21 Essential Resources for Highly Sensitives

That light bulb moment when you realise you are or your child is (or both) highly sensitive is just the first step on the journey to understanding yourself or your child. Once you know that highly sensitive characteristics are at play the real searching for answers begins. Here are 21 essential resources to help you on that journey.

21 Essential Resources for Highly Sensitives

 

Books

1. The Highly Sensitive Child by Elaine Aron

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How to Recognise the Symptoms of Depression and Where to Get Help

Depression impacts the lives of millions of people around the world. It is not just those suffering from depression that live with it, but family and friends too. Recognising depression and seeking professional help is the first step to being able to cohabit with depression.

How to Recognise the Symptoms of Depression and Where to Get Help

What causes Depression?

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5 People You Will Hate as the Parent of a Highly Sensitive Child

Parenting a highly sensitive child (HSC) brings its own set of challenges. There will be people on your side who make life a little easier; there will also be people you meet along this parenting journey that make your blood boil…….

5 People You Will Hate as the Parent of a Highly Sensitive Child

The Judgers and Doubters

Just when you need the support of your family and friends you find yourself being judged.

Those closest to you don’t get highly sensitive AT ALL. They mutter the words mumbo jumbo. Tree hugging is mentioned in the same sentence as highly sensitive.

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The Highly Sensitive Child Test: The Earlier the Better

Do teachers tell you there’s something about your child’s behaviour they can’t quite put their finger on? Has there been a suggestion to get your child tested for autism, or ADD or ADHD but that path doesn’t quite feel right to you?  It could well be that your child is highly sensitive – and the good news is that there is an online test to help you.

The Highly Sensitive Child Test: The Earlier the Better

What is Highly Sensitive?

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Warning: Parenting Can Seriously Damage Your Marriage

When you become a parent it’s no secret that life changes. However, your marriage does too. But with forewarning and hard work you can keep your marriage happy and healthy.

Warning: Parenting Can Seriously Damage Your MarriageTwo Becomes Three

Becoming a parent is an amazing life event. But it’s also tough.

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5 Survival Tips for the Highly Sensitive Parent

Parenting is a tough but rewarding job. If you are highly sensitive then it makes sense to take extra care to look after yourself so you don’t end up frazzled and incapable of giving your children what they need. Here are five fundamental survival tips for highly sensitive parents.

5 Survival Tips for the Highly Sensitive Parent

1. Sleep

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5 Ways A Teacher Can Make or Break School for a Highly Sensitive Child

School is, and will probably always remain, a source of discussion and worry for parents of highly sensitive children (HSC). School is overwhelming for most HSCs and presents HSCs and their parents with a host of problems to deal with. A teacher can truly make or break school life for a HSC. Here’s how.

5 Ways A Teacher Can Make or Break School for a Highly Sensitive Child

1. The Willingness to Keep Communication Lines Short and Open

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Bucket Boxes – Help Your Highly Sensitive Child Empty Their Bucket

Each of my sons has a bucket box in their bedroom full of items they can use when they need quiet time to reset, or recharge. It’s a simple tool they can instantly access.

Bucket Boxes to help your highly sensitive child empty their bucket A Highly Sensitive Child’s Bucket Fills Quickly and Easily

My children come home from school full of stories of moments, activities they have undertaken, experiences they have had, and emotions they have juggled with.

They have concentrated hard.

They have played boisterously on the football field or playground.

They may have dealt with harsh words from another child.

They may have fallen and hurt themselves, or seen one of their friends stumble and hurt themselves.

They may have had a replacement teacher, an unknown face and unfamiliar teaching style before them for the day.

They may have celebrated a classmate’s birthday.

Or struggled with a maths question.

Or had a gym class.

Each school day is different, but each day takes a lot out of a highly sensitive child. Every experience, emotion and moment finds its way, unfiltered, into their imaginary bucket. The fact is that the bucket of a HSC fills quicker than that of other children.

And generally, they don’t empty those buckets until they get into the safety of home.

Recognising a Full Bucket

A child carrying a full bucket home from school may be tearful, angry, obstinate, unreasonable, silent or hyperactive. You can read more about recognising when your HSC’s bucket is full here. If you see that your child is struggling then it’s wise to guide them to take some time to focus on emptying their bucket.

