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Tips to Survive the 2020 Election as an HSP

The tension in the air has been vast this year with the pandemic and the anticipation of the election. The future of our country is at an all time level of distress. No matter your political views or stance, this election climate has been felt by all.


I would be remiss in my role as a professional counselor if I didn't acknowledge the increased level of overwhelm felt by those who are highly sensitive. The majority of my clientele identify with this unique personality trait. Those with high sensitivity feel things very heavily. This is not limited to emotions and feelings, but expands to all of the five senses.


During this time, someone with high sensitivity may experience:


ADULTS

  • Increased sensitivity to temperature or weather

  • Overwhelm at loud noises

  • Irritability around a foul smell or scent

  • Lower tolerance for pain

  • Increased frequency of illness or feeling unwell

  • Limited palate for specific foods and flavors

  • Preference for ambient lighting or decor

  • Desire for reorganizing or rearranging furniture or environment

  • Craving for a change of scenery or vacation

  • Sense of stagnancy and desire for thrill or adventure

  • Yearning for nature and fresh air

  • Existential thought and questioning

  • Antisocial or overly-social pull

  • Increased or decreased sleep patterns

  • Need for solitude

  • Lack of motivation

  • Increased need for physical touch or affection

  • Higher levels of general and vague anxiety

  • Need for reassurance from loved ones

  • Desire for support and comforting


CHILDREN/TEENS

  • More frequent crying, tantrums, attitude

  • Clingy behavior

  • Easily overwhelmed and upset

  • Increased or decreased sleep patterns

  • Shift in appetite

  • Nightmares

  • Increased level of neediness

  • Negative thinking patterns

  • Increased frequency of illness or stomach aches

  • Wanting to sleep in bed with parents

  • Asking parents or siblings to play more often

  • Solitude and isolation

  • Significant change in levels of interaction

  • "Obsession" over a new hobby

  • Anxious thoughts


If you are resonating with any of these bullet points, I encourage you to accommodate your sensitivity more during this time. Some things that might help:


ADULTS

  • Schedule breaks into your day to step outside and do your favorite breathing exercise in the fresh air

  • Create a list of self-care items and check one thing off per day (something as small as watching your favorite TV show or as big as getting a massage)

  • Limit time connected to media and news outlets

  • Stock up with your favorite candles, essential oils, snacks, and cozy clothes

  • Create a playlist of songs that help you to relax or feel empowered

  • Do a values sort to remember who you are amidst all of the chaos: Here is an online option

  • Get out in nature at least once per week without electronics or phones

  • Make time for loved ones and deep connection

  • Journal

  • Draw your feelings

PARENTS OF CHILDREN/TEENS

  • Schedule at least one family night activity per week (board games, movies, competitions, walks)

  • Schedule individual time at least once per week with each child/teen and allow them to choose the activity (best to give 2-3 options you approve of and let them choose)

  • Stock up on fidget toys or sensory toys for self-soothing

  • Create a self-care corner for each individual child/teen with their favorite things as an option for self-soothing when they need a moment alone

  • Have art supplies on hand and model creating something to express feelings and moods

  • Encourage or assist them in finding music or a soothing sound

  • Foster opportunities for laughter, joy, and thrill

  • Help them to name their emotions and feelings as they come up by modeling the behavior yourself. With younger children, name their emotions for them so they can learn.


No matter how the election climate plays out, or how the country reacts, remember what you have control over and which things are beyond your control. It is important now more than ever to connect with those you love. Find the people who you feel understand you, and let them know how much you appreciate them. If you don't have people in your life who fit this bill, it's okay to find that nurturance and understanding within yourself. If you are struggling, now may be a wonderful time to seek out a therapist for support. A few resources I love for finding a therapist:

Psychology Today for insurance providers

Open Path Collective for lower fee private pay providers


Foster the things in your life that serve you, and allow yourself a break from the things that do not. Notice how you speak to yourself during this time and allow yourself some leniency when it comes to work, roles, obligations, and duties. You are doing the best you can, given the circumstances. Please remember that.


-Shira









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Austin Counseling Center

1000 Westbank Drive Ste 6-250

Austin, Texas 78746

Email: shira@shiraklazmer.com

Phone: 512-364-0167

Shira Klazmer, LPC Associate

Texas License #83430

Supervised by Jill Praisner, LPC-S

Texas License #66202

© 2020 Shira Klazmer. 

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