Here are 5 ways to offer yourself more compassion as a Highly Sensitive Person using simple self-care practices.
As a Highly Sensitive Person, you're likely to be very compassionate. Your empathetic and kind nature means that you're probably someone who listens well to others; takes time to care for those who are less fortunate than yourself and are often concerned about the welfare of people, animals and the world.
The compassionate nature of highly sensitive people is a real gift, and these acts of compassion are desperately needed in the world right now. I have found the acts of compassion, kindness and ability for people to come together during the pandemic to be hugely inspirational and motivating.
However, what I’ve often experienced and witnessed in Highly Sensitive People, is that these acts of compassion are often directed outwardly. There is usually a felt sense that other people are in more need of attention, and we are not worthy of receiving the same kindness and care. This can often stem from the highly sensitive person's inherent desire to care so deeply for others.
Yet, without self-compassion and taking time to attend to our own needs our energy can become depleted, we can become drained and struggle to hold space for others if we are not receiving the same energy exchange in return.
This is why, as highly sensitive people, it is so essential that we learn the importance of self-compassion, and make sure we are finding ways to offer this compassion through self-care practices on a daily basis. Self-care practices have been found to improve our well-being, mental health, and even our immune system's functioning. Here are 5 self-care practices which you can start to use when you're experiencing difficulties, or when your energy is feeling depleted.
1. Breathe Deeply
It might sound simple, but remembering to breathe and use your breath is an essential tool for self-care. Often when we are stressed or anxious, we forget to breathe into the depth of our being. Instead, we went end up taking shallow breaths in the top of our chest. Taking time out to practice breathwork is excellent for self-care. Every morning I do as little as 5-10 minutes of breath work to give me a boost of energy. Giving myself this time in the morning to connect with my breath always feels like an act of self-love.
2. Go for a Walk
I'm sure many of you will relate to the importance of going for a walk outside and connecting with nature, especially during periods of lockdown. When we're stuck at home all the time, it can feel like you're not exerting much energy, but it is incredibly exhausting! It can lead to brain fog, stagnant energy and a feeling of lethargy. Going for a walk and taking time to connect with nature is essential for your self-care
3. Get plenty of Sleep!
Some people may only need a few hours of sleep a night to function, but many highly sensitive people can struggle with not getting enough sleep. There's nothing wrong with you if you relate to this! We are all different, and many highly sensitive people (myself included) are light sleepers. This means we don't always enter into the deepest and most restorative stages of sleep, and we might need to sleep a couple of extra hours more than the average person. So, make sure you got to bed when you need to – switch off electronics and wind down well before bedtime.
4. Write a Journal
Writing has been an essential self-care practice for me over the year. If I have a lot on my mind, it can be challenging to let it go unless I have it recorded it somewhere. I write a journal to offload all of the worries, anxieties and ruminating thoughts that are often spinning through my head, and I have a diary which I update every evening with a list of things I need to do the next day. That means I can go to sleep, knowing I have already written my 'to-do list' for the following day. I am continually updating it, but it keeps me on track and allows me to switch off when I need to.
5. Create Something!
Many highly sensitive people are very creative! However, we can sometimes forget to make space in our lives to create. This might be to write poetry, to draw, to dance or to find ways to express our humanness at the moment just because we love to. I now take time each day, in the act of self-care, to make sure I have time to create in a way that feels nourishing and fulfilling.
Remember, self-care is so essential to maintain a stable and centred sense of self. It is difficult to show up for others if we lack energy or are struggling to maintain all of our commitments. Even if you feel like you don't have time, remember that daily acts of self-care don't have to be huge. Even if it only takes 5-10 minutes a day, engaging in something nourishing for yourself can make a massive shift in your overall well-being. Which of these self-care activities could you implement into your life, or are there other activities you love doing that you can start to do more of?
The Self-Compassion and Self-Care Bundle
If you're interested to learn more about self-compassion as a highly sensitive person, you can join the Highly Sensitive Hub - Membership Area for Highly Sensitive People.
In the member's area you'll have access to the 'Self-Care and Self-Compassion Bundle' - a 12-lesson bundle which includes access to guided meditations, self-care and self-compassion practices along with two live workshops –'Skills for Self-compassion' and The Mindful Healing Space'. For more information on the workshops, click here.
Receive access to all this content, the live workshops, a community forum plus even more bundles for an all-inclusive price when you join the Highly Sensitive Hub Membership Area. Choose your plan here.
About the Author
Jules De Vitto is a transpersonal orientated coach and educator who is experienced at helping Highly Sensitive People overcome anxiety, stress and burnout.
Jules is Highly Sensitive herself and is also passionate about helping Highly Sensitive People to step into their authentic power and allign with their true purpose in life. She lived in Asia for eleven years before moving to London and integrates Eastern practices and modern-day mindfulness into her work.
She has a degree in Psychology, an MA in Education and an MSc in Transpersonal Psychology, Consciousness and Spirituality. She’s a published author through Changemaker Books and John Hunt Publishers and wrote Resilience: Navigating Loss in a Time of Crisis to help people through the Covid-19 Pandemic available here.