Emptying a Child’s Bucket

There are many ways a child can empty their bucket. What works for one child may not work for another. Through trial and error you can work out what works for your family.

Some children will retreat to their rooms and cherish alone time. My youngest (6 years old) will take himself away upstairs and build with Kapla until his bucket is empty. He enjoys alone time when his bucket is full.

My 11 year old, on the other hand, isn’t so keen on being alone in his room.  He will seek out time with me or his father, or a quiet activity with one of his brothers. Or he will sit in a room where we are and read, or play with Pokemon cards, or draw. Or just sit.

My 8 year old sits somewhere in the middle. His quiet time often involves a chess board, or Lego, or a book. Sometimes he chooses to be alone in his room, other days he needs ‘time in’ with one of us to help him empty his bucket.

There’s a list of ideas here to help you experiment with what works for your HSC.

Bucket Boxes

I got my children to the point of accepting that full buckets need to be emptied before they busy themselves with activities that add to the already overflowing buckets. However, when a child is feeling overwhelmed it can be hard for them to think straight. Emotions take over. My children often struggled with what activity to do to empty their buckets. Suggestion I made were met with, “I don’t know where it is,” or “I can’t find it,” or “I don’t have that in my room”.

So I bought three plastic boxes, which they decorated with stickers,  and sat with each of my sons filling those boxes with items they often played with or used to empty their buckets after a busy activity or a school day.

This is what went into those boxes:

  • “How To” drawing books
  • Activity, colouring, word search and sudoku books
  • Little brain teaser puzzles and games
  • Drawing paper and pencils.
  • MP3 player
  • Music CDs
  • Audio Story CDs
  • Kid meditation CDs
  • Stickers
  • A note reminding them of a larger item or game that doesn’t fit in the bucket box (this penguin game is one example – I definitely recommend checking out the Smart Games series)
  • Stress balls
  • Fidget toys (such as spinners and Tangle, which are big hits in our house)
  • Silly putty

They also wrote bucket emptying ideas on a piece of paper which they hung in their rooms. These ideas range from jumping on their bikes and cycling their stress away to splashing their face with water.

Why Having A Bucket Box Helps

The bucket boxes sit in each of the boys’ rooms. When they are clearly overwhelmed I say “bucket box” and they head up to dig something out of their boxes to help them. They don’t need to search for an item, or think about what they want to do. They can easily grab something and get busy with bucket emptying.

Just remember to regularly revisit the contents of the bucket box to ensure it is stocked with items that help your child as interests change and as they get older.

Explore what works for your child!

I’d love to hear about the bucket boxes you make: What’s in them? When are they used? Do they help?

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Highly Sensitives and the Power of Smell

Although Aron states that highly sensitive people (HSP) are not shown to have heightened senses in general a HSP usually has one sense that is extra tuned in and sharp. For some this is smell. Some notice every smell around them, whilst others are oblivious to scents.

Highly Sensitives and the Power of SmellThe Power of a Smell

Smell is evocative for many people – a particular smell can cast you back in time; a particular baking smell can send you right back to childhood days standing in your mother’s kitchen waiting for the cookies to bake, cut grass can take you back to lazy childhood summers.

Smells evoke memories.

Smells evoke associations – like the scent of a mother on a t-shirt laid in a baby’s cot.

Our sense of smell is a powerful thing.

A HSC’s Overwhelm May Stem From Scents

But smells can also cause overwhelm for a highly sensitive child (HSC), or adult for that matter, if they are unable to effectively filter out sensory stimuli.

If your HSC has a sharp sense of smell and seems to be overwhelmed when you are out and about then consider the role that the scents around you may play.

Think about all the different aromas you can pick up at the shopping mall: Coffee, food, perfumes, cleaning materials, body odour, garbage. Just for starters.

Or the scents that invade the nostrils on a hike in the woods.

Or whilst walking around town.

Or sitting in a kitchen.

Smells can cause both an emotional and a physical reaction – disgust, hunger, nausea, yearning, nostalgia, joy.

