Empathy During the COVID-19 Pandemic

I’ll start by saying this:
I’m lucky to live alone.

I’m writing this blog for those of you who’ve just had enough of people these past few weeks.

I’ve written about being an empath before, and I enjoy writing on the topic because I think empaths are more common than we think. I believe many people in my life have the qualities of an empath, they just don’t label themselves that way. I didn’t label myself as an empath until about a year ago. While I always knew I was little “different” or “more sensitive” than others my age, I had no idea there was a term for it. Many perceive empaths to be slightly paranormal, which makes it a little awkward to explain my experiences to those who have a more logical view of the world. However, I wouldn’t describe these sensations as paranormal. I’m not a mind reader or fortune teller.

In a nutshell, an empath is someone who absorbs the emotions of others. I’ve had instances where I can feel someone’s stress in my gut without even looking at them or talking to them. Negative energy just radiates off of their body. Their stress becomes my stress. So in return, I feel everyone’s stress. The only way to stop the absorption is to be alone.

When I’m experiencing negative emotions, I’ve learned what I need to do to make it better. There are so many healthy ways to handle emotions. Much of it is in my control. What is not in my control is how others handle their emotions. Since I absorb the emotions of others, I really appreciate when the people around me also handle it in healthy ways. To be clear, I don’t mind being around people who are experiencing strong emotions and them confiding in me, as long as I know that they are taking care of themselves. I honestly cannot stand when people get out of control, lash out, pick fights, or engage in any other unhealthy behaviors.

Now, I don’t mean to complain; empathy is as much as a gift as it is a curse.

Many people are experiencing high levels of negative emotion due to COVID-19 and may not know how to handle it properly. I certainly don’t blame them as dealing with this sort of uncertainty is new to many people. That said, if you find yourself getting drained from simply communicating, it’s okay to take some time to yourself so you can focus on adapting to this dystopian reality. You do not need to take on the weight of additional negative energy.

Taking some time to yourself can mean shutting off social media, putting away your phone, shutting off the news, locking yourself in your room, journaling, reading, blogging, cooking, going on long walks or runs. Anything.

This can be challenging if you live with people. I’m hearing all sorts of stories about roommate troubles, and it sounds like a sh*tty time. It has to suck if you were away at college and you had to come home to parents bossing you around all of the time. Maybe you live with your significant other, and the number of fights have increased because you can’t get any alone time. I won’t even touch on people getting laid off and financial trouble. But know that’s a thing too.

If you are experiencing negative emotions right now. Do your best to take care of them. Don’t take them out on others (on social media or the people closest to you). Don’t spread hate. To most of you, this is common sense, but I’m happy to state the obvious… it won’t solve your problems.

Be kind, for everyone is impacted by COVID-19 either physically, mentally, spiritually, or all of the above.

Take care, everyone.

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