HSPs Need More Downtime
Self-care is important for everyone, but it’s even more important for Highly Sensitive People (HSPs). We live in a world where downtime is hard to come by, and for HSPs, having time to simply be is essential.
Highly Sensitive People have a different way of experiencing the world, and central to this experience is deeper, more thorough processing of information--we need time where nothing is asked of us, where no one is talking to us, and where external stimulation is low. Then our brains can do all the thinking, feeling, and reviewing that is necessary for our functioning and well-being. We’ve got to have time and space to go within and process.
If HSPs don’t get this downtime regularly, their nervous system quickly goes into overwhelm. What does overwhelm look like? It can look many different ways, but some common manifestations are anxiety, depression, feeling short-tempered, crying for ‘no reason,’ and dreading getting up in the morning. Another name for overwhelm is burnout, and it’s miserable.
So how can HSPs avoid overwhelm and burnout? By getting intentional about their self-care!
But What if Self-Care is Hard for Me?
Self-care can be really hard, especially when we feel stressed. One way to work with blocks around self-care is to approach it as a practice, something that we are learning. Self-care is a skill, and just like any skill, we might not be very good at it, at first, but with practice and consistency we'll get better.
Another way to work with blocks around self-care is getting curious about the feelings and thoughts that come up—why is self-care hard for you? Do you feel guilty because you learned productivity is more important than anything else? Do you feel anxious? Pay attention to what is happening for you internally. It's normal to experience some difficult feelings when we first start trying to intentionally care for ourselves, this is especially true for those with early developmental trauma.
Self-Care and the Inner Child
I view self-care as a mindfulness practice; as an opportunity to turn our attention inward and deepen our self-awareness. So, how does one approach self-care mindfully? One way to access your inner wisdom around self-care is to imagine your body (or 'yourself,' if you have a hard time connecting with your physical body) as a small child, or someone you are in charge of caring for. You are the caregiver of this child/being. Your body/inner child is looking to you for protection, guidance, and nurturing.
To start practicing this form of holistic, long-term self-care, ask yourself, “If I were a child, what would I need right now?” Whatever the answer is, give yourself that. Another question that may be helpful is, “what is my body telling me it needs right now?” Our bodies are a treasure trove of information regarding what is good for us and what isn’t, we just need to practice tuning-in to listen.
Focus on Developing a Routine
All highly sensitive people need a daily routine. Having a routine cuts down on unnecessary stimulation and energy expenditure. Our bodies and nervous systems are happier and healthier when they know what to expect. How structured your routine is will depend on your unique lifestyle, personality, and needs, but at minimum I would recommend having a regular sleep and wake time, a bedtime routine that involves cutting off screens a couple hours before bed, and a morning routine.
Back to the Basics with Self-Care
Self-care is a life-style and it isn’t glamorous. It’s about learning to prioritize our well-being and learning to care for ourselves. It’s about making sure that we are meeting our basic needs with consistency.
Questions to ask yourself when assessing your self-care:
- Am I eating enough?
- Am I drinking enough water?
- Am I moving my body? (stretching, walking, yoga, jogging, etc.)
- Am I getting enough sleep?
- Am I keeping some form of basic routine?
- Am I remaining mindful of my emotional state and doing my best to hold compassionate space for myself?
- Am I reaching out for connection with others when I need it?
- Am I getting some kind of fresh air, or time in nature, regularly?
- What does my body need right now?
- What does my inner child need right now?
Other tips for self-soothing and showing up for your inner child:
Looking for an online therapist in Kansas?
Ready to turn your attention inward and understand yourself more deeply? My Lawrence, Kansas counseling practice specializes in providing therapy for highly sensitive adults, therapy for self-esteem, therapy for codependency, therapy for anxiety, and grief and bereavement counseling.
Through counseling I help people overcome shame and the fear of being their true selves. Breaking the cycles of people-pleasing and self-abandonment is possible, and I'm here to help. I offer online therapy throughout the state of Kansas.
Reach out today to schedule your free 15 minute phone consultation, I'd love to hear from you!
Other Services Offered by Maggie
In addition to providing online therapy anywhere in Kansas, I’m also a professional astrologer, and offer Birth Chart Readings anywhere in the United States, as well as abroad.
Astrology is a powerful tool for gaining self-awareness, finding meaning in and understanding of our difficult experiences, and for receiving validation regarding our own unique life path. All of which supports our mental health in a positive way!
Interested in getting a Natal Chart Reading? Book a free phone consultation and let’s get started!