Reflections: Self-Care List for Empaths and Introverts

I am a highly sensitive person and ‘extreme’ introvert, empath which sometimes makes daily activities very challenging and often exhausting.

At times I must spend entire weekend in my bed, just recovering, sleeping and unable to do anything productive. I wrote below a few ideas that helped me in the past and they might also help some of you who are introverts and /or empaths.

  1. Cut down your coffee intake. Try to replace it with herbal tea. Matcha Green Tea works for me the best (although please remember that Matcha has a high dosage of caffeine) so do not drink it in the evening. Matcha works unbelievably calming for me. If I am under pressure and I am extremely fatigue, a cup of Matcha helps me to bring peace to my life and it does really calm my nerves. I know that it is rather on an expensive side, but it is worth it.
  2. Make sure you are well-hydrated throughout the day. It does make a huge difference. Please drink still water, not fuzzy drinks or fruit juices. If you get into a habit of drinking water throughout your day, it does make an impact on how you feel even when you feel overwhelmed.
  3. Make sure to have your time on your own. Rest. Read a book that you enjoy. I remember that during a very difficult period, I was unable to do much in terms of self-care but one weekend I picked up The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon and entering into the world of storytelling allowed me to switch off my emotions and the exhaustion did not feel so overwhelming. It can be any other book, story or maybe music piece that allows you to go within and to forget about your own reality for a short time. I am very much aware this might be a wishful thinking but sometimes it can help.
  4. Try to eat breakfast (rich in protein, non-sugary) before you leave for work. If you make it a habit, it does help you with your moods during the day. I know this one is hard – if you currently skip your breakfast, then try to do it at least over the weekend and if you feel better, then one day or more during the week.
  5. Make sure all your meals are rich in protein, magnesium and iron. Try to consult your doctor or nutritionist if you are unsure but it does make a difference if you eat more consciously.
  6. If your work overwhelms you and it does affect your health, it makes you extremely exhausted, then change it. Sometimes you need to take one step back before you move forward. No job in the world is worth sacrificing your health and if it is bad, it rarely gets better. If your circumstances allow it, try to find a part – time job that allows you to pay your basic bills while you are looking for something more suitable on a full – time basis.
  7. If you can, try to spend some time in the nature. It does make a difference. I used to live in the countryside, and I felt less fatigue and exhausted just by being there. Once I moved back to London, I got back to square one once again. Whenever I can, I try to go to the seaside or the forest. It does calm me down.
  8. Try to journal if you can – it is not for everyone, but I find it very helpful in relieving my anxieties during the times when I cannot express my anxieties verbally.
  9. Try to use low light, candles if you are at home. I often drink my tea with lemon, cloves and cinnamon – the aroma is beautiful and calming.
  10. Books by Carl Rogers and Gabor Mate helped me a lot. I would very much recommend you to look into their work. There are plenty of videos available on YouTube which might help you to familiarise yourselves with their work. Their approach is very much focused on compassion and empathy. Their books are very helpful.
  11. Exercise if you are able to. I used to run on a daily basis, and this had a tremendous effect on my wellbeing. I know this one is very difficult. These days I often come back from work exhausted, when even taking shower or cooking a meal is an extreme challenge. Maybe a little bit of gentle stretching can help (even if it is once a week, you can increase it as you get stronger).
  12. Cut off your personal relationships which drain your energy and bring you down. If impossible, then try to minimise the contact to messaging and phone calls. Face to face contact with some people can be very tiring but I find a digital contact less impactful.
  13. If your circumstances allow you, please have an animal around you, cat or dog. If you are unable to take care of an animal, try to find an Animal Sanctuary (with pigs and cows and other animals) and visit it. It is very calming.
  14. Please try to set your boundaries. This is very difficult for most of us – empaths and I often struggle with it but once you try, then next time it becomes easier. Do not apologise to anyone, you do not owe explanations to anyone. You can say “no” without being rude or patronising.
  15. I do watch ASMR videos in the evenings which sometimes help me to ease my nerves before I go to sleep. I am particularly fond of the videos by Paris ASMR.
  16. If your circumstances allow, try to go to bed around 10 pm and wake up at the same time every morning so your body clock is more regulated. If you can, try to make it a habit.
  17. I always take shower before I go to sleep – it helps me to calm down. I usually take warm showers but at times especially during the summertime I go for a colder shower.
  18. If you can afford to have a massage on a regular basis, even if it is only a head massage, it is going to be a very beneficial and calming experience.
  19. Don’t be afraid to spend time with yourself.
  20. Don’t put extra pressure on yourself. It is enough that the world does it for you.

I hope the list above will help some of you.

XX

Empath Introvert
Solitude

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