As you build your spiritual connection, hone your intuition, deepen your connection to the web of consciousness, and develop a healthy ego, it’s important to be vigilant about taking care of yourself and nurturing your love for yourself. Because empaths are so giving (often pathologically so), we can drain ourselves of our life force energy. I’ve discussed the need to recharge our batteries, and the fuel for those batteries is our life force energy.

Our path to healing needs to take our empathic tendencies into consideration, tendencies such as depleting ourselves, absorbing fears and illness, and, because our barriers are down and the opinions of others can feel like our own, our high suggestibility. It’s important for us to learn to protect ourselves from taking on other people’s illness or other people’s opinions about our illness. And if we’re ill, we need to know how to actively participate in our own healing process. We also need to help loved ones who are ill do the same….

Ask, "What can I say 'no' to?"

If you have a hard time saying "no" and a tendency to take on more than you can or should, the first thing to do is ask yourself, Where am I taking on things that I don’t want to do? In other words, Where can I say "no"? Where have I been saying "yes" when I meant "no"?

You might be someone who has a tendency to rescue people or help them, even when they don’t ask for it, or don’t need it. Perhaps your fear of disappointing people perpetually drives you to take on much more than is necessary, and you eventually add layers of issues that are not originally your own.

You can use this step for the most minor ailments. I do. If you feel a flu coming on, or aches and pains, make a list of all the things you’re currently tackling but don’t want to do, and one by one, pluck up the courage to say "no." You won’t regret it.

Certainly there are times you don’t really want to do something because it’s draining or tiring, but you still have to do it — circumstances such as caring for the well-being of someone in need, like a special needs child or an aging parent. These responsibilities may involve people we love. If you have those situations, acknowledge them. Acknowledge that this takes up a lot of your energy, and then give yourself space to recover the energy by doing something that makes you happy. Recharge your battery.

It’s very important that you don’t judge yourself for needing to take care of yourself. Give yourself permission to be okay with taking time out without feeling guilty and do something you enjoy, something just for you, whatever that might be.

Also, there are ways you can turn responsibility into fun projects or games, especially if you’re taking care of young children. Make your responsibility and chores as fun and creative as you can. Sometimes lightening your burden is just a mindset more than anything else.

Anita Moorjani in Sensitive Is the New Strong