Karen Belliveau, MSW, RSW
Clinical Social Worker (RSW) | Associate Therapist | EMDR Trained
Has it ever been suggested that you are too nice, too sensitive or, too emotional? Do you have difficulty saying no? Do you absorb other people’s feelings? Are you a "people pleaser”? Do you feel overstimulated and need time alone to rejuvenate? Can you use your voice to create safe boundaries that promote your own wellbeing?
If any of statements spoke to you, you may be a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). “Sensitive” in this context, literally means that you may be hardwired to experience the world at a deeper level than those who are not as highly attuned. As an HSP living in a fast-paced society, you may become overwhelmed by the day-to-day experiences which may not over stimulate your peers. As a result, you can experience low mood, feelings of anxiety, and a general sense of being unwell.
Humankind tends to reward more outgoing, extroverted personalities as these qualities lend well to a rapidly developing outer world. Yet, societal messages may be internalised by the HSP as personal failings to adapt to a chaotic environment and subsequently, harmful ways of coping may be sought to relieve the internal unrest. Being a highly sensitive person is not a choice, a defect nor a fault, its onset is reported to be biological and environmental in nature.
Continue reading for 3 Self-Care tips for Highly Sensitive people.
Tip # 1: Create an upward cycle: Engage in your passions to increase wellbeing.
Self-care is extremely important for HSPs to help unwind and serves as a means of proactively maintaining a sense of wellbeing. Therefore, keep engaging in activities that ignite your passion. If this is difficult to imagine, begin by carving out 5 minutes every day to devote to something you enjoy. Continue to create momentum by faithfully increasing the time you spend doing what you love. If you’re still figuring out what brings you a sense of happiness, seek out new activities. This creates an upswing as by finding what brings peace, you seek out more of these opportunities, you then become skilled at what you do as you are invested in your chosen activities and are more apt to adopt these as ongoing healthy lifestyle choices.
Tip #2: Validate self: give yourself permission to celebrate your successes
We tend to seek validation from outside sources but they never seem to stick. The likes and loves on social media are good for a boost yet, are short lived which seem to do nothing for our long-term wellbeing and these outlets may in fact create more turmoil for the HSP. They serve as band aids yet, the possible side effects of creating an upward cycle is that your self-worth may increase as you are creating an environment that feels safe to explore your skills. As a result, your confidence may grow as you watch your competencies unfold. In realising our self-worth, we are more apt to use our voices to express our needs and desires, as a form of self-actualization.
Tip #3: Self compassion: Please let go of the guilt inherent to self care.
There is no selfishness in self-care as the other option is that we cannot validate ourselves and are left to the mercy of others to have a say in how we feel on a daily basis. We continue to try to engage in a disorderly world without healthy boundaries, nor a voice to carry us through the constant demands. As a consequence, we may be left feeling defenceless against a world that could potentially feast upon our generous nature until we have nothing left to give. Taking care of our mental health can be akin to a fulltime job so why would we feel guilty for putting in the work required to have a successful outcome? Make yourself a priority.
This is definitely not a one size fits all approach but, it is a start. I can help you understand what this means, what it looks like to you and how to move forward in terms of healthy boundaries, assertive communication and in adopting positive lifestyle choices.
If this blog resonated with you, please contact me at Karen@Wholetherapy.ca or call 902-461-1721 ext 103 to connect with me for a free 15 minute consult or to book an initial therapy session.
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