Be Responsible and Live your Dream-Pisces Full Moon

Empathic helpers often have difficulty bringing their dreams into reality. With great sensitivity comes a tendency to get caught up in other people’s energy. It takes a lot of courage for these people to set boundaries and focus on themselves. Today, I am writing and including a video reading about the Pisces full moon, which occurs September 20th.

Full Moon Energy

Empathic helpers, being sensitive to energy, are often influenced by lunar and planetary changes. The good news is the more you are aware of these shifts, the better you can manage your moods and thoughts.

A full moon is a reminder to surrender to the Divine. You can let go of physical items, emotional baggage or creative blocks. Whatever is getting in the way of what you want in life, release it all. You can focus on letting go during the full moon and up to forty-eight hours afterwards.

The Pisces Full Moon

Pisces full moon asks you to follow your gut instinct and trust the answers you seek, will come. All of your answers come from within.

It is time to get in touch with your feelings, you may find your psychic abilities are heightened and fated relationships come into your life. Release all your fears and insecurities at this time and focus on being in this moment. Meditate around and on the day of the full moon and write down your impressions. Practice grounding to bring the spiritual energy in balance with the practical. You can find a balance between being responsible and living the life of your dreams. 

Write down your dreams. If you could do or be anything, what would be on your list? Find one item on your list and do something about it. Whether you practice that item or set some three month goals towards you, you are now balancing the practical with the spiritual.

With the full moon, be prepared for letting go. You may need to move on, in order to make room for the new. What needs to go? It could be a relationship. Listen deep within. Calm any nervous energy at this time, through meditation, prayer and being by the water.

We are right on the cusp of Virgo and Libra. Virgo/Libra and Pisces people and other empathic souls, this reading may resonate with you if you have a birthday in these signs, moon or rising sign. I always say, all empaths, no matter what your astrological sign, can be affected because you are sensitive to energies.

Video Reading

How can you be responsible yet live out your dreams?

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She works for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Check out my YouTube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC

How to Say No: An essential guide to setting boundaries for helpers

Since compassionate helpers want to please others and help, it is often foreign for them to set a limit or say no. When empathic givers say no, they are often plagued with guilt. Sometimes this is solely within themselves, other times it is from absorbing other’s manipulations. When empathic people teach others they are limitless in their giving, this leads other people to expect constant help and in some cases, even demand it.

The importance of boundaries

The risk of not setting boundaries for the helper can range from anxiety, depression, compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma and even burnout. If you would like to learn more about compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma and burnout, I have included this video for you to watch. Remember, boundaries are a part of self-care.

Boundaries teach others how to treat you. Limits show without a doubt what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. These invisible lines protect you from abuse. Boundaries allow you to have your own separate feelings, thoughts and actions. Now, you know why it is important to have boundaries, let’s get to how to actually do it.

Identify what is your boundary

This part of the process, increases your self-awareness and is not to be shared with anyone else. Take a moment and write down what you want and why. Others do not need to know your reasons for limit setting, but you do. If you have a close relationship you may want to share when you set a boundary or at a later date, why this is important to you. Sharing your why is not required or even necessary. Sometimes your explanation waters down your message. The next time you say, yes, think about why you say, yes. Is this something you want to do or are you trying to avoid fear or confrontation?

Communicate

It is important to be direct about what you want and need. You do not need to explain or justify your reason for a limit. Say what you want in simple terms, without apologizing.

For example:

It is inappropriate when you____________________________ (speak that way or touch me)

Then you may need to redirect the person’s behavior. I would appreciate if you ask me rather than assuming I will do it for you, etc. If you are dealing with a patient who is touching you, Re-direct them and say place your hands here instead.

When someone asks or requests your help and you are unsure of your answer, feel free to ask additional questions. How long do you expect this task will last? Perhaps you can help in a different way then requested and offer that. If you don’t know your answer, give yourself the space to figure it out. Tell the other person, I will have to get back to you tomorrow or I have to check my schedule first.

If you are impulsive with your answers, you may want to read How to slow down impulsive decisions and improve relationships

Practice saying no

First start saying no to little things, then work your way up to the big things you do not want to do. Sometimes saying no is not as big of a deal as you think it will be. Often your anticipatory anxiety, the anxiety you feel before you say no, makes it worse than the reality of saying it.

