How many times have you craved the opportunity to slow down – to spend more time nestled at home with your pet, to work from home in your PJs, to be free from the pressure to attend social functions every weekend? For Sensitive People who need time for reflection and get easily overstimulated, these are often recurring wishes.
Unexpectedly, 2020 granted wishes for many HSPs. This past year brought sudden challenges and heartbreaking losses, but also numerous opportunities for Highly Sensitive People to honor our unique needs and slower rhythms. The modern lifestyle is the Achilles’ heel for people who are more perceptive and empathetic, but take away the busyness and overstimulation of everyday life and you can begin to flourish in a way you haven’t been able to before.
In this article, I explore five of the underlying gifts that surfaced this past year to allow Highly Sensitive folks an opportunity to honor your unique rhythms and meet your needs like never before.
The biggest gift amidst the difficulties of 2020 for many sensitive folks was the opportunity to move through your day and week at a much slower pace than you previously could. All of a sudden so many of the barriers to slowing down were removed and it was possible to:
● Work from home in your PJs
● Have permission to stay in ALL weekend
● Simplify your daily schedule
● Feel less social pressure
● Enjoy more downtime and rest
For some, this new found space created opportunities to pursue creative projects, business ideas, and personal goals that have been sitting on the shelf for years – writing, meditation, yoga teacher training, changing careers, living more simply, and so on. Perhaps these are endeavors you thought were out of reach or were told by employers or society weren’t possible, but here we are mostly all working from home and focusing on quality time.
As people who get overstimulated easily and need time to deeply process our experiences, sensitive folks can really benefit from having more time at home. With less pressure to socialize, fewer choices, and saving time traveling to work or other places, you’ll have more time to reflect and space to create, read, and dive deeply into your interests.
Quality Connections and Shared Experiences
As uncertainty and grief increased, the need to connect with loved ones increased. Quick text and email exchanges slowly were replaced with phone calls, care packages, and Zoom gatherings. There is something powerful that happens when we collectively walk the same path together. Shared experience often brings folks together and clears the noise to remind you of what’s important.
This year may have created opportunities for you to spend more quality time with your partner, spouse, children, or pod. Adult children moved home, friends nestled in together, families got creative on how to spend time together, virtually or in person. As Zoom fatigue set in, time together became more intentional and engaged.
Increased Awareness of Racial Inequality
Sensitive folks are usually the first to spot the need for change, pick up more easily on microaggressions, and due to a heightened capacity for empathy end up carrying the burden of noticing and feeling the pain of others. This year highlighted the continued presence of racial and social inequality and the need for more equal protections for the BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities. More people are becoming aware of their white privilege and beginning the work of creating change.
Quiet Space to Appreciate the Little Joys
One of your innate gifts as a Highly Sensitive Person is the ability to notice subtleties and feel deep joy. However, this gift can be difficult to access when there is so much calling for your attention. When you quiet the noise and the distractions, you find space to notice what’s right in front of you:
● The vibrant green of the trees outside your kitchen window
● Sounds of the birds happily chirping in the morning as you eat breakfast
● Opening the kitchen cupboard to discover your favorite snack
● The feeling of freshly washed sheets
● Hearing your favorite song for the first time in a long while
There are so many little joys throughout every day that get missed in the hustle bustle. As life slowed down and your schedule became simpler, there could be more room for gratitude and appreciation.
Deeper Nourishment and Reflection
As the pressure to socialize and fill every moment suddenly subsided, you may have found yourself with space in your time off from work that hadn’t been present for quite some time. Perhaps not since you were a child or young adult, before you had family commitments, or social media and notifications began to fill the quiet moments
With more wide open space in your day, you might have found time to nourish those deeper parts of yourself that have been hidden away or forgotten about – the creative, spiritual, intuitive parts of your being. All of a sudden there was more time and probably a desire for:
● Creative Projects
● Exploring Nature
● Connecting with Animals
● Immersion in Spiritual or Religious Practices
● Cooking Meals from Scratch
● Enjoying Music, Theatre, or Art
Amidst the challenges and losses of the past year, many gifts also surfaced for Highly Sensitive People such as the ability to slow down, get quiet, connect deeply with loved ones, reflect inward, appreciate the little joys, and raise awareness of important social justice issues. Space was opened to honor your Sensitive rhythm and unique needs for introspection, simplicity, and rest. What other gifts have you discovered?
Image: Kelly Sikkema – Unsplash