To be empathetic is to be able to understand and share the feelings someone else carries. This moment of separation can be incredibly cleansing, but it doesn't work for everyone.
If you're more of an introvert or someone who recharges by being alone, you might not want to tap into your inner empath. Becoming too invested in someone else's situation can cause added stress, even if it's a good exercise in boundaries.
"Pay attention when communicating to how you're reacting and why and how those reactions are affecting your behaviors," Shirkani says. Being aware of what makes you tick is key to stopping empathy overload.
But if empathy rejuvenates you, there are ways to do it without worrying about being a burden to others or accidentally falling into a rabbit hole of emotional labor. The trick? Reading!
Digesting a character's story, the good and the bad, allows your brain a release. As the tension melts in the story, you might just feel yours go away, too. And maybe you'll even get a new perspective on your situation.
If a book is too long, we're also fans of stressing and rejoicing with Claire Saffitz as she conquers old-school treats the "Bon Appetit" video series "Gourmet Makes."