If you are anything like me, you are naturally a GIVER. A caretaker. A helper. You may even identify as a healer. Whatever label fits, you are in a job or career where you have dedicated yourself to making the lives of others better. More fulfilling. More peaceful.
Then why is it that we often find ourselves the OPPOSITE of exactly what it is we are here to provide for others? Why do we find ourselves overwhelmed, burned out, stressed out and depleted so very often?
If your experience is anything like mine, it seems that the more we feel drawn and called to facilitating the 'best life' for others, the more likely we are to forget to take good and healthy SELF-CARE. Its almost like we think or believe that "if this is my calling, then I'm 'supposed' to be okay doing this all day" (amongst other limiting beliefs).
Many of us do not realize the toll it takes on us to constantly feel into the energy and emotions of others. Whether or not you would identify yourself as an Empath, your job is by nature to be empathic. (And unfortunately when I completed my education as a psychologist, the lessons in 'Self-Care' and 'Energetic Boundaries' were pretty much nonexistent.)
And so you find yourself worn out on an emotional and energetic level. A level that is hard to explain, and difficult to replenish with food, exercise or even enough sleep.
The tips and techniques I'm sharing here are tried, tested and true. I've used them in my own rehabilitation from burnout and overwhelm. And I use them with (and teach them to) my clients, too.
Spiritually guided self-care is a path of least resistance, and greatest possible reward. It is something we can incorporate easily into our everyday lives, and it always pays dividends.
It also doesn't have to be complicated, difficult or 'weird'. In fact, many of these techniques or tips may be things you already do (or enjoy doing). The trick is to choose to do them consciously, frequently and mindfully so you can take very good Spiritual Self-Care.
Connecting with nature is a very simple and quick way to get grounded. In Spirituality, this is an essential 'first step' to connecting with our energy and feeling stable and whole.
Take a walk through a forest. Have a living plant at your desk. Sit with your back to a tree and read a book. Breathe in the smells and sounds all around you. Very often, we 'pick up' negative energy from our clients. We are there to help - and holding onto the negative energy does not help them or us - it is okay (and healthy) to choose to LET IT GO!
In order to 'move' energy out of our body that is unhealthy for us, movement can be extremely powerful (we all know about e-motion being 'energy in motion'). Keeping energy moving means it will not become STUCK or STAGNANT.
You may benefit from walking, yoga or Tai Chi, all of which are simple but powerful ways to connect, release and replenish. If you prefer more strenuous physical exertion or exercise, and that is perfectly fine - just remember to be MINDFUL as you engage in your physical activity.
Journalling is a powerful way to allow free association and focused intention. Using the written word to release stuck emotions, and to process thoughts and feelings from the day is a powerful way to connect inwards with ourselves and our own needs, while releasing what no longer serves us.
For others, the written word is not as powerful as allowing creativity to flow freely. This may look like drawing, painting, sculpting, jewelry making, crochet, sewing... Anything that is created by and from our bodies and our hands.
Take time to write or get creative daily. It really does connect you back to your spiritual self, and is a beautiful way to draw an energetic boundary around your needs.
Have you ever walked into your office and just felt "Ugh"? It's like a wall of negative or sad or just intense emotions hit you as you opened the door, isn't it?
We all 'emit' the energetic frequency of our emotions. Our physical space gets 'heavy' with intense emotions (often because of the nature of the work you do!), that needs to be cleared regularly - at least at the beginning/end of each day, and if time permits between each client, too!
Examples of ways to clear your physical space include Smudging, Feng Shui/Sound practices, Crystals, Essential Oils and our simple Intention. There is ample information on each of these practices online. Or you may choose to download my FREE booklet (with Journal Prompts) to help get you started)
The people in our lives are connected to us by what is called 'etheric cords'. Think of this as a cord of energy that runs between you and the other person, along which energy runs back and forth. Very often, if you are empathic and/or a trained helper, this energy is running mostly in one direction: FROM you to others. Therefore, it is critically important that you CUT THE CORDS.
Cord Cutting can be done every day - after each client session or simply at the end of your work day. One of the easiest ways to cut cords is to simply think of the person or persons, and visualize the energetic cord being cut. Bless the person and say the following: "I now release you in love and light" (or a version that feels good to you).
Toxic or unhealthy thought forms are often understood to us mental-health types as repetitive, negative, redundant and automatic thought patterns. They often feel anxious or even obsessive.
This type of thinking keeps us stuck, vibrating at an energetic resonance that tends to attract a similar type of energy. (If you are stuck in anxious, overwhelming thoughts, you tend to see the world through a darker, more negative or overwhelming world view - and so you tend to stay stuck at an emotional, physical and spiritual level that does not feel good).
This is common knowledge for most of us. But instead of the typical 'thought stopping' techniques, or other cognitive behavioral types of interventions, here we are FEELING into the vibration of these lower-vibration energies of fear, grief, blame or anger.
Shifting your energy is important, and if we are tackling a thought-based energy, we need to also use a THOUGHT BASED approach in conjunction with an energetic/spiritual approach.