Use Smells to Your Advantage

I smell things that my husband does not. I could be used as a police sniffer human. It can cause immense irritation and discomfort; for example if someone is smoking anywhere near me or rubbish smells in the kitchen bin.

As an adult I have learnt to turn it around and use my heightened sense of smell to help me. Different scents can cause positive emotions and favourable states of mind.

It’s something I first related to whilst reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and it’s an idea I have embraced ever since. Spending money on things that smell nice may seem luxurious – but the impact the right smell can have on your happiness or state of mind is worth the investment. It really is worth indulging! (You can read more on this here).

In short, smells can also make you happy!

Essential Oils

In the past few months I have delved into the world of essential oils, learning which particular smells make me feel relaxed, which raise my spirits, which help when I have a headache or scents that help balance me.

I extensively use a diffuser in our home.

And I’m learning to use essential oils to help my children too. You need to make sure you use child safe oils, and always dilute. Here are more tips before trying any oils with children.

I’ve lots more to learn but so far I do know that a whiff of a favourite essential oil can really do wonders.

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Take Good Care of Yourself Too Mama

Mother. Wife. Professional career woman. Keeper of all house related activities. Agenda organiser. School liaison officer. Taxi service. Entertainer of little people. Chef. Cleaner. Toilet scrubber. Financial planner. Event planner. Homework supervisor. Comforter. When it is time to just be you?

Take Good Care of Yourself Too Mama

The Tough Job of Motherhood

I have three sons; 11, 8 and 6. For eleven years I’ve put my needs  bottom of the pile. First the kids, then my husband and then the rest. And me? There’s been no time for that.

Motherhood is a joy. But it’s also tough. And it’s an all consuming role, particularly with highly sensitive children who need you to parent differently. Eleven years is a long time at the best of times; it’s been intense and I have lost a part of myself along the way.

What Happens When You Neglect Yourself?

I’ve not been taking care of me. And no one else has being doing it for me.

Guess what happens after more than a decade of that?

You wake from a slumber one day and realise you’re living on autopilot, from one day to the next.

You realise there’s a fog in your head. An eternal fog.

You realise negative feelings are in charge.

You realise that your marriage is holding on by a thread. And you realise you have known it for years but have been too tired or too fogged up to know what to do about it.

You realise your children are reacting to the constant tension you are feeling and throwing out into your home.

You realise no one is winning.

You realise things have to be different.

Time to be Just You

And it starts with putting yourself first for a while. To get back on track. To grant yourself time to be you. Just you. Not a mother. Not a wife. Not a professional career woman.

Just you.

A few weeks ago I joined a Dru yoga class. It’s a class based on movement, breathing, visualisation and positivity. It’s had a powerful effect on me. The yoga classes awaken emotions that have been buried deep. They have triggered the start of a healing process I had no idea I needed to go through.

Take Good Care of Yourself Too Mama

Take Good Care of Yourself Too Mama – yoga can have a surprising impact

Those yoga classes are about me. And only me. My place in the world. My place in my family. What do I want? What are MY goals? Who am I?

Further more I planned a weekend getaway to Barcelona with my best friend in September. We’ve been talking about taking a break together for years but I dragged my feet – kids first, then my husband and then the rest. And never me. And now it’s booked.

The last year of my life has been one of change. Of starting anew. The last month or so has been tough. A bomb went off and blew things apart. But I’m emerging from the rubble more determined than ever to rebuild a more solid foundation. My way of living has changed. My attitude towards myself has changed. I know now that I am important too.

Looking After Yourself is a Necessity

I see and feel the difference already. I see the impact that being a calmer, happier mother has on my children.

I see how more connected we are as a family. I see how we are more open for each other’s emotions.

I feel how much more room there is in my heart for my family.

I also know I cannot do it all alone. And I reaching out to others to help.

We’re all guilty of neglecting ourselves as we take of our family at some point. But we shouldn’t be living our lives like that so that it just becomes the norm. Ignoring our own needs takes its toll, not just on us, but on everyone around us too.

The adage about putting the oxygen mask on yourself before placing it on your child rings true.

Take a minute and ask yourself:

Am I taking care of me? Is anyone taking care of me?

If the answer is no, do something about it.

For everyone’s sake.

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