So, this ask is pretty old, but I get asked about this pretty regularly so I’m going to answer it and tag it so I can use it as a resource post later.
I personally am not an empath - the only time I very clearly feel another’s feelings as if they were my own is if I am in session with someone and that energy needs to be addressed and worked through & that person needs help doing it. Otherwise I am clairsentient, which means I feel other energy around me but it doesn’t necessarily feel like MY energy, if that makes sense. I am, however, extremely intuitive, extremely receptive to energy, and also a medium - so I definitely relate. On top of that I have some medical issues that are also affected by my energy and the spiritual work I do.
First thing’s first, you need to know how to ground and center your energy. I don’t have a handy pre-written post on this (right now) but you can find instructions on how to do this anywhere. NOTE: this alone will not solve all of your problems, this just gives you the tools to sort through the energy. Centering yourself is the first step to separating from icky, undesirable energy. Grounding out stuff that isn’t yours is a good technique to know. I have had ‘professionals’ tell me I need to ground more but the only way I could ground more is if I literally grounded all day. A good way to force your energy to ground is to deal with salt. Take a bath with epsom salt, or soak your feet, OR you can always just run your hands through salt (one of my favorites).
Next, you need to do some sort of protection. Personally, I have all of my empath clients learn the Zip Up technique from Donna Eden (video). It is a simple gesture that utilizes the energy meridians in your body to naturally separate your own energy from external energy. It’s so simple you can teach children to do it! Do this every day, every time you are feeling like other energy is throwing you off. This is so easy and effective I rarely do anything else.
Last and most important is the maintenance. Every empath will need to maintain their energy in different ways, so this is a little trickier. But it’s absolutely necessary to develop your own routine. You may need to adjust your diet - some empaths are so deeply sensitive to foods that it really fucks with them, and sometimes they subconsciously eat stuff that isn’t a vibrational match for their body, thus causing their sensitivity to dull. Find out what’s a vibrational match for YOU by paying attention to what you eat. (For some people it’s stuff like gluten or meat that’s bad, for others it might be dairy or sugar.) You also should do some sort of daily meditation or energy clearing, like Reiki or just plain visualization. Carrying crystals CAN help, but be aware they can sometimes get overloaded with energy and break, so try not to use black tourmaline too much and instead go for something like selenite or citrine. Personally I do cleansings in the shower (while I shower, so it’s a twofer), while I drive by blaring bass-heavy music, and I also regularly have one of my Reiki students give me Reiki. It’s made a HUGE difference in my energy as well as the medical issues I’ve had.
Okay - I think that’s it for semi-brief advice. I hope this helps! Good luck!