If we cannot keep ourselves in balance physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually we cannot hope to function from a center of well-being.
~ Thrive: The Highly Sensitive Person and Career, by Dr. Tracy Cooper, PhD
It is 6:30pm and I have still not made the bed today. That is an unheard of thing for me. I usually can’t get on with my day if I know the bed has not been made. The front door has not been unlocked since I locked it last night - I have not been outside today. About twenty minutes ago the sun set and once that happens here in Hawaii, because of our proximity to the equator, it gets dark quickly.
Today has been a self care day for me. I woke up not long after 6:00am, not an unusual time for me, but I woke feeling deeply weary - something that is much more than just being tired. It is a feeling of exhaustion that just eats through to my bones. It is brought on by me pushing the limits of my personality as a highly sensitive person. The wise thing to do is to learn what the triggers are that tire me and dial back life a bit so as not to wear myself out. Most of the time I do that, but when I don’t or choose to push on regardless, eventually deep fatigue sets in. That is what I woke up to this morning.
I am by myself at the moment. My wife is visiting her mother on the other side of the country. Other family are also off the island and I had no plans for Sunday. As I lay in bed waking up I could hear rain outside and knew that more was forecast for the rest of the day. Cool temperatures, at least for Hawaii (low 60’s early 70’s), were also on the table. So with that I chose to turn over and doze for an hour longer.
The rest of the day has been taken equally slowly. I stayed in bed until noon - had breakfast, read. At lunchtime, once I was showered I did my meditation practice and then went back to bed for an hour’s sleep. A show on Netflix took up another hour of the afternoon.
I’ll cook myself some dinner this evening and then will finally venture out to put the Trash out for tomorrow morning’s early collection.
I share this experience as I believe that introverts and those with sensory processing sensitivity (highly sensitive people) need to make their own self care an important part of their lives. HSP’s, because of their depth of cognitive processing and hypersensitivity to external stimuli, can find situations that others breeze through extremely exhausting. Peer or family pressure might have you feeling that you just need to suck it up and keep going, but sooner or later your body will wave a white flag and you’ll have to stop. As Dr. Cooper says in the quote above, HSP’s need balance in their lives for their own well-being. Try to identify what it is that are your triggers. Set boundaries for yourself and learn to say “no” to that which pushes you too far. Where possible educate others about your personality so that those who you spend time with, at work and home, understand and support you.
I still feel a weariness now. I am hoping that a good night’s sleep will help, I have an early start tomorrow. If am still tired tomorrow, I’ll take next week step by step, pacing myself. Regardless, I am very pleased that I have just stayed at home today, rested and allowed myself to do no more than necessary. Psychologically, just giving myself permission to stay at home and do nothing is a big boon in helping me rest.
As introverts and/or HSP’s I hope that you find, indeed make the time that you need to rest.