How Highly Sensitive People Can Successfully Navigate COVID
By: Shannon Garza
One afternoon I was standing in front of the limes at the grocery store.
The produce section was busy. I had my mask on and noticed a woman standing close by, maskless, and I could see she wanted limes too.
She started to squeeze by my basket, but I automatically raised my hand and said, “Um, no.” I was trying to practice social distancing.
She gave me a surprised look and backed away slowly, waiting until I was finished.
At first, I felt nervous and like I’d been rude, but then a sense of pride came over me. I felt empowered and proud of myself. I had set a healthy boundary.
This is an example of how COVID can be a challenging, yet rewarding experience for Highly Sensitives.
We’re being challenged to adapt to a new way of life.
It’s taking a little time and patience to adjust, but as HSPs we can be strong and tolerant. After all, we’ve been adapting to ‘the norm’ our whole lives.
For some, the changes we’ve been experiencing have been significant, and for others, not so much.
Regardless, we feel the impact of these changes in ourselves and those around us.
Some of these changes may fluster us a bit at first. We aren’t used to having our families around all day and night or being cooped up in our homes all the time. Or making adjustments to our lifestyle.
But with a bit of effort, we can adapt to this new normal by making small adjustments in our regular routines. We don’t necessarily have to change our routines; just adjust them.
It’s best to try and balance your work, your family, your “free” time, and your home life. Remember to include that free time.
For those who’ve lost their jobs due to the pandemic, they’re struggling financially. In this case, you can make a budget.
Write everything out so you can better see where to make changes to make things easier on yourself. Think of creative ways to meet your needs.
Maybe you can join that community garden and spend less on groceries?
Can you involve your family when creating a new budget? Get their ideas and involve them? HSPs are great at finding solutions and working together with others towards a common goal.
There are also habits you can practice during this time to make things manageable. Wash your hands often and thoroughly. Sanitize objects and high traffic areas. Try not to touch your face. Wear a mask in enclosed spaces and practice social distancing.
It’s also important to pay attention to your mental and emotional health.
Make it a point to care for yourself and create balance in your life.
Get plenty of rest, eat healthy foods, develop a meditation practice, play with a new art hobby, and check-in with those you care for.
We’ve had to limit the amount of social interaction we have in person, so we’ve started using the internet more for socializing. We need that interaction for a healthy life. Have you heard about online quarantine karaoke?
Another solution to decrease stress is to get some exercise.
Now, this doesn’t have to be a full-on exercise program, but just some healthy exercises to help combat the stress, like walking, stretching, and some jumping around to get your blood pumping.
With the change in seasons, it may be more challenging to exercise outside, and in this case, you can do indoor activities like dancing.
Then there are sun lamps, light therapy, you can use to make sure you’re getting the amount of light you need.
Whatever adjustments you’re making to your life, it’s important to remember there is no “right” or “wrong” way to go about making these adjustments.
It’s taking a little time and patience to adjust, but as HSPs we can be strong and tolerant. As I mentioned before, we’ve been learning and adapting to “the norm” our whole lives.
Some of us have a hard time with change, but once we see the benefits we can accept them more easily.
For some, these adjustments may be the best thing to happen to them, ready for change and accept the challenges it brings.
COVID also brings with it a slew of emotions. It can cause stress that bleeds into every part of our life. It can feel overwhelming.
This is when we can use our tools, our coping mechanisms, or begin developing new ones. Then we gain more control of any stress we may be feeling and can channel it to better use.
We can better navigate any adjustments we may need to make by stepping back and breaking things into smaller sections.
The important thing to remember is to practice compassion and kindness towards yourself. If you feel like you need extra rest, make room in your schedule for it. Make adjustments to your adjustments when you need to.
Be sure to have some fun.
You can do things like play a game, walk or be out in nature, create art, play with your pets, or add activities to your life such as funny; books, movies, and comedians.
Laughter is healthy. It’s a healer.
These are a few ways to successfully navigate the pandemic. What ways have you found to adapt to COVID?
Interested in this topic? Listen to The HSP World Podcast Ep. 8: COVID Strategies for Highly Sensitive People