It goes without saying that we all benefit from rest. There are currently a myriad of sleep-related articles and studies promoting the benefits of a good-night’s sleep. Some of these benefits include improved health, safety and longevity. But a good-night’s sleep is just the beginning of the recommended amount of daily rest for the Highly Sensitive Person.
According to Dr. Elaine Aron, author of “The Highly Sensitive Person”, targeted rest for HSPs would follow this formula:
a. 8-10 hours in bed per day, sleeping or not, plus 2 hours additional downtime to meditate, contemplate, putter, etc., plus 1 hour of outdoor exercise.
b. One day per week completely off – no errands, no working at home.
c. The equivalent of one month per year off, preferably scattered throughout the year.
If this formula sounds like a challenge, I’m here to suggest you give priority to it, and schedule it. Why? To avoid overstimulation….the curse of the HSP! This down time is soooo terribly important, and if we don’t get it, we often pay the consequences. Likewise, staying well rested puts us as HSPs in a good situation once we are exposed to strong stimuli (sound, light, scent, taste, touch).
What to do if your circumstances don’t permit your getting anywhere near the sum of Dr. Aron’s formula? Let’s look at some creative ideas in getting rest for the Highly Sensitive Person:
- Naps – whether it’s a 10-minute power nap during a lunch break, or a full out 1-2 hour nap on a day off, naps may do wonders for your sensitive soul! I was introduced to naps during my life-altering event in 2012, and now strive for one daily.
- Meditate – simply sit or lie still for 5 or more minutes, and just recognize the thoughts coming in and out of your mind. Don’t try to control them, just go with it. This is very powerful, particularly for HSPs, who need this time for the conscious and subconscious minds to interact.
- Mini workouts – so you don’t have an hour to exercise outdoors, or perhaps your current outdoor climate isn’t conducive to outdoor activity. Take your favorite activity, and move it indoors as best you can. Exercise such as strength training, yoga, or simply walking the local mall are good choices for HSPs and non-HSPs alike. As little as 10 minutes of these activities can provide health benefits, to include stress reduction.
- Outings/Excursions/Day Trips – so you don’t have time to take a full week off from work? Consider a mini-vacation where you get out of town monthly, even if it’s just overnight. A day trip can be a wonderful break from the daily grind, especially if you have another to share the driving privileges. And lastly, golf can be quite an escape, providing fresh air combined with moderate activity…..just remember to unplug from your electronic devices whenever possible.
Now get some rest!
Joe Capriotti – “Coaching to Thrive Through Sensitivity”