This post is part 2 in the 2-part series on Self-care for Highly Sensitive People (HSP). Find part 1 here.
In this post, I want to share with you a self-care action plan for highly sensitive people (HSP), which you can create specific to your needs, and some of the most important things that we need as highly sensitive people in our daily self-care practice.
Contrary to what you may see on social media, self-care is not a luxury!
Self-care is not about pampering yourself with facials, manicures and spending money on expensive treatments.
The kind of self-care I’m talking about is doing the things that nourish your soul. The types of things that honor you and fulfill you.
Self-care is any activity that restores you, revitalizes you, and recharges you.
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HSP and self-care
If you’re a highly sensitive person your nervous system becomes more easily overwhelmed and overstimulated than people who don’t identify as highly sensitive.
Therefore, highly sensitive people need self-care more than anyone, to be able to cope and to really thrive.
It really is a non-negotiable for us! And we want to make self-care a daily part of our lives and not a weekly task or when we are feeling exhausted.
Highly sensitive people have three very specific self-care needs that supports our wellbeing.
1 HPS’s need movement
Any type of movement is very important for highly sensitives.
Part of the HSP trait is overthinking. The deep level at which we process information leaves us spending a lot of time in our minds.
Movement has the effect of automatically grounding us back in the body. This is a really good thing as our bodies are already in the present moment.
The present moment is right here, and right now. When we are present in the moment it becomes almost impossible to think about our past or worry about the future.
2 HSP’s need time to process
We need time to think about the things that we have experienced.
We really do well when we have time to think about our observations and the things that we’ve noticed and to really process and work through all of the experiences that we had.
3 We need alone time
Having or taking alone time it helps you to process all the information your taken in during the day.
Alone time (away from your phone, your laptop, and your “people”) allows you to become introspective and reflect on your thoughts, which really feeds our souls.
Self-care Action Plan
Our aim here is to create a practical and useful self-care action plan for the HSP that you can do every day.
There are five core self-care categories that you can consider as you complete your action plan.
- Physical self-care (activities to take care of your body, movement, healthy diet, enough sleep)
- Emotional self-care (activities that you do to support your emotions, healing core wounds, meditation, journaling)
- Mental self-care (activities to feed your mind, restricting social media, reading, using affirmations)
- Social self-care (engaging with other people in your life)
- Spiritual self-care (connecting to something greater than yourself through prayer and meditation)
The first step in creating your self-care action plan is to brainstorm all the things that bring you joy. Think of the things that restore you and make you feel recharged.
Allow yourself to daydream and don’t hold yourself back. At this point you are simply brainstorming ideas.
It is useful to know what your particular triggers are, and that is what we explore in the next step.
When you know what your typical triggers are, you can create a plan, and anticipate what to do in a situation that has the potential to trigger you.
You might have your own signs that tell you you are triggered. I tend to feel fried, or wired. You may cry at the drop of a hat, feel irritable or dizzy.
Some of the things that might trigger you are bright lights, loud noises or crowds. You may respond strongly to feeling hunger or being too warm or cold. And how do you feel when you haven’t had enough sleep?
The next step is to notice where you place your focus.
The fastest way to feel like you are powerless and a victim, is to focus only on those things that are out of your control.
So, take a moment and write down all the things that you can control.
Think about your emotional response, the way that you take care of yourself and the types of media and news that you choose to consume. What about the way that you show up for yourself and for the people in your life.
This is such an important part of the self-care process, because it has to do with personal healing.
Changing your focus from an external locus of control to an internal locus has power. Now you can begin to choose how you show up and how you will emotionally respond to the things that are happening in your world.
This will give you a sense of being more grounded and stable. When you focus on the things that you can control it gives you the ability to be there for yourself.
The final step in your action plan is to put together a routine.
Routines are super helpful because
a) it’s easier to stick to a routine and,
b) you don’t have to think about what it is that you need to do.
Our brains like routine as it eliminates the need to think about what to do next, so routines are very useful when you want to begin to create a new habit.
Review your list now and take a look at everything you wrote down in the different steps.
Choose one thing from this list that you will be able to do every day, keeping in mind your lifestyle and your current life situation.
Ideally you want to choose something that will be easy to implement and not change things so much that you would rather not do it, because it is too much effort!
Implementing your HSP action plan
The secret to creating good habits that stick is to start small. Do a little bit every day and build your way up.
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