For most of my early life, I lived in my mind, very disconnected from my body. I worried a lot, thought about everything deeply, and did everything I could to not feel my emotions.
This trauma response helped me live a “normal” life, disconnected from the place (my body) that held my feelings and memories of painful experiences.
While this (sort of) worked for a while, it had huge consequences, like being disconnected from the real me, emotional numbness, and tons of anxiety.
I spent a lot of years reconnecting with myself and healing my trauma. The result has been the ability to feel my feelings, be more “in” my body, and bring the real me into my work and relationships.
But I didn’t realize until 5 years ago that I had left the concept of energetic health out of the equation.
Before you write this off as woo-woo, keep reading, because I bet you’ll relate.
I used to soak up others emotions like it was my job and frequently felt exhausted at the end of the day. Plus, I was often confused about what emotions belonged to me vs. others.
And, I didn’t understand something called energetic hygiene.
We’re all familiar with the concept of physical hygiene. We’re taught at some point in our lives that we need to brush our teeth, take a shower, move our bodies, drink water, etc in order to maintain our physical health.
Similarly, we need 3 types of energetic hygiene to maintain our energetic health: energetic protection, release, and restoration. Let’s talk about each and what they mean for you.
Energetic protection is a buffer between you and outside energies. Energetic protection helps you to not take on the emotions of others or feel less like you’re completely vulnerable to what happens around you.
For much of my life, I felt like I was missing a layer of skin. I felt completely raw and exposed, and venturing out meant that I would come home feeling exhausted and completely covered in the energy of the world.
The level of protection you’ll need in any given situation varies depending on the situation as well as on your specific needs and desires.
A few ways you can protect your energy:
- Picture an energetic bubble surrounding you made of the material you need for the situation (ie. a thin film, a gold energy field, or bulletproof glass).
- Add something soothing and pleasant to shift the energy you feel such as calming music or binaural beats.
- Call on the natural world. Imagine a forest or other natural body around you. Feel it blocking out the energy not serving you.
No matter how much we build up good protection mechanisms, we’ll always have a need to release energy that doesn’t belong to us. It’s part of being a sensitive human. Let’s say you work in construction building homes and every day you’re in an environment with dirt, sawdust, etc.
Even if you wore protective clothes, you’d still find some dirt on you at the end of the day.
Just like that person would need to rinse off, we need ways to rinse off the energy we picked up that doesn’t belong to us.
Many of the people who come to us for coaching don’t have enough energetic release practices, so they’ve reached a breaking point where their bodies and minds are full of energetic “waste”.
This waste can build up, making us sick, exhausted, anxious and depressed. What might seem like inexplicable fatigue or struggles with your mood might have everything to do with the unseen energy you’ve carried around for too long.
Here are a few energetic release practices you can use regularly:
- Rinse off in the shower or put your hands under some running water and imagine the energy washing off of you and down the drain
- Energetic Swiffer Duster – imagine dragging a duster up and down your body, inside and out, capturing any energetic residue
- Visualize sending any energy that doesn’t belong to you back to the person who owns it, or imagine releasing it to the wind like dandelion seeds
For a long time, I overlooked this energy practice. I focussed my attention on protecting my energy and releasing what wasn’t mine, but I didn’t realize that my energy also needed regular nurturance and restoration.
Energetic restoration makes our lives feel rich and joyful. After all, most of us don’t want lives only comprised of eating, working, and sleeping. We need fun, play, connection, creativity, and (especially for HSPs) meaning.
Energetic restoration practices are the ways that we draw energy back into ourselves and cultivate our natural well of energy. These practices make us feel good.
If we don’t have energetic restoration practices, HSPs will find themselves burned out, depleted, lacking a zest for life, and even depressed.
With the right restoration practices for our needs, however, we’ll feel vital, alive, and rejuvenated.
Here are some energetic restoration practices you might try:
- Meditate or pray. These are inherently restorative ways to slow down, ground in our bodies.
- Try movement like dance, walking or Yin yoga. Consider what type of movement would feel restorative in any given moment.
- Get a good night’s sleep or take a nap. Sleep is both restorative and a natural energy reset.
- Take a bath with Epsom or Himalayan Sea Salt. Reclining in warm water with healing salt…need I say more? Set the mood by lighting a candle.
What are ways you will protect, release and restore your energy?
I’d encourage you to take one minute to write down 2 of the practices mentioned above that you want to try as well as the things you already do to take care of your energy (I bet you were already doing some energetic self care practices without realizing it!)
An Important Caveat
There’s one more really important thing I want to tell you about energetic hygiene practices: don’t get caught in the trap of having to do these nonstop!
When I first learned about energetic hygiene, I noticed I had to do these practices pretty constantly to feel their effects. That was neither fun nor sustainable!
Over time I realized that there were still “holes” in my energetic boundaries that were making it hard for these tools to work. But once I healed the holes in my energetic boundaries from things like unhealthy beliefs and poor boundaries, these practices worked wonders and their effects lasted for hours or days!
If you’d like more guidance on becoming an HSP who’s free from the burden of over-responsibility, watch our free workshop, How to Break Free from Empathy Overload.