Since here in the UK the government has last week allowed the re-opening of non-essential shops and we can meet outside in groups of six with pub gardens reopening. I’ve seen a few posts on Instagram of happy-looking groups of six gathering in pub gardens. But so far I have not changed my behaviour since this change last week. I will be taking a gradual approach that feels right to me.
Whilst none of us planned to be at home so much over the last year, we are now so used to being in our safe and controllable little bubbles, the thought of going back out again may not feel appealing in many ways.
As an empath you probably won’t like:
· Small talk
· Rushing about
· Conflicts or arguments
· Loud noise
· Inauthentic people or conversations
· Feeling FOMO
· Feeling like you ‘should’ want to go out
So this ‘opening up’ may not necessarily be something we are feeling completely OK about. There will naturally be some trepidation about change since we are all now so used to the stay-at-home set up. It does allow us a lot more control over our day-to-day set up and environment. Scheduled food deliveries, reliable routine and lack of having to ‘dress up’ and present ourselves externally (apart from our top halves on Zoom!)
Some people may say this is because, according to my Myers-Briggs score, I’m an introvert so don’t need to be around others to get energy. But I think I’m actually a closet extrovert in many ways, and pre-lockdown enjoyed hosting co-working sessions and went out meeting people almost every day. I actually think we can vary quite a lot over the course of a month or cycle in terms of being introverted or extroverted. I know during the winter of my cycle I am 100% introvert and won’t even answer the phone to an unscheduled call! But during my summer, I love going out and being around people- that gives me energy in a different kind of way.
This goes deeper than simply saying because I’m generally more of an introvert, I want to keep some elements of lockdown life. It’s more about emerging from lockdown at a pace that suits me and all my quirks and nuances. Especially as this ‘opening up’ started as my own energy was waning in the Autumn of my cycle. It wasn’t the right time for me to step out and meet up in a pub garden. It’s not that I don’t want to see my friends, but I don’t feel the need to rush this emergence. If lockdown has taught me anything, it’s to listen to my intuition more and go at my own pace.
Often empaths will also be introverts, but certainly not always- I know many people who are considered extroverts but who are also incredibly empathetic and able to tune into other people’s feelings. The reason there are more Introvert empaths than extrovert is simply that introverts are generally better at listening and absorbing information.
That often means going out and meeting up with others and being around others can be incredibly emotional (both in good and bad ways). It’s a skill we’ve not been able to exercise much and I think similar to when Superman first comes to earth and it’s overwhelming for him to find he has all these powers, it may feel similar to that as an empath going out again. Especially if you’ve done a lot of introspection and soul work over the last year. Definitely think of any empath powers as being a super power, not a curse!
What we need to recognise here is that this last year or so hasn’t been restful, we haven’t been sitting at home resting doing nothing. We have been working and living through a pandemic and frankly we’re exhausted and emotional and have a lot to process. We can’t flip a switch and simply go back to how things were before in any sense. And that’s a good thing, IF we can recognise that we need to integrate the learnings in the way that best works for us. Not to confirm to any expectation of how we ‘should’ behave as things open up. If you do genuinely want to go out as much as humanly possible, the great! As long as it’s coming from the right place and not because you are submitting to peer pressure or any feelings that you ‘should’(don’t ‘should’ all over yourself!)
My approach to emerging from lockdown life gently
Say yes only to invitations you feel really great about. Be OK saying no if you aren’t quite yet ready for group meet-ups.
Approach it as a gradual shift- the way the seasons gradually change. Don’t feel like you need to drop everything and start going out again straight away.
Remember that many others will also feel some trepidation- there is naturally a lot of questions that come up- especially for those of us who have built up online business in the last year- is the need for that suddenly going to drop? (I don’t think so!)
If you don’t feel ready to change anything yet, then don’t- make small changes as and when you feel called to. Perhaps meeting a friend or two for a walk or with family.
Think of the longer term plan- I feel often us Brits tend to get ‘sunshine panic’ as I call it- when the sun is out we feel we have to go outside because it feels like such a rare thing we ‘must’ enjoy. Just remember we do in theory have the whole summer ahead of us (if anything like last year, lots of sunshine!!)
Talk through any anxiety, fears or uncertainty it triggers for you with a trusted close friend or family member. This is something coming up for a few of my 1:1 clients, so please don’t feel alone if you do too.
Don’t feel you need to ‘go back’ to how you were pre-lockdown. I certainly won’t. Of course there was so much I’ve missed doing over lockdown, but I’ve learnt so much from tuning more into my intuition, doing incredible soul work and realising how much we can still tune into each others energy via Zoom.
What can I keep from the last year?
What approach do I want to take to emerging from lockdown life and moving towards going out more again?
If you resonate with being an empath… think about how you can create a protective bubble around yourself. What can you do to protect your energy and not to take on board others emotions?
What small steps do I want to take now?