone is sad, I’m sad. When someone is in a bad mood, I’m in a bad mood. I seem to absorb the energy of whatever is happening around me. This can be all consuming and detrimental to my well-being. There used to be a time when I’d go onto Facebook and just scroll through the newsfeed without a filter. I’d end up an emotional mess unable to shake images from my mind after each session because inevitably I’d come across something terrible that burned itself into my mind. The pains, sorrows, and injustices suffered by others became my burden too. I’d dive into stories of abused animals, ill people, political unrest, social injustices and get sucked in without a thought on how to get back out. This pull on the heart can easily cause a person to lose themselves in the world of others. I realized after a while that taking on the weight of the world’s problems would destroy me if I didn’t set some safety measures and boundaries into place. Today I wanted to share some of those. When it comes to the online world, the solution is pretty simple. Avoid the very things that bring you heartbreak and nightmares. When sensitive people see an image in their mind, it’s near impossible for it to erase. It can eat away at your soul the longer it cements itself into place and takes over the good things in life. The best way to eliminate unintended afflictions from entering your mind is to avoid them. I never go onto Facebook and scroll anymore. There are certain people’s posts I never want to miss, so I add them as ‘close friends’. There are groups that I trust will never allow terrible content, so I choose to go into groups and do my scrolling with freedom and comfort. I’ve created one myself called Feed Your Joy where myself and my fellow admins only allow positive posts. If you tend to come across emotionally damaging posts, pictures, and videos on social media, I highly advise that you set similar rules and filters for yourself. It has changed my life, quite literally. Another way to protect your heart in a world that is littered with terrible news, is to stop watching the news. I haven’t turned on a news station in a few years. When I want to learn about something, I seek it out on my own. If I want to learn about ways I can help the climate, I refuse to go to the news to find out this information because the news will tell me about the five people shot the night before and the ten armed robberies and the scary fate of the world before they ever educate me on a positive action I can take that will help to make a difference. I want to make a difference in the world. The only way I can do that effectively is with an open heart and mind. So, by seeking out the knowledge I want to learn, I protect myself and add value at the same time. Some might argue But Suzie, don’t you want to keep up on what’s happening? The things that matter to me most are things I will seek out on my own. I will find my own sources and do my own research. And if it’s a matter of a huge event happening, to that I would say, if an asteroid is going to hit our planet, I’m pretty sure my family would clue me in at that point. I don’t want to get stuck in speculation and what-ifs. If something needs my attention and action, those who love and care about me will make me aware. Another tip I’ve learned when it comes to the energy of others is to prep ahead of time. What I mean by this is if you enter a professional or personal setting and there is a person whose energy is all-consuming, I would advise you to inflate your magic bubble. I inflate mine and hang out in it until all is clear. If someone I care about is in a bad mood or someone I met at a social event is loud and obnoxious, I’m protected. I have a barrier between me and the person and the only way that person’s energy can come in is if I pop my bubble. Essentially, this bubble is a mental barrier that lets in what you wish to let in, and deflects anything negative. Imagine a bubble of light surrounding your being and inside this bubble is your world, where you can focus inward and find your balance, while everything else stays on the outside. This visualization may take some practice. The more you do it, though, the better you’ll become at insulating yourself from the energy of others. Another thing to do is to keep careful watch over your thoughts. If you find yourself feeling angry, ask yourself if that anger is yours or someone else’s. At this point, you can analyze what the anger stems from. Why are you absorbing this anger? What point does this anger serve? Is it serving you? Is it serving others? If the answer is no, which is most always the case, then you can begin to seek solutions to ways that the heavy emotions can serve you and others. When you frame your perspective in a positive light, in this case, serving others and yourself, you’ll find positive solutions that will help guide you out of the anger and into a beneficial emotion. As sensitive people, we tend to bottle up emotions and allow our bodies to become a landfill for them. If we continue to store these negative emotions, they will rot inside and steal flow. We need flow to be at our best. So I like to have a check-in session once a week where I sit quietly, do some deep restorative breathing, and clean my inner core. I imagine coming across a stored pile of emotions and one by one carrying them out of my core and releasing them into the air where they are destroyed immediately by the light. I do this until I feel lighter, at which point I visualize myself sweeping and mopping the area I just cleaned until it shines. I then can walk away from that visual feeling free and open to great flow. The next tip is to mind what you put into your body because it becomes your fuel and energy. If you fill yourself with junk, overprocessed foods, sugar, alcohol, and anything not life-supporting, then you’re not in prime state to handle the brute force of the world. If you eat crap, you’ll feel like crap. That’s the bottom line. I’m not advocating for rigidity here. I’m simply advocating that for 90% of the time, be kind to your body. Fuel it with nutrition. Give it exercise. Practice some form of meditation or deep breathing. And go inward for some me-time. The other 10%, allow for flexibility. Indulge in a sweet treat or glass of wine. By keeping things in balance, you’ll gain the edge and be better equipped mentally and physically to handle the challenges life tosses in your path. The last tip I would say is to spend time in nature. As sensitive souls, we have a special bond with nature. It’s great practice to step outdoors and replenish your energy. This is my go-to action whenever the world gets too heavy. Rain, shine, hot, or cold, if I’m burdened by the stories and lives of others, I seek the help of nature. And she never fails to provide new perspective. I only have to look at the beauty she produces and my focus changes to that. The negativity dissipates in the light of her beauty. Your world is a product of your focus. What you focus on persists. So, if you find yourself unable to rid a terrible emotion, focus on something that brings a good emotion. Seek it out. Find a good story, a beautiful spot of nature, a happy person, an uplifting message, or create one and then spread it. Serve others with something uplifting and you’ll restore healthy emotions. This world needs more positivity. Be that source and watch your inner and outer world change in ways that will pleasantly surprise you. Hey friends, thanks for spending time with me today. I hope you enjoyed today’s topic. If there is something you’d enjoy exploring in a future podcast, please reach out to me via my website at curveswelcome.com and I’ll work it in. While you’re there, grab a free story, too. It’s my way of thanking you for your support of my podcasts and romance novels. I also want to take a moment to thank all who have become patrons of my Patreon page. Your support means a great deal to me. For more information on joining me on this journey and gaining access to special rewards, visit the link in the show notes. Also be sure to follow TLT podcasts to keep up on the latest episodes. So thanks for tuning in. Until next time, go out there and continue to learn, grow, and embrace life’s curves.