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When I learned I was a highly sensitive person, or HSP, I felt a little lost. What did this mean for me? How can I take care of myself? If you’re also a HSP, here’s how to practice self-care for highly sensitive people.
A few years ago, my friend Marie mentioned she was a highly sensitive person. And that she thought I might be one as well.
So, I took this unofficial test, and found out that I was indeed highly sensitive! Well, that explains why I feel everything so. Much.
But the first thing I wanted to know was this. How do you practice self-care as a highly sensitive person? Here’s what I’ve learned.
First of all, highly sensitive people pick up on a lot more than most people do. Because of that, you might assume that other people notice the same things you do.
However, a lot of times they don’t.
There are many times I assume my husband picks up on certain things. But when he doesn’t, then I get annoyed that he didn’t pick up on a subtle signal. However, when we debrief about the confusion, the conflict could have been avoided if I had communicated what I wanted.
So, when you communicate, do it clearly and often. Don’t assume others see what you see.
Next, as a highly sensitive person, it’s super important to put taking care of yourself at the top of your to-do list. Like, every day.
Since you’re probably very sensitive to the needs of the people around you, you might forget to take care of your own needs.
Before you know it, you’ve used up all your energy on others and have nothing left for yourself.
Also, as highly sensitive people, we tend to absorb a lot more of the energy around us than others do. This can lead you to quickly feel drained.
For instance, I have to spend A LOT of time recharging my batteries after I socialize. But one of my friends who isn’t highly sensitive doesn’t need it as much, so she’s fine to book several events in one day. For me? Nope! I need my downtime.
Also, taking care of yourself is far from selfish. Because when you fill up your own energetic cup, then you have more to give yourself AND others.
So, if you’re highly sensitive, make sure to pay attention to your needs and prioritize them.
Another part of being highly sensitive is that we sense other people’s energy a lot.
So, when someone around you is in emotional discomfort, it can be easy to try and jump in to help them fix the situation.
Personally, I’ve had to learn how to listen without trying to fix others. This includes giving unsolicited advice.
Unless someone asks for your help, practice just being there for them.
This can be uncomfortable for highly sensitive people! We want harmony. So, when it’s not there, we look for ways to create it.
Remember. It’s not your responsibility to fix others. You can empathize without trying to fix their issues for them.
Next, you may have been told your entire life that you’re too sensitive. Or that you should be less sensitive.
I was constantly told I was too sensitive growing up. And it lead me to believe there was something wrong with me because I was sensitive.
However, there’s nothing further from the truth! It’s actually a gift to be sensitive. You perceive more than others. You can feel what others go through. The world needs your softness.
So, remember. Your sensitivity isn’t something you need to fix. It’s a part of who you are. Let it exist how it is.
Another way I practice self-care as a highly sensitive person is by avoiding overwhelming situations.
Like going to that loud and crowded party. Or to that movie that’s too violent and loud for me.
I had a job a few years ago, and I was so miserable. It was too overwhelming for me on pretty much every level, and I felt constant stress from it.
I went back and forth about quitting for a long time. But when I finally did, it lifted a weight off of me.
I soon started work that was very meaningful to me, and my stress levels went way down. Yay! (In case you’re wondering, the work I’m talking about is the very blog you’re reading).
Not every situation is going to be for you! And you know what? That’s completely fine.
If there are social situations that overwhelm you, or that drain you, it’s totally ok to avoid them.
As a highly sensitive person, I’ve had to learn how to practice self-care in a way that meets my needs in the best way possible. Remember, your sensitivity is a gift, not a curse! As you embrace who you are and follow your intuition, you’ll feel more comfortable in your own skin.