For example, when you notice negative energy in your aura, and toxic repetitive thought forms, choose a statement (affirmation or mantra) to replace the thought form such as:
"I am in control of my mind, emotions and body"
"I choose to release and transmute the negative to positive,
using this situation to learn and increase my positive energy and vibration"
At the same time, visualize a white light flowing over and through your auric energy field, clearing it of all debris and negative thought and energy forms. All of this can be dissipated into the Universe, and/or through your feet into the Earth.
Chakras are energy wheels through which vital force flows continuously to keep you alive, balanced and well. The theory is that there are SEVEN main chakras running through the centre of our body (from the top of our head to the base of our spine). While there are apparently hundreds of other chakras, these are the ones we are most familiar with: Root, Sacral, Solar, Heart, Throat, Third Eye and Crown.
Keeping your chakras clear and in alignment can be relatively simple - choose a technique that feels good for you: guided meditation (check YouTube for ample free examples), visualization, using crystals or stones, and energy/movement techniques.
Chakra theory and practice is fascinating, and much can relate directly to areas of psychological trauma and stress (and our understanding of how and where it affects the body). It is well worth investigating some more!
We all benefit from quality alone-time. Finding time alone to connect with our inner self, to be spiritually aligned and to consciously practice self-care is extremely important.
A sacred safe space can be any location in - or even outside - your home, where you can be by yourself and find a place to be fully self-expressed. This could even be your work office (mind you, use some of the space clearing techniques before you use this space for your own spiritual practices and rituals).
This is one of my personal favorites - I've always been drawn to rocks and crystals.
While crystals and stones are NOT necessary for us to protect our energy (I don't buy into the victim mentality spiritually or emotionally), they can be used to amplify our vibration, and are a beautiful, visual and tangible way to stay grounded. They help remind us of our intention - a physical representation of what we desire to create, release or feel.
Having a hot bath containing sea salt when you feel energetically overwhelmed can really make a huge difference in the way you feel. Salt draws out negative emotions and energy (and is also physically detoxifying, too!). You can use regular sea salt, Himalayan salt, Epsom salt, or whatever you have on hand. Regular table salt will do in a pinch (teehee). Adding some drops of essential oil is delicious as well.
Himalayan Salt Rock Lamps are soothing to look at - and supposedly reduce EMF's in the air. Whether or not they scientifically 'work' that way, I enjoy having them in my office and bedroom (even my kids love them as a night light).
Salt can also be used as a form of energetic space clearing (I've used it - but it can get messy 😉
This might be the MOST IMPORTANT of all Spiritual Self-Care techniques.
Most of us have learned to 'trust our intuition' when it comes to working with clients. We have perfected our questioning technique, and learned to trust our assessment of a person and the situation. Sometimes our 'assessment' is eerily accurate, without even using any type of diagnostic tool or line of questioning. This is your intuition at play.
However, in my own experience (and that of my clients, too), we have often not learned to really 'tune in' to the power of our intuition in our daily lives.
Our intuition is perhaps our greatest 'secret weapon' when it comes to Self-Care. Trusting the FEELINGS we get. Trusting the thoughts, images, sensations that come to mind (or to our SOUL) when we are with certain people, in certain situations. Trusting how a person, place or situation FEELS to us as being real 'truth'. And using that information to create healthy boundaries and distance is key to preserving our energy and taking good self-care.
Once I started to pay attention to my own intuition and how it showed up, I realized that it was ALWAYS RIGHT. It didn't always protect me from bad choices, or negative experiences (these things happen on our path of enlightenment - it cannot only be golden and easy, otherwise how would we be able to lead and teach?)... but it was ALWAYS RIGHT.
Oh, and if your energetic boundaries are zapped and overwhelmed - it is REALLY difficult to tune in to your intuition. Just sayin'...
Admittedly, this is a quick 'primer' for those interested in learning how to take better Self-Care through their Spirituality. Of course, each of the 11 'tips' above could be expanded in great detail - there are books and plenty of Googling to be had if you are interested in finding out more!
I sincerely hope this has opened your eyes and hearts the many possibilities for exploring Spiritual Self-Care and using it to create healthy boundaries in your life - I know it made the world of difference for me, and it does for my clients, too.
I'd love to hear your feedback, comments and questions!
P.S. If you are a Therapist or Mental Health Professional, you may wish to join our FREE Facebook Group where we talk all things 'woo' and fun, while taking very good care of ourselves.
Disclaimer: The information shared here does not constitute psychological or medical advice, and is shared solely for informational and entertainment purposes.
Tanya Tinney is a mom of three beautiful girls (including fraternal twins), wife of an amazing entrepreneurial man, nature lover, wrangler of two large dogs and chaser of three bad cats. She is equally good at baking banana bread and whipping up a killer margarita. Her passion is helping fabulous people get unstuck from their past so they can blast through current challenges and get really stuck into achieving their dreams. With three University degrees and 14 years experience working as a psychologist, most of the time she knows what she's talking about. The rest of the time she 'wings it' based on her own messy life experiences. Her approach is one of laser focus, empathy and intuition with a healthy dose of humor - along with a kick-in-the-you-know-what when necessary (and it often is!).
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