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable

When you set a limit, expect some people to be upset with you. People pleasers who feel other’s disappointment or anger, can feel threatened. When a person feels threatened, we want to avoid the threat at all costs. You can survive other’s negative feelings towards you. You will do this by getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. Remind yourself, you are setting a limit to help others. Sometimes people don’t need help but rather need to learn for themselves or even hit rock bottom.

Instill consequences

Boundaries are not meant to be a punishment but rather a natural consequence of behavior. A consequence needs to be firm. For example. If you continue to talk to me this way, I will end our phone call until you can talk to me calmly. If you continue to yell at me, I will be in the other room. Feel free to join me when you want to talk calmly. If you break plans with me at the last minute or do not show up or call me, I will call you out on your behaviors and let you know how I feel.

Practice, practice, practice

The well-known proverb says, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Practice setting limits with yourself and others. The more you do it, the less anxious you will feel.

What is your experience with setting boundaries and saying no?

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She works for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Check out my YouTube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC

Why You Absolutely Deserve More Alone Time

We have been through a lot this past year, personally and collectively. None of us have had the opportunity to fully process and integrate what has happened. This is because it is difficult to process trauma when you are living in it or in the middle of it. Now is the time, if you haven’t already, to reach out for support, talk to others and strengthen those coping skills. As we move towards “normalcy”, I professionally believe, the compassionate amongst ourselves are going to need more alone time. We want to understand and comprehend all we have lived through.

As a compassionate helper, you may require sudden alone time, in which you feel drained in a social situation. It is also important to have planned downtime. No matter what kind of solitude you crave, it is normal and okay. The irony is empaths or those who are highly sensitive, are often shunned and invalidated for being different, yet you are the ones sought out for your wisdom. You can only access this inner knowing by having time apart from society at large.

Take as much time as you need and remind yourself of these various reasons.

You need a boundary between your inner world and the outer world.

As a sensitive person, you naturally absorb or take in too much input from the people and places around you. By breaking away from the world, you can re-connect within and listen to the wisdom of your soul.

To recharge and rejuvenate your energy.

You need to unplug, recharge and rejuvenate. Find the activities you enjoy doing. This could be reading, writing, spending time in nature or meditating. Whatever helps you refill your cup, go and do that.

To get personal physical space.

Many empathic people are not looking forward to the end of social distancing. The six feet between people gave us more distance between our energy and others. Now, the limits are relaxed, it is important to take time away and give your body a rest, as you re-acclimate into society. Do not be surprised if you are experiencing more anxiety and fatigue. You are feeling a lot more energy from others, than you have in a long time.

Even though you have a deep connection to certain people, it is important to maintain a deep connection within.

Living with and working with others can be challenging for empaths. For many, our families have been home with us all day. The boundaries between work and rest are blurred.  It is difficult to maintain perfect boundaries, all day long. The increased hours of talking on the phone and holding video chats also stress your energy. There are times you need to get away, take a vacation or even schedule a retreat to connect within.

Now you know why it is important to have time apart from others, you need to work on releasing the guilt. Remember you require time away to take care of you. The more time you devote to yourself, the better able you are to take care of others.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She works for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Check out my YouTube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC

5 Unacknowledged but Useful Truths to Know about Self-Care

Self-care sounds cozy and pretty but often is not. It is made up of those routine moments you need to dig in deep and motivate yourself, when you would rather be doing anything but self-care. Sometimes, it would be a heck of a lot easier to mindlessly zone out on social media, watch marathon hours of TV, or eat a half gallon of ice cream out of the tub. If you find yourself here, no judgment. We all do what’s easiest when we experience extreme stress. If you are ready to incorporate self-care into your routine, here is what you need to know.

Self-care is not easy to do- Doing what is good for you emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually, often does not come easy. Setting boundaries, eating healthier, and managing your finances are not always fun or relaxing. These types of activities often don’t feel good initially but have long-term benefits.

Self-care takes practice and persistence. When you fall off the horse, dust yourself off and get up again. Self-compassion will become your best friend in moments like these. There is no shame in reaching out for counseling support to keep you on track.

