Do large meetings with multiple people leave you feeling simultaneously drained and jittery? Do you yearn for quiet time at the end of the workday? If so, you are not alone.
Being a highly sensitive person (HSP) working in the corporate world can be a difficult tight rope to walk. However, there are ways you can take care of yourself and flourish professionally.
Re-frame Your Needs
People struggle to understand things that are new to them, and since most of the world is not highly sensitive, it will be up to you to explain your needs the best way possible. Instead of telling your coworker that you need time alone after an overwhelming meeting to decompress, you can instead say that you are taking a few moments to process the meeting and make notes while everything is still fresh in your mind. Both statements are the truth, but one will make more sense to someone who isn’t highly sensitive.
Give Yourself a Break
You know that if you push yourself hard all morning, by midday, you will be tired and anxious. Don’t do that. If your schedule and work culture allow, take small breaks throughout the day. This can be simply walking to the bathroom or making a loop around your building. This will have the added benefit of helping you move a little more.
Know Your Weaknesses
Do your best to plan ahead so that you can avoid your sensitivities and give yourself a break to reset. For example, if meetings are overwhelming for you, do your best to not schedule multiple meetings in one day. Maybe noise is your sensitivity. Consider investing in earplugs or asking if you can shift your work schedule so you can be in the office earlier in the morning to avoid some of the afternoon chatter.
This isn’t just your three meals a day, but also snacking at your desk. Be sure to keep healthy snacks that won’t overrun your nervous system (sugar, caffeine, or carbs) while you are trying to work.
Positives Over Negatives
If you need to talk to your supervisor or a coworker about something that you are highly sensitive to, frame the conversation in terms of how you could work better than you already are. People do not want you to cause more work for them, but if they see the opportunity for you to work better, then they will be more apt to help you.
Being a highly sensitive person is not a bad thing. You are not sick, and there is nothing wrong with you. In fact, your sensitivity might be a benefit in many ways to your professional career and the companies you work for, you simply have to find those benefits.