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

 

3 Ways to Clear Emotional Burdens for Good

3 Ways to Clear Emotional Burdens for Good (1)

 

For most of my life, I felt burdened by responsibility. Being an empath, I was born sensitive to other people’s feelings and moods. When I saw someone struggling, I felt their struggle and dived in to help. In addition to this, I was taught as a child I could make my stepfather happy by changing my behavior.

This tuning into others’ moods created an unhealthy sense of responsibility in me. As I grew up, I was depleted of energy and became ill because I gave too much. I began to set boundaries refusing to do for others what they could do for themselves. Despite withdrawing physical support, I continued to carry an emotional support.

Even though, I was mindful of what I invested my physical time in, I caught myself putting energy into thinking about others too much. I worried, prayed and tried to come up with a solution for them. I knew I was caring too much when this emotional burden expressed itself as digestive disorders, sleep problems and a tension in my shoulders and upper back.

Here is how I cleared this emotional responsibility and you can too:

1. Be aware and acknowledge– Recognize this responsibility is not mine to carry. I began to see some of the frustration I felt was the other party who was upset when I didn’t do their work for them or give them the emotional attention they wanted. Once I became aware of this, I chose to let it go.

2. Accept others who lack integrity for who they are. Integrity means a lot to me. It is about keeping your word, following through and doing what you say. This energy builds trust in relationships. The healthy empath has integrity and can see through the facade to the true character of a person.

I am not saying people who lack integrity can’t change. When you see a pattern which represents a lack of integrity, pay attention and change your behavior. This lack of integrity energy is more intense in the world now because there are a lot of people not doing their spiritual work. This is not a judgment but rather a fact. I have made a personal decision to no longer take on their energy at an emotional level because the cost is too high for me.

3. Don’t contribute and allow for space– You have to learn how to let go of control and trust the process. Remember, this is not your problem to fix. Every person is capable of finding his or her own solution. You can offer counseling, guidance and then set your boundaries.

Do less physically and emotionally in relationships no matter how uncomfortable it is for you. Often this is easier said than done. Keep practicing. This can mean not stepping in to remind a capable adult to follow through. A missed call or late appointment can happen to anyone. The first time, I assume something went wrong which was out of the person’s control. After the 2nd and 3rd time, it is a pattern and a part of the person’s character. To continue to remind and rescue others, robs them of learning how to have integrity and drains you of precious energy.

To wrap it all up

Do an honest assessment. Are you a part of the problem or the solution? Enabling and doing for others what they can do for themselves stops your and their spiritual growth. Sometimes there is no solution if the other person refuses to change. You can find peace for yourself. In the end, you are only responsible for yourself and your own energy.

Here is another blog about caring too much which can help you:

What helpers like you need to know about burnout

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach for empaths and artists. She works with professionals who often get drained from their helping efforts, giving them the tools to recharge and replenish their energy. Get her FREE gift 8 Simple Things You Can Do That Release Chaos Now! at http://www.lisahutchison.net 

How to do the Letting Go Part of Grief

How to do the Letting Go Part of Grief (2)

I find myself facing the transitory nature of life again. In 2016-2017, I had two friends die. Last month in February, another one joined the light. I am in a mixed state of denial, shock and intermittent sadness. You would think it gets easier to grieve when you have had a lot of practice with it such as myself, it doesn’t. Each grief experience is unique and takes you into the depths of your being. A part of yourself dies because you no longer have that shared physical experience and memory of being together.

Life is all about holding on and letting go

I have found the letting go part scary and at times I have not been very good at it. I want to recreate and sit with the memories a little bit longer. I read old texts, emails and look at photos in an effort to grab a hold of that old connection once more. Then the realization sweeps over me and the pain of the loss sets in.

I reach out but find I can’t make or control certain family members to care more. I try to force a square peg into a round hole and find myself tense up when it does not work according to my plan. I want to assure you, this is normal in the beginning stages of grief. Be patient and gentle with yourself as you adjust to a new reality. Overtime, this tensing up and holding on can translate into body pains, sleep difficulties and irritability. This is when you need to let go…

 Tips to let go

1.) Awareness– Know your own signs of holding on too tight. Are you are an obsessive thinker or doer? Learn your body signals and see where you resist letting go. A couple of days after the loss of my friend, I received a message from spirit telling me; “Relax, you don’t always have to be going someplace.”

2.) Don’t think about it, just do it – Choose to let go and take a leap of faith. Do not intellectualize the letting go. Rather than focusing on how to do it, be present with releasing. Start by surrendering to your breath. Breathe in and state, “I am calm.” Breath out and state, “I let go.” You will need to practice letting go many times as it is not a natural process for most people.

3.) Remind yourself, it is safe to let go. Often our fears make letting go worse than the reality is. Believe and trust you are safe. You may need to tell yourself, “I am safe or it is safe to let go now.”

4.) Remember how letting go can feel positive. When you have fully healed and let go, you are left with a feeling of joy, release and freedom. Think back to when you were a child and rode a bike unassisted or stood up on ice skates to move on your own.

In letting go, you trust and release the emotional pain. What remains is the love, memories and spiritual connection. Now you are open to a new way of living. If you need more help through the grieving process check out these blogs:

Coping with the unexpected death of a friend  (grief, sudden loss, friend, PTSD, complicated grief, empath)

5 Powerful Ways of Finding Freedom from Empathic Guilt (petloss, guilt, empath)

This blog is dedicated to my friend Gary who would have been 63 years old today when this blog was published on March 6th. He died from a courageous battle with esophageal cancer on February 3, 2018. Thank you Gary for shining your light upon my life.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach for empaths and artists. Unresolved grief or loss is one of the many ways your energy becomes depleted overtime. Lisa specializes in working with professionals who get drained from their helping/caring efforts, refill and recharge their energy.  Visit her website and get a FREE gift- 8 Simple Things That Release Chaos from Your Life Now! at www.lisahutchison.net