In order to be successful with self-care, you need to become aware of the blocks and obstacles within yourself and in your external world. Once you are aware, acknowledge these and put your self-care plan into action. Self-care means taking responsibility for your thoughts, feelings and actions. It is about embracing your vulnerability and being kind to yourself. If I sound like a broken record, this is not always easy.

You may lose some relationships- People who do not take care of themselves cannot support you in your self-care efforts. You may not notice this kind of relationship discrepancy until you set a self-care boundary. Do not allow other’s guilt or manipulation get in the way of your health and wellness.

Self-care is not selfish, it is self- FULL– It may feel unnatural to put yourself first or even include yourself on your list of priorities, when you are a caregiver or empathic helper. The more you take care of you, the more you can take care of others. We all need times of silence to process and integrate. Time away from others means more quality time together. Remember self-care is for everyone, whether you are a man or woman. We all need a little TLC.

Self-care does not require a lot of time– The more you devote time to self-care, it increases your productivity. When you feel better, you become more engaged and mindful with all you do. Take five to ten minutes each day in the morning or right before bed to engage in a relaxing activity, such as deep breathing, writing in a journal or mindfulness techniques.

The person who says, I don’t have time to do self-care, needs it the most. Do not wait until your body or mind breaks down before you start making your health a priority. Sometimes people say they don’t have the time, when they really don’t want to become quiet and sit with their feelings. Your emotional pain will not heal until it is acknowledged, felt and released. If you don’t make time now, when will you?

Self-care does not make your problems disappear- Self-care does not magically erase your problems or pain but it will help you cope better. It helps your body release stress and tension, which left unchecked can make you feel much worse. When the crisis has resolved, you will be able to bounce back quicker.

Activities involving self-care fill your cup. Self-care can help you gain a clearer perspective and detach from other people’s energies. This way you can focus more on what needs to be done in your life. Self-care can help you feel supported by yourself and others, which helps you feel less alone.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She works for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Check out my YouTube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC

How to Slow Down Impulsive Decisions & Improve Your Relationships

Impulsive decisions can wreak havoc on your boundary setting and relationships. When you act without thinking, you can contradict the very limit you were attempting to set with someone. This leaves you appearing to negate what you previously said or did for others. Understandably, people will question whether you have integrity or if you can be trusted.

People in today’s world are more impulsive. Many of us react to whatever is seen or said, without pausing to think first. We expect and some of us demand, instant gratification. I see impulsive behaviors on social media, whether it is reactions to posts, posting without thinking and even expecting an instant answer or response through messages. Sometimes people get blocked, ghosted or impulsively cut out of others’ lives.

Impulsivity as a Symptom

Addictive behaviors thrive on impulsivity. This can include people pleasing, social media, along with any type of substance or alcohol abuse. Many mental health issues feature impulsivity as a symptom. Some are bipolar/mania, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Cluster B personality disorders (borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, etc.) and impulse control disorders. You can also find people act impulsively when they are anxious or experiencing trauma. If you are suffering from a mental health issue, treatment is available to help decrease these kinds of impulsive behaviors.  

It’s Not All Bad

As with everything, there is a healing and a destructive side. The healing side of impulsivity is taking action whereas you wouldn’t have before. This push can help you step outside of the box and explore new ways of being. Much of our intuition and gut feelings lead us to take immediate action without thought. It is important to trust these drives, which protect and guide us.

What Fuels your Impulsive Behavior?

Often people act impulsively to get rid of anxiety or anger. By acting to remove your discomfort, you end up creating more discomfort.

Ask yourself;

Is my impulsivity from a learned behavior through society, a mental health condition, people pleasing or a combination of these?

Ways to Decrease Impulsive People Pleasing

Growing up and sometimes as an adult, I felt compelled to jump in and help, whenever a need arose. I automatically said yes to all requests, as if I didn’t have a choice. I did not take the time to consider if this was something I wanted to do. This is how impulsive people pleasing cuts you off from your own feelings and thoughts. 

