A few weeks ago, I introduced the term “Highly Sensitive Person” which deeply resonated with me because though I am extroverted I have many traits of a Highly Sensitive Person. After talking to many of my colleagues, I believe there are a lot of HSP’s in veterinary medicine (visit the author’s site to find out if you’re a Highly Sensitive Person)
Given how much energy we must put into our jobs as well as all the other demands we have in our lives it is a real challenge to find the time to take care of ourselves. You can get away with that for a short while but over the long haul if you don’t take care of yourself you will not be good to anyone.
Here are four things that have helped me cope with the constant demands of life and work as a Highly Sensitive Person.
Get enough sleep
Sleep is such an easy thing to compromise especially being a working mother. I used to pride myself in how little sleep I needed which I now know is completely ridiculous. If the average person needs at least 7 hours of sleep in order to not be irritable and to be able to focus more than likely the HSP who gets so much stimuli during the day needs more.
I know I do best on 8- 10 hours of sleep. No, 10 hours is not realistic during the workweek but if I feel like I need more when I am not working, I no longer feel guilty about sleeping longer.
I used to think having a routine was boring! As you are grasping, my self-awareness has not always been very good :). Getting up about ½ hour before everyone else in my family and spending time thinking and reading has done wonders for me. Those mornings I do not do my morning routine, I feel “out of sorts” all day.
I have learned to embrace routine in as many areas of my life as I can — both at work and at home. Constantly making decisions is very draining so having routines in place can save my energy for times that I must make decisions.
Plan decompression time
One of my goals last year was to stay off my iPad once the kids and I got home from school/work. What I have realized is I need about 30 minutes of “down time” once I get home from work. Though many would argue that surfing the web is not down time- for me having 30 minutes to catch up on the day or reading a book is huge. I have always felt guilty about doing this but it really gives me a chance to recharge before all the evening activities get underway.
This is huge for me. Do not get me wrong I am not an organized neat freak (though at times I wish I was 🙂 )! What I do know is if I get home from work and the house is a mess — it turns me into a mess. With kids and animals, messes are inevitable but I actually have someone who comes over most days and tidies up the house before I get home. This may not be an option for you, but taking 5 minutes in the evening or 5 minutes before you leave the house in the morning to clean up the chaos can make for a much more pleasant time when you get home from work. If your partner leaves for work after you do, this can be a great thing for them to do!