Jessie Shepherd, LCMHC, says an "Emotional Dumpster" is: someone who is a great listener, gives great advice, but has a hard time balancing the energy they give to others, resulting in burn out.
She says while you are helping others, you also need to set up boundaries so you are taking care of yourself as well.
Here are a few techniques:
o Be mindful. Pay close attention to how you are feeling emotionally and physically, you are better at setting up boundaries and using coping skills when you need them. The easiest way to take a moment of mindfulness is to stop what you are doing and start a body scan. Start from your toes and work your way up your body paying close attention to areas that seem tense or fatigued. Very quickly you can get the general sense of how you are feeling and what would be helpful for you at that time. The key here is not to 'power though' these uncomfortable sensations, but to recognize your needs to stay healthy.
o Alone time. In general alone time is important in order to get a dose of mindfulness and do what you need to do to stay healthy. Make sure you get a little time by yourself that you can sit with your thoughts and rest from social interactions. This can be as simple as driving alone to spending a whole evening at home recharging.
o Shield yourself. Your mind soaks up all the things we expose to it. Make sure to limit scary shows or reading disturbing material, specifically before bed. Take breaks (even an hour) from distressing people/situations, specifically those you can't necessarily control. Know what drains you and what fills you up. It is important to keep these balanced. Be proactive with your healthy mind.
o Set time limits. Good boundaries also include setting time limits and sticking to them. Sleep is imperative, so have a bedtime. Time limits will be different for different people and situations. Make sure that the time spent is positive and productive for all parties. Even if it is only 15 minutes at a time, you should feel that you were respected and not feel exhausted from the exchange.
o Ground yourself. After interacting with others, sometimes it can feel difficult to be the true authentic version of yourself. Find the 'real you' after by being mindful and finding your 'safe place'. This can be your home or imagining the perfect safe calm place where you can relax. Mindful techniques like using your five senses to eat/drink/create a craft/etc can be helpful to feel centered.
o Boundaries. Be clear and direct with what you will accept and what you will not. Usually the biggest problem people have with boundaries is that they have not thought about what they want and don't want. Take time to think about what you allow in your life and how you can stick to these boundaries as push back occurs.
o Self care. Do uplifting and satisfying things for you. This should include mental and physical health along with spiritual and community.
You can contact Jessie by visiting blueclovertherapy.com.