Whether you identify as empath, empathic or a people pleaser, here are some ways to decrease impulsivity and connect within. The next time someone asks you for a favor or help, try these phrases to give yourself the space to process;

1. Let me sleep on it.
2. I will consider it.
3. Give me some time to check my schedule.
4. Let me get back to you. 

These phrases give you the option to make a choice based on what you want. In this space, check in with your body and mind. Observe your thoughts and feelings. 

Ask yourself;

Does this feel right for me? 
What does my gut tell me?

Ways to Decrease Reactivity in all Situations

When you feel triggered by another person or situation, this is the time to not respond. It may go against everything you feel within and seem wrong, but do not do it. Create a space of calmness and try these activities instead;

Write out all your thoughts and feelings uncensored. Shred the page.

Talk to a trusted friend and ask their opinion.

Go for a walk.

Practice deep breathing and stay in the present moment.

Pray.

Final Thoughts

The more you can build awareness, take responsibility and be specific, the better you can manage impulsivity. When you react out of fear or anger, take responsibility for your part. In unhealthy relationships, we contribute something to keep them going. Look at your own patterns and heal these.

You do not have to say yes to every request on your time and energy. If you are repeating your boundaries multiple times to the same person, it is time to detach and possibly disconnect from this person. You do not need or require another’s permission or approval to heal yourself. Remember, we are all on our own journey of healing. Some people will not be traveling with us.

You do not have to share every thought that comes into your mind. In fact, it is often best when you don’t.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She works for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Check out my YouTube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC

Compassionate People Need Boundaries Now More Than Ever

Boundaries are essential for those people who have big hearts and a desire to help others. As we approach the one year mark since the COVID-19 pandemic began, continuing political unrest, and an awakening of multiple injustices, our society needs all hands on deck.

When I write about the word boundary, I am describing a professional or personal limit. Some examples of professional boundaries are mindfully self-disclosing, leaving work at work and taking your vacation time. Personal limits are your self-care and self-compassion practices. Whether your boundaries are personal or professional, they all represent self-care and self-compassion.

Warning Signs

Stress symptoms indicate a need to increase your boundaries. Stress manifests itself physically (headaches, muscle tension, digestive disorders), emotionally (irritability, restlessness, concentration problems), in relationship with others (communication difficulties or avoiding others), and through behaviors (overeating, increased use of alcohol or drugs). These resulting experiences can set off more stress, leading you into a vicious cycle.

Little or no boundaries can contribute to burnout, illness, and even addiction. Stress is not a sign of failure but rather a warning or indication self-care needs to be increased. Stress reminds us, we are human and we have limits. You can learn how to manage it and feel better.

When You Care Too Much

Too much empathy is not a good thing for compassionate people. Too much sympathy, or working with empathy without proper boundaries drains helpers of energy. This makes you vulnerable to compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma and burnout.

Compassion fatigue develops when you care too much and lack boundaries. Empaths often suffer from this type of fatigue when they cannot separate their energy from others. This over connection, leads to exhaustion. It can prevent you from empathizing or having compassion, towards others and even yourself. To remedy compassion fatigue, any personal energy management technique will work well. A starting point you may consider is the book I created, I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers. You could also benefit from assertiveness training, boundary setting and cognitive therapy.

Vicarious trauma– During and after a trauma or period of intense stress, such as living through a pandemic, it is normal to feel shell-shocked and reactive. We have been and are still going through a lot. For some compassionate people, it is traumatizing to hear about others trauma or too much trauma all day long. You may experience the symptoms of posttraumatic stress, even though you have not directly witnessed the trauma. For example, you may experience nightmares, flashbacks or memories of the trauma you heard about. There are several treatments to help you process and integrate trauma. Some are talk therapy, expressive arts therapy or EMDR. (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing). Trauma will not go away on its own.

Burnout is the physical and emotional exhaustion compassionate people experience when they have low job satisfaction, feel powerless and overwhelmed at work. This can result from too much work or not enough support from higher ups in the organization you work for. Some people change jobs or their line of work and find burnout goes away. This is different from compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma, which would not lessen with a job change. Some other causes of burnout and compassion fatigue can result from perfectionism or being overly involved with other people’s issues. Cognitive therapy works well with this type of thinking.

