By Tara Jackson
For years I struggled with my energy levels, in ways that seemed quite different to the way others did. I was tired a lot of the time and could easily sleep 10 hours a night and still have moments where I just wanted to get back into bed throughout the next day. I’d get sudden waves of tiredness that hit me, and there would be no logical explanation as to why. Or alternatively there would be times where I would get a rush of energy, feeling almost hyper, this would then be followed by feeling like I needed a nap.
It was only when I really started to take note of what was going on in my life that I realised how sensitive I was to things around me and how much of an impact they were having on my energy levels. I’d often feel tired after being around lots of people, some people more than others, and especially around large groups of people such as on public transport or at gatherings like parties or work events. This was even more noticeable during the Christmas/holiday season as my work demanded a lot of social engagements with clients and colleagues, and friends and family often wanted to meet up too.
To deal with these situations I found myself drinking a lot, excessively even, at social occasions where there was alcohol. And in other circumstances where I found my energy levels going all over the place I would eat a lot in an attempt to either ground myself or give me more energy.
These weren’t very healthy ways of handling my energy levels and it had knock-on effects on my health as a whole.
Learning to listen to my body and respect what it needs has been and is still a journey. However, there are two things which have helped me with my energy levels and not feeling so drained or all over the place energetically.
- Establishing boundaries
Establishing boundaries can be particularly hard when you have loved ones that depend on you. Also as an empath you likely are the person people come to, to share their problems, worries and concerns. However, this will take its toll on you, especially in the long run.
It’s important to establish some boundaries. You need to take an honest look at your life and pinpoint the areas/people/situations which are taking a lot from you and leaving you feeling depleted. Unless it is a child that depends on you, there is always a way to cut back on how much of your energy you are giving to someone else. Perhaps you can cut back on the amount of time you give to others, turn your phone off sometimes, or be honest with yourself and just start saying ‘no’ (and don’t feel guilty about it). It will get easier the more you do it, and keep reminding yourself you are doing it for you!
Alternatively, you could start by carving out 15 minutes of non-negotiable ‘me-time’ every day, or perhaps a couple of hours once a week, at a set time, which cannot be moved (unless of course there is a real emergency). This can be your time to do what YOU want to do and will start to give you some space where you can regain your sense of self and figure out what you need, not everyone else.
- Pay attention to what you are eating and drinking
Whilst empaths absorb what is going on energetically, they are also particularly sensitive to certain foods and drinks. Try keeping a food and mood diary for a couple of days, noting what you are eating and drinking and how you feel afterwards. Even take note of how you feel when you don’t eat for a while.
When I started doing this I noticed that certain foods made me feel more bloated and sluggish than others – processed foods and meat, in particular. This was surprising to me as I was a bit of a carnivore growing up and often found I craved meat. I also realised how sensitive I am to sugar and caffeine, they make me quite hyper, but afterwards my energy levels crash and feel a bit anxious and edgy. Once you start noticing these things you can begin to make small changes to what you eat and drink, and how often. For example, I still do eat meat on occasion, but try to stick to a more vegetarian/vegan diet as I know I feel lighter and have more energy. I avoid sugar for the most part and have a tiny cup of coffee once in a while, usually followed by lots of water and herbal tea as this helps me not feel so anxious.
I recommend starting slowly and making small changes as you notice how your body feels.
If you would like more support as an empath in 2018, I am offering a free ‘1 year / 52 weeks of self-care for empaths’ challenge starting on 1st January 2018 in the Facebook group ‘Self-care for empaths’. Every week I will be posting a self-care theme/topic to focus on and you are welcome to share experiences, thoughts and anything else with the group, or if you prefer you can join in privately. Please join the group here. if you would like to take part.
About the author: Tara Jackson is a self-care coach on a mission to help empaths and busy women who put everything above themselves realise how important self-care is. You can see more at www.tarajackson.co.uk.