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This week has been challenging.
I am reminded of my first year of teaching. The feelings I experienced. The battles with burnout. The constant overwhelming sensation of NOT DOING ENOUGH.
My first year of teaching, I remember wanting to show up better. Be better for my students. More supportive to my coworkers. Impress the administration. I remember working late, crying in my car on the way home several nights a week, and still just managing to meet the bare minimum.
In my first year of teaching, I always felt like I was treading water.
I felt like I was in an ocean surrounded by miles of nothingness, treading water to keep my head above water. When administration showed up, or a parent would email me, I would be conscious of yet another thing to keep track of, solve, or do. I would sink a little lower, while holding onto the weight of what was handed to me. Eventually, making my way back to the surface. (Usually with the help from a coworker)
It was overwhelming, but that never stopped me from showing up again the next day and doing it all over again.
I should preface the rest of this piece with a little background.
I am a highly sensitive person (HSP). I have a heightened sense of awareness and a finely tuned nervous system. People that are highly-sensitive experience increased emotional sensitivity and stronger reactivity to both external and internal stimuli.
I took a poll in my Instagram this week and found out that many of you also identify as a HSP.
Are you a HSP (highly sensitive person)?
21% not sure
We are all in this together.
We feel the weight. We feel the heaviness. We feel the suffering.
In a sense, all of humankind has been treading water these past few months. HSP have been especially tuned into the pandemic crisis and ways around supporting people through those rough waters.
We’ve been keeping our heads above water as we adjust to the “new normal” of life during a pandemic.
But then, just when we felt like we were catching our breath, the Universe showed up and said, “Hey, catch this!” and then tossed a heavy brick into our flailing, helpless hands.
If you’re reading this, it means that you are likely a HSP looking for ways to approach the topic of systemic racism with your audience, your friends, and your family members without experiencing burnout and overwhelm.
This week, I’ve wrestled with the unrest in my home country and felt the shame of my skin color and background. I’ve felt guilty for being white and generationally wealthy. I’ve looked into where that uncomfortability comes from and I’ve committed to learning more and showing up as an ally for the black community.
That includes heavy conversations with close family members, which has been energetically draining for me, in particular.
What we are doing takes a lot of energy, and if you keep showing up without replenishing your energy source, you will quickly look like Whitney, the first year teacher, working long hours and crying in the car on the way home.
You will experience adrenal fatigue.
You will eventually burn out.
This week, I quickly started experiencing symptoms of burnout. But, I decided to pace myself. I felt the familiar feelings of burnout, and I remembered how burnout can prevent me from showing up in my fullest form.
If we are truly going to be allies for the black community, we need to see this as a marathon, not a sprint.
Advocating for racial justice is more than recognizing that a problem exists. Advocating for racial justice takes more than just feeling guilty for being white. It takes more than just admitting that we’re privileged and that we feel “bad” for the way things are.
It will take persistence and determination.
I’ve seen so many men and women speak up this week. So many people, who “do not usually get into politics” have decided to pick up the megaphone and shout that we side with the underprivileged. We hear the unheard battle cries beneath decades of oppression.
I’ve decided to stand up and use my voice too. I’m here to be a beacon of hope. A breath of fresh air. A sense of, “I got you and I’m not going anywhere.”
I am showing up to hold heavy spaces. I am showing up to heavy conversations. I am holding bricks while treading water.
But, I’m not the only one. I see sooo many beautiful souls doing the same thing.
I see you having heavy conversations. I see you showing up to the protests. I see you offering to hold heavy spaces too.
And, that’s why I’m writing this piece. I’m writing it for you, the highly-sensitive-person who, despite feeling the “treading water feeling” have decided to hold the brick as well.
I took another poll on my IG this week:
Do you need help with cleansing and protecting your energy during stressful times?
92% Yas, gimme the tips.
8% No, I can do it on my own.
It’s been a long time since I experienced a true sense of “burnout” because I’ve developed so many strategies, systems and lifestyle changes that have kept me out of that headspace. This week, I got dangerously close to giving into it again.
But, I didn’t.
And you don’t have to either.
Before engaging in a tense conversation, posting a vulnerable announcement or partaking in an energetically draining situation, you should always call in your Golden Light. This is a quick visualization exercise that can act as a shield toward negativity or energetic attacks.
Give yourself a set amount of time to respond to a message. Choose the forum in which you hold the conversation. Is your family member pressing the issue through 90 minute Facetime conversations? Ask to continue the debate through email, instead. You’re allowed to set boundaries around this process.
Please don’t shy away from speaking your truth because you’re afraid it will be too much weight to bear. Your voice matters. Even if you just change the perspective of one person, you are acting as an ally. You are standing up for what is right. This is your superpower and you can handle it.
After you’ve spoken your truth and engaged in the rhetoric, it’s sooo important to disengage the stress. This is when you pay attention to the physical sensations of stress and anxiety in your body. Does it feel like trembling? Restlessness? Something else?
Giving yourself a moment to ground into the present moment through the breath can help. Allow time after the conversation/situation to breath and let it go.
This is a strategy that I teach in my online course, the Root Chakra Healing Toolkit, but essentially, you want to do something that soothes your Root Chakra. Dedicate some time to nurturing your base energy immediately or shortly thereafter your interaction.
For you, that could mean going for a walk, practicing yoga, sitting for meditation, journaling, reading a book, coloring or doing art. The list goes on and on. Find out what works for you. Maybe it’s a combination of things.
For me, it involves a walk through nature, a smudging of sage, and free flow journaling.
You may need to experiment with different things for a while before you know exactly what works the best for you. Also, keep in mind that it could change depending on the situation.
Be intuitive with your energy. Pay attention to it. Respect it.
This week, I got dangerously close to falling into the trap of burnout. I got dangerously close to giving into complacency, but I didn’t. I didn’t give in because I was able to protect and cleanse my energy.
By respecting my energy, I can show up better. Be better for my peers. More supportive to the black community.
No longer are the days of working late, crying in the car on the way home, and still just managing to meet the bare minimum.
It’s okay to feel like you are treading water. But, you are stronger than you believe and your voice matters. You owe it to yourself to balance your energy and show up in your fullest, most authentic self.
This week, June 10, 11, & 12, I will be hosting the 3 Days to Ground Yourself Challenge to offer strategies to mitigate your stressors and nurture the Root Chakra needs and imbalances. Join us to learn more about how to protect your energy during stressful times.
Click here to learn more.
See you in the group!