In order to prevent or decrease cases of burnout, compassion fatigue, and vicarious traumatization among compassionate people, it is important to receive education on the signs and symptoms of each. This increases your awareness and allows you to recognize any early warning signs. The next step is reaching out to a professional psychotherapist to help you learn the skills to protect, restore and rejuvenate your personal energy.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She works for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Check out my YouTube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC

Why narcissists avoid you and your boundaries

One surefire way to know if you are dealing with a narcissistic personality is to set a boundary. If the person has an angry outburst or gives you the silent treatment, that is your answer. People who are mentally healthy keep the lines of communication open, respect and honor other’s limits.

What is a narcissistic personality?

In a nut shell, a person with a narcissistic personality disorder has an inflated sense of self-importance, a need for excessive attention and admiration, relationships problems, and a lack of empathy for others. Their behavior occurs the majority of the time, not as an isolated incident. These people have big EGO’s and take offense at the slightest criticism. This can be what you say or you setting a boundary. Either of these may not be a criticism but they perceive it that way.

Below are five specific reasons narcissists hate boundaries and why they avoid them.

1. They have a sense of entitlement and feel superior to others. Narcissistic people think limits or boundaries are beneath them. These rules may apply to other people but not to them because they are special people, who deserve special treatment. They expect favors and unquestioning loyalty. Your boundary, no matter how healthy it is, can cause them to feel offended. How dare you set a boundary with me! Don’t you know who I am?

2. They use chaos as a way to control others. Narcissistic people have to be in control. One way they do this is to either delegate or create chaos. Interestingly, when this type of person delegates work or planning to others, they often change the timing or plan at the last moment to suit them, without any regard for your schedule.

A part of their chaotic presentation is their narcissistic rage. This type of personality has difficulty controlling and regulating their anger. You will experience their outrage, a pouty silence or both. Sometimes they intentionally start drama to see what you will do. They don’t like limits because you can’t have chaotic behavior, if you have healthy boundaries.

3. They refuse to take responsibility for anything. If you assertively point out a narcissist’s poor behavior and set a limit around it, he or she will refuse to acknowledge the behavior as harmful. In fact, they may project their poor behavior onto you. Somehow it is your fault or responsibility, they have acted this way. Don’t take the bait. Either they will rage, cut you off through the silent treatment or disappear completely (ghosting you).

4. They want to be enmeshed with you. They do not know how to be a separate person. Together you are one and they like it this way. This sounds romantic but it is a recipe for disaster. A narcissist feeds off of your energy, in order to feel powerful. Their self-centeredness leads them to believe their feelings are your feelings and vice versa.

When you are enmeshed, they can control your identify, thoughts, feelings, and even opinions. The narcissist wants to mold you to give them an endless supply of whatever they need. They want you to anticipate their needs before they even speak them. This type of personality does not want you to have your own sense of self.

5. They don’t like the word, “no”– Much like a toddler, the narcissistic personality disordered person has a temper tantrum, when a limit is set on his or her behavior. They feel rejected as a person and insulted. No to them says I don’t care about you, when in fact you are saying, I don’t care for this behavior.

Exit stage left

A true narcissist is an opportunist and will use anyone to get what he or she wants. Once they see no usefulness for you to stay in their life, you will be discarded. This is when they avoid or drop you. If this person has a need for you to be in their life, he or she will attempt to manipulate your boundary in order for you to change your mind. The bottom line is, a person with narcissistic personality disorder will not respect you or your boundaries.

To learn more about boundaries here are two blogs to read: 3 Ways to Maintain Good Boundaries and How to Stop Being Controlled and Get Empowered Learn more about Narcissistic Personalities with this blog: Why Narcissists Overreact When They Don’t Get Their Way and watch this video: When Narcissists Claim to be Empaths

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She works for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Check out my YouTube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC

3 Ways to Maintain Good Boundaries

Boundaries are invisible limits that inform people what behavior you will and will not tolerate in your relationship. These parameters are healthy not only for yourself but others. When someone has a negative reaction to a compassionate limit, it reveals more about their character, than yours. Since empaths are natural people pleasers, they often have a difficult time creating limits and sticking to them.

You deserve to be treated respectfully. In order for boundaries to be effective, you need to be clear about what you want, know your values and voice these assertively.  You may want to read this blog; How to Stop Being Controlled and Get Empowered to learn more about your personal rights. 

