7 Self-Care Rituals for Highly Sensitive People

Many might believe that highly sensitive people just need to toughen up, but that is simply not the case. Those who are highly sensitive make up about 20% of the population and have sensory processing sensitivity (SPS).

People with SPS tend to process and reflect on information more deeply and notice more than those without SPS. Thus, they can also become easily overwhelmed or overstimulated. When things get too chaotic for too long, they can become irritable and withdrawn. (Source)

Characteristics of a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP):

  • Emotionally, an HSP is sensitive to other people’s emotions and may appear introverted or shy.
  • Physically, HSPs have a low tolerance for strong odors, noise, clutter, chaos, or glaring lights.
  • Socially, HSPs can be both introverted and extroverted, but many of them will find they need time alone after social interactions to recover.
  • Psychologically, many HSPs will try to protect themselves by either being alone too often or by acting normal. The first option isolates and the second overstimulates.
  • Careerwise, HSPs are often overlooked for promotions. This is because they tend to focus on their work instead of promoting themselves. However, they are very conscientious employees and tend to perform very thorough work.
  • Spiritually, HSPs have a greater capacity for inner searching. This is one of their greatest strengths because they are always looking for ways to grow.

If this sounds familiar, you or someone you know may be an HSP. This is nothing to worry about, HSPs do not need to toughen up. They just need to focus on self-care. If you are wondering whether you might be an HSP, you can take an HSP self-test here.

Here are 7 self-care rituals that may help an HSP not to feel overwhelmed and stressed.

1. Yoga, Meditation, or Grounding


These three practices will help the mind to slow down and focus on one thing. This is perfect for HSPs who seem to be bombarded with stimulus all day long. All three can happen anytime during the day. It is best for a person to find what time works best for their schedule and personal needs.

A simple yoga routine is enough to settle the mind and calm the body. (Source) The same can be achieved with meditation or grounding. In grounding, all one has to do is lie down on the floor or the grass and feel the vibration of the earth. This will bring emotional and physical balance. (Source) Lastly, meditation, especially mindful meditation, reduces anxiety and stress that an HSP might feel in his or her day-to-day life.

2. Dry Brushing


Dry brushing involves taking a natural hair bath brush and brushing the body. The brushing movements should start and the extremities, remember work towards the heart. This is an excellent way to remove dead skin cells and to get the lymphatic system moving.

For HSPs, dry skin brushing provides a very intense sensation for the person to focus on. It is, in a way, like another form of meditation. While an emphasis on the brush movements, it is easier for them to forget other outside stimulus.

3. Epsom Salt Bath


A nice relaxing Epsom salt bath will not only relax the mind but the muscles as well. Many HSPs will carry the tension of the day in their entire bodies. I carry my tension in the shoulders, neck, and jaw. This can cause the muscles to become sore. Epsom salts have anti-inflammatory properties which make them perfect for a little soak at the end of a long day.

4. Massage or Acupuncture


One of these two methods may do wonders for the body, mind, and soul.

An excellent massage will help to work away all the tension in the body. It can also be another form of meditation where the person receiving the massage can focus on all the stress leaving the body. However, for those who are not entirely comfortable with the touch of someone else, this may not be the best option.

Acupuncture is a form of therapy that uses very small needles to help influence nerves and muscles. Although traditional acupuncture is based on chi points, many modern acupuncturists are extremely knowledgeable about the muscle groups and nervous system. (Source)

For those not afraid of needles, acupuncture can be very relaxing.

5. Journaling


Journaling also provides stress relief for HSPs. It can be easier to let go of all the emotions and experiences of the day by writing them down. Journaling also boosts mood and helps the body to withstand new stressors in the future.

By writing in a journal once a day, an HSP can clear his or her mind. This can make an HSP ready to be socially active once more.

6. Hobbies or Activities


By taking the time to enjoy a personal hobby or activity, sensitive people can unwind and re-energize. Crafts, painting, sculpture, or any other type of art form are a great way to relax and express feelings. This is why art therapy is so common. (Source)

However, it does not just have to be art. If a sensitive person likes animals, he or she should spend some time with animals. If an HSP enjoys hiking, he or she should take the time to hike. This will help to keep life balance.

7. Alone Time


HSPs need alone time. There is no avoiding that.

As an HSP, you have “[a] strong need to frequently recharge with alone time, to have frequent downtime from stimulation, and to get adequate sleep. Without these, you may get sick, be extremely irritable and disoriented, or have sudden mood swings. As a sensitive, you may have less stamina than others.” (Source)

This is okay and normal. Everyone needs alone time. A person just needs to take it.

Are you an HSP? What are your self-care rituals?

Share in the comments!

(h/t: Mind Body Green)


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JM - February 14, 2016

Most effective epsom salt bath is 6 to 8 minutes. Stay longer and you reabsorb what you have purged. If you like a longer bath, put epsom salts in at the end. Best time is before sleep due to magnesium (calming) component.

Rachel - February 14, 2016

this kind of makes it seem like being an HSP is more bad than good, or that we are depressed (“need to brighten up”). That is not the case!!! HSPs are deep thinkers, deep perceivers – beauty and profundity are more beautiful and profound for us than for others. It’s a lovely way to be :) Yes, we can be overwhelmed sometimes, but it is not helpful to make us seem like we have an ailment, when it is really a superpower!!! We need to talk about the good stuff of being an HSP! Could you please include this more clearly? Thanks, an HSP on the Canadian prairies.

    ArtsyMarci - March 4, 2016

    Thanks for the reminder!

Jangle - February 14, 2016

Time alone, doing art and crafts as a hobby and my job, avoiding tv, living at a silent place, avoiding neighbours and people in general, sporting. That helps me.

Elisa - February 15, 2016

What helps me is to be mindful that I can’t do as much as others and that that is okay and good for me to live a slower life and focus on the things in life that are the most important. Regular nature walks, art, and prayer & meditation as described in the Intro to the Devout Life also help me.

Brenda Walters - February 16, 2016

I read a lot try to swim

Pam - February 16, 2016

I used to ignore my body’s reactions to stimulus that upset me believing that I was overreacting. Basically I was fighting myself. All the self care rituals are great but my main focus right now is taking the time to cool off after an ‘event’ rather than ignoring and keep going on. No more fighting myself and more respecting my needs.

liz - February 19, 2016

Great article. Thanks for the invitation to share. I spend an hour of silent time each morning and do a devotional to help set the course for my day. I also love taking advantage of rainy or grey days to nest at home with no agenda. Sitting on my couch in a clean quiet home during the actual day is bliss for me.

Picni Carea - February 19, 2016

Your balls

Angi Hackett Ne Ghirardi - February 25, 2016

Dog beach walk….. Natural foods good for my digestion…Being really gentle with myself ????

Raymond Akbar - July 18, 2016

I make salat, which combines yoga-like movement with grounding and meditation.

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