Self-care for the highly sensitive parent.

Self-care for the highly sensitive parent

Today I’m over at Simple Homeschool talking about highly sensitive people. If you’re not a homeschooling parent, have no fear: it’s not just for homeschoolers, and it’s not just for parents.

From the post:

I‘ve known for a decade or three that I’m an introvert, but it’s only recently — after reading Susan Cain’s excellent book Quiet — that I discovered I’m also a “highly sensitive person.”

Whether or not you’ve heard the term before, that description should ring true for about 1 in 5 of you.

A highly sensitive person is someone who’s more sensitive to physical and/or emotional stimuli than the general population. They have sensitive nervous systems, are more attuned to subtleties in their surroundings, and are more easily overwhelmed by highly stimulating environments.

Interacting with people drains introverts; sensory input — sights, smells, sounds, emotional stimulation — drains highly sensitive people. (HSPs are more likely to be introverts, but about 30% of HSPs are extroverts.)

I’m an HSP to the core. In practice, that means I avoid violent movies, am easily overwhelmed by loud noises and bright lights, need time and space to regroup on busy days, and feel like my head will explode when two people try to talk to me at the same time …

Read the rest at Simple Homeschool.

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  1. Sara K. says:

    I’m so glad you are writing about this topic! Like you, I’ve known for a long time that I’m an introvert, but this “highly sensitive” thing is new to me. It really does explain A LOT about the way I function. My daughter is just like me so this knowledge has also helped me understand her. Thank you for all the wonderful info! I have checked out “The Highly Sensitive Person” from my library, but I haven’t read it yet 🙂

    • Anne says:

      Definitely check it out! Although I did like The Highly Sensitive Child a bit more. (For understanding myself, not just my kids.)

  2. Tim says:

    Good post, Anne, and I liked the comments you and a reader exchanged about the calming effect of spending time outdoors. I find it has the same effect on me too.

  3. I can really relate to this. I’m not sensitive to smells or bright lights, but the other things definitely bother me. There are times I have to escape my kids’ noise, even if it means locking the bathroom door and sitting on the toilet lid with a book for 5 or 10 minutes. My husband sometimes reminds me they’re just being kids, and I totally agree. But because I know that and don’t want to explode when they’re not really doing anything wrong, I go somewhere quiet for a bit instead. My husband also has a super loud clap when he’s watching sports on TV, and he’s learned not to do it around me. The startling volume of it truly comes close to making me nauseous.

  4. Jessica says:

    I’m so thankful you’ve been posting on this topic. I’m what you call a social introvert, I think. I like being around people (small groups mostly!) but definitely recharge on my own. Since becoming a parent, I feel like I walk around with a current of electricity running through me – and loud noises, clutter, or too stimulation – feel like a shock to my system. I don’t have a lot of systems in place in my life to help alleviate that feeling but know that I need to. Really interested to keep reading about this.

  5. Sarah M. says:

    I read the book Quiet, but don’t remember too much on this HSP topic. I think at the time I was thinking more about the introvert aspect and how it was a trait I can see in my spouse and so many friends. I know I am clearly an extrovert… however since I quit working full-time outside the home and am now full-time mommy, homemaker and teacher + part-time employee I am starting to see more and more that I might one of those 30% of extroverts who are also HSP. All that to say, I appreciated this post. It really has me thinking.

  6. I first heard about HSP here on your blog a few months ago and it was like having a lightbulb go off. Now that I have a nearly 3-month-old, this post was especially helpful. Thanks for continuing to write about this!

  7. Faith R says:

    I LOVED this post. I need to read those books! Those suggestions are so helpful. My daily quiet time is so precious to me, and when my kids come home from school it makes my head spin, we had to have a firm schedule for re-entry (snacks, homework, play outside) I love my kids so much and love spending time with them but yes – sometimes they make my head spin.

    • Anne says:

      Read the books, and tell me what you think. I loved Quiet in general, but for specific HSP info I enjoyed The Highly Sensitive Child a bit more than The Highly Sensitive Person.

  8. Heather says:

    I’ve also learned I’m a highly sensitive person as I’ve watched two of my three kids behavior and their likes and dislikes. It’s funny when a mirror is put in front of us in our children to get us to learn about ourselves. I’ll definitely check out the book.

  9. Lia says:

    I just started following this blog about a week ago, and it seems like its just in time. I’m a solid introvert as well (INTP) and now that I’ve read this post, I know I have a lot of the HSP tendencies as well. I recently had a cycling accident and with that a concussion. As a result, I cannot deal with highly stimulating environments or situations. I use a lot of the coping mechanisms that you’ve mentioned and they have helped me. I came back to re-read the article to see if I missed anything or if there is more I can do… Yesterday, I feel like I had a day I couldn’t avoid, argument with husband (emotional drain), take kids to “Jump Palace” — blinking lights, loud kids, loud noises, by the time I got home I wanted to curl up in a little ball and cry. Anyways, this post helps a lot. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Jessemy says:

    I’m just tapping into the HSP vein of your blog, Anne, and it’s been really interesting. I also have to take a break from the book because of the many sad/tragic stories!

    One question for you: do you find that accommodating your HSP side turns into a perfectionist trap? I was tidying the house the other day, in an effort to soothe my irritation at the clutter, and I realized I could go on cleaning forever! Abruptly, I switched to “habituation” so I could do something I enjoy instead, like reading or knitting or writing my book.

    Any thoughts?

    • Anne says:

      Um, in short, no. I am not terrific at staying on task but I doubt I will never experience the feeling that I could go on cleaning forever. 🙂

      • Jessemy says:

        Ha! Well, I’m glad you don’t share my particular tidying compulsion. It wears me out! (SAHP with a 3yo). 🙂

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