Now you have communicated your boundaries, the real work begins. This is where you walk your talk. Some people will test your limits, to see if you will hold the line firm. Here are three ways to make your boundaries stick:

1.) Call upon a Higher Power for a Boost 

When a sensitive person speaks up, he or she can feel vulnerable and uncomfortable. Each time you feel tested, either by yourself or someone else, one affirmation you can say is, “God/Divine, give me the strength to value myself.” There is no shame in reaching up for help. Remember, with God/The Divine everything is possible.

2.) Feel All the Emotions but Don’t Act on Them

When you set a boundary, you may feel confused and begin to second guess yourself. Was I too harsh? Maybe it is too much? Did I hurt their feelings? Guilt can sabotage you, if you let it. Process all of these feelings, in your journal or with a counselor, in order to release any unnecessary emotional burdens you carry. Think about how much the other party is considering your feelings at this point. Is he or she offering you the same energetic consideration?

3.) Self-care is Essential

Improve your mental, physical and spiritual health. You give a lot to others, make sure you give to yourself. Have a luxurious cup of tea or do an activity you enjoy. Another aspect of self-care is limiting your time with those you set boundaries with. In order to protect your energy, make an honest assessment and take a hard look at your life. What is your need to stay or be around this type of energy? Take steps to be around this person less and less. You may find my book, I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers, beneficial for you.

Here is an additional resource: My presentation about boundaries on SkinCare Talk Radio: Boundaries, Difficult People & COVID-19

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Check out my You Tube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC

How To Make Authentic Connections In Times Of Crisis

Throughout the world, the coronavirus pandemic has changed how we connect with others. In Massachusetts, many other states and our entire world, restaurants have closed and community events are being postponed or cancelled. We are being asked to social distance and stay home as much as possible. I am reminded of the anxiety we felt after September 11th and how we worked through it individually and as a society. We did it before and we can do it again.

How much anxiety is too much?  

Our routines have been upset and there are many unknowns, this results in an increase in anxiety. If you are feeling some anxiety, it is normal. If anxiety is disrupting your relationships, work or general well being, take some steps now to reduce stress.

Some Signs of Anxiety

  • Restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge.
  • Being easily fatigued.
  • Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank.
  • Irritability.
  • Muscle tension.
  • Sleep disturbance (difficulty falling or staying asleep, or restless unsatisfying sleep).

As empaths, we have to be aware of how much anxiety we absorb from others. It is our responsibility to protect and rejuvenate our energy. Remember, connecting through our fear over and over again is not authentically connecting. It is called obsessing and ruminating. In the long term, this damages our health and weakens our immune system. 

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What can I do?

Become aware of what is raising your anxiety. Notice what people and circumstances are triggering anxious thoughts. What feels frightening to you?

Choose your thoughts and responses. I am reminded of my Mom in difficult times like these. She suffered a severe stroke which left her entire right side paralyzed. She taught me an important lesson, nine years ago, this month. No matter what your circumstance in life (whether you are ill, ordered to be in a quarentine, practicing social distancing, are required to travel into work, etc.), you CHOOSE your thoughts and responses.

Take precautions. Do what the CDC recommends which includes washing your hands, not touching your face, covering coughs and sneezes while practicing social distancing, and holding off on non-essential travel.

Feel the fear, don’t dwell. Allow yourself a brief time each day to sit, feel and release your fear. You may do this through writing, talking to others or online/phone counseling. Learn to shift into gratitude, focus on what you have and practice ways to distract your mind. (reading a book, watching a comedy, going for a walk)

Have compassion for yourself and set some new boundaries. You may need to watch less news. Read the news once a day, rather than checking it every few hours. Don’t watch the news before going to bed. Spend less time on social media, which can fuel your fear and spread misinformation.

Start connecting to spirit, yourself and others in alternative ways. You can use phone calls or Skype/Zoom to connect with others. Make more time to pray, meditate, write, be creative and connect within. 

