In the spirit of Mercury Retrograde, I’m returning to an article idea, Self Care for Empaths, I’ve literally had for years. Not sure why it’s taken me four years to write — probably because there’s a fair bit of confession in this — but no time like the present as they say. This guide is needed is because there is a subset of people called empaths who have emotional and energetic needs that are quite different than the rest. I regularly encounter them in my client work and I can spot them because of their heavy Neptune, Pisces, or 12th House natal energy — sometimes there’s even a strong Scorpio too. Empaths are hypersensitive individuals and often don’t consciously realize just how much energy they process for the collective. They are also highly spiritually connected, a trait that brings with it very specific self care needs.

Are You An Empath?

With the amount of Neptune in my natal chart, I always wondered if I was an empath. Other people define an empath as someone who feels the emotions of others. While this is true, it doesn’t quite capture the fullness of what it means. An empath viscerally feels the emotions of others and find it hard to be in places, like hospitals, where there is emotional distress. Empaths are often healers and caretakers with a desire to help verging on self sacrifice. Their energetic bodies are a conduit for the energy of others, which can bring physical problems if that energy is not transmuted properly. In addition, they frequently experience burn out because their own physical or emotional needs have not been tended to while in service to others.

It took me a while to realize just how much I am an empath. As an adult, I mitigated the effects of hypersensitivity with food and alcohol. It’s hard being an empath, especially when you live in New York, a city of eight million people. In the past there were days when I was so psychically overloaded that the only way I knew to cope was to pour myself a glass of wine at the end of the day or eat something sugary to feel something other than what I was feeling. This would be the lower form of natal Neptune — the desire to numb versus connect to something in its entirety. I would also get exhausted easily or overwhelmed from being in a large crowd of people. Times Square is the last place you’ll ever find me!

Now that I’m older and have done a ton of work on myself, I see a coping mechanism that has outlived its usefulness. Doing the work I do means experiencing energy and emotions in a way that others do not. It can be overwhelming, especially as I still live in (and love) New York City. It also means tending to my emotional, physical, and psychic body in a way that others do not have to. When I have clients who are empaths, I explain to them that there are things they need to do every day to ensure optimal health.

Self Care

Much like you need to brush your teeth every day and other hygienic activities, empaths need to tend daily to their energetic body. This can include:

  • Daily energy clearing and grounding. I tell my clients that a good way to create ritual and intention around this is to spend a few minutes in the shower visualizing the water clearing away any accumulated psychic gunk. You can also work with sage, epsom salts, or sea salt baths.
  • Creating sacred space. Your home needs to be a sanctuary where the chaos and the din of the outside world cannot cross your threshold. It needs to be a place where you can recharge your batteries, feel safe, and supported.
  • Meditating. Getting still and quiet, even if it’s for 10 minutes a day, will help you reconnect to your energetic and psychic body. It will also help you ground through your breath. You can visualize yourself connected to the earth as well as the wisdom of your guides and angels.
  • Crystals. Crystals are a great way to help mitigate energetic sensitivity. Black tourmaline, for example, is a powerful protection stone as is Amethyst.
  • Detox. Part of having good self care is knowing what is right for you and what is not. If there is a behavior, person, substance, or situation that is overly toxic to your sensitive body, it will let you know in the form of illness and emotional distress. Learn to listen to your intuition. What is it telling you that you need more of and less of?
  • Energy and Body Work. Empaths filter, channel, and transmute energy for the collective. It can be overwhelming, especially if you’re not taking care of yourself. Reiki, acupuncture, and other healing modalities such as massage are all ways to ground and keep your energy body running smoothly.
  • Boundaries. When you have a strong Neptune or Pisces in your natal chart, it’s hard to know where you end and someone else begins. You feel everything so strongly. Being an empath means cultivating good boundaries and learning to say no.
  • Animals. Pets are more than just our companions. They also help to transmute energy and help keep our heart chakra open.
  • Nature. The earth, trees, and ocean are all invaluable tools to help us ground and transmute energy. If you can, spend time in the sanctuary of the natural world. Don’t forget to thank the elements for their service and support.

These are merely a few places to start with your own self care regimen. As always, trust your own intuition. If you feel like you’re energetically sensitive, what is your body telling you? Are you numbing out? As we move further into the energetic intensity of the times we live in, this is the perfect time to start making positive, healthy changes — especially if you’re an empath.