You are all in my thoughts. This is a temporary situation, it will not last forever. I am always available for phone counseling and angel card readings.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC  is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach who helps sensitive souls not just survive but shine. She is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; 8 Simple Things That Release Chaos from Your Life Now at http://www.lisahutchison.net

 

How to Stop Being Controlled & Get Empowered

How to Stop Being Controlled & Get Empowered

At some point in your life, you have felt controlled by another person or event. Growing up, I witnessed some people passively going along with the controlling actions of others. I knew it could be different. I tried to change the situation, which left me exhausted, upset and reactive. I did what many well-meaning helpers do; I tried to control the control. As you guessed it, it did not help at all.

As I grew into mid-life, I learned how to detach and speak up for myself with assertiveness training. This doesn’t mean I let go perfectly. I have moments of stress, anger and fear. The difference is I visit these emotional states but I do not live in them. I do not allow a controlling person or situation to take up space in my head for too long. You can learn how to live in peace and happiness, despite what others do or do not do.

Are you victorious or a victim?

The decision to be controlled lies within each one of us, you can choose to be victorious or a victim. In the most dire of situations; prison camps, slavery, illness, politics, natural disasters, abuse etc. people have chosen to keep their thoughts positive and hopeful. No matter what situation you are facing, you can learn how to let go of controlling behaviors.

How to Stand in Your Power:

“Don’t put the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket – keep it in your own.”- Elizabeth Gilbert (Author; Eat, Pray, Love)

1.) Avoid Reacting. The controlling person wants a reaction, do not give her one. She is trying to get into your head and have the upper hand. You cannot control what another person does, but you can choose your response. To be truly empowered is to learn how to stand, breath and pause when you feel triggered (angry, depressed, guilty, scared or upset). Become neutral, like Spock from Star Trek.

2.) Have Empathy for the Person. Their behavior is not personal. It comes from a deep feeling of insecurity and low self-esteem. People who act controlling may look confident, yet they have a lot of fear. Remember: Understanding them does not excuse unacceptable behavior.

3.) Know Your Boundaries. You deserve to be treated respectfully.  Here is a Personal Bill of Rights from The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook. I highly recommend this book if you struggle with anxiety dealing with the world or in relationship with others.

  1. I have the right to ask for what I want.
  2. I have the right to say no to requests or demands I can’t meet.
  3. I have the right to express all of my feelings, positive or negative.
  4. I have the right to change my mind.
  5. I have the right to make mistakes and not have to be perfect.
  6. I have the right to follow my own standards.
  7. I have the right to say no to anything when I feel I am not ready, it is unsafe, or it violates my values.
  8. I have the right to determine my own priorities.
  9. I have the right not to be responsible for others’ behavior, actions, feelings, or problems.
  10. I have the right to expect honesty from others.
  11. I have the right to be angry at someone I love.
  12. I have the right to be uniquely myself.
  13. I have the right to feel scared and say “I’m scared.”
  14. I have the right to say “I don’t know.”
  15. I have the right not to give excuses or reasons for my behavior.
  16. I have the right to make decisions based on my feelings.
  17. I have the right to my own needs for personal space and time.
  18. I have the right to be playful and frivolous.
  19. I have the right to be healthier than those around me.
  20. I have the right to be in a non-abusive environment.
  21. I have the right to make friends and be comfortable around people.
  22. I have the right to change and grow.
  23. I have the right to have my needs and wants respected by others.
  24. I have the right to be treated with dignity and respect.
  25. I have the right to be happy.

4.) Be Clear About Your Limits. Those who control want you to get accustomed to their expectations and way of living, rather than they become flexible by giving and receiving. Where are you going to draw the line? You have the power to decide what behavior is acceptable and unacceptable to you.

5.) Limit Your Time with Them. You need to protect your energy. Make an honest assessment and take a hard look at your life. What is your need to stay or be around this type of energy? Take steps to be around this person less and less.

Remember:

“No one can control you without your consent.”- Walt Disney (Co-founder; The Walt Disney Company)

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She specializes in working with professionals who often get drained from their helping efforts, recharge and rejuvenate their energy. Pick up her FREE 10 page E-book 8 Simple Things That Release Chaos from Your Life Now!  

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You may also be interested in Lisa’s MP3 meditation Renew and Heal: Releasing the Chaos Meditation. 

Renew & Heal Meditation-Releasing the Chaos