Monday, November 20, 2006

HSPs and Holiday Stress

The Holiday season is upon us.

My experience tells me that the Holidays are as often a source of stress for HSPs, as they are a source of joy and celebration. From the whole "party atmosphere" to dealing with family members we'd just as well never see again, the holidays do seem to offer many opportunities for HSPs to become overstimulated... sometimes with resulting admonishions from friends and family members to "get a grip" and to "not be so antisocial."

As the world ramps up into a celebratory frenzy, many HSPs would just as well crawl into a small hole and not come out till the whole wretched thing is over.

When I was dealing with in-laws and my own family, and juggling multiple Thanksgiving celebrations followed by multiple Christmas celebrations, I found the most effective thing for me to do-- in the interests of maintaining my sanity-- was to go for long walks. Interestingly enough, my tradition of Thanksgiving/Christmas walks started in 1985, more than ten years before I learned about the HSP trait, and how to deal with holiday stress.

Most HSPs respond positively to being in nature-- it's one of the ways many of us recharge our batteries. I certainly know this to me true for me.

So whereas I can't possibly know the particular stresses you face during the upcoming holidays, here's a single suggestion: Take a long walk. If you feel like you must "make an excuse," just say you want to "walk off some of the big meal." If you are going somewhere outside your home, remember to bring a change of shoes (comfortable!) and a coat, scarf and hat, if you're spending the holidays in a cold place.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

After the move: "Post Game Analysis."

It used to be that I'd write "I'm moving."

Now I can finally write "I have moved."

It has been surprising to me how many people have been following this process of mine-- I never really expected that "one guy's musings" about moving from Texas to Washington would make for "interesting reading," but the impression I have gotten is that my process... in some strange way... has served as a window into a process many other HSPs have been contemplating for themselves, yet have avoided.

I often wonder how frequently we HSPs avoid reaching for the things we truly want, fenced in by the fear that the pain of "HSP overstimulation" will be greater than the benefit we will derive from the outcome of pursuing our dreams. I have met 100s of HSPs over the past decade, and one thing I have grown certain of is that we are DREAMERS. And yet...

... only a few of us ever progress from "dreaming" to "acting." As much as we may be dreamers, we also seem to have an extraordinary aptitude for making excuses. We can talk ourselves out of almost anything. Sometimes it almost feels like we grow a mild "addiction" to "being stuck and complaining," and carefully maintaining a state of disgruntlement.

In my current state of "having moved," I realize that I no longer speak of making a radical life change from the perspective of "theory." I speak from the perspective of "having done it."

And what I want to share with all HSPs out there, who are contemplating a major change in their lives is simply this: It is worth it!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Moving: A Place to Live, At Last

I have been living as a "nomad" from mid-September, and now I finally find myself in some form of permanent housing. Permanent, that is, to the degree that rented property is ever "permanent."

It is November 6th, which means I have been living like a vagabond for six weeks.

I suppose many HSPs would say that it would just be "too stressful" to do something like that. And I can totally appreciate those feelings. However, the flipside to the equation is that there is a tremendous sense of freedom that comes with not being tied down to something. I realize that such a feeling may be personal to me, because I have lived for so long with this sense that my life, and everything IN it was somehow like an anchor that was bogging down my soul and spirit.

The nomadic life of the past six weeks made me very aware of how we used "time points" to define our lives. I realized that I was living with this idea that "my new life" couldn't officially start until I was in a real house.

On some level, that doesn't make sense... because what would that make the past six weeks? Non-life?

Sometimes I worry about the way people use time as a "limiting factor." We operate with these beliefs that "something" has to happen before "something else" can begin. I'm not denying that there are occasions when such thinking is the truth-- for example, we have to have the money for the down payment before we can buy a new car. However, sometimes we create "artificial barriers" to doing what we really want. As a simplistic metaphor, think about the way people sometimes say "well, I can't get started on writing my novel until my desk is all tidied up, and all my computer notes are organized."

Most often, such statements do not represent the "truth," but rather a "story" we are telling ourselves to mask some deeper reluctance to embark in a new direction.

Pause, for a moment, to think about where you erect barriers in your own life... barriers that don't really make sense, once you sit and examine them.

Sometimes-- as Larry the Cable Guy would say-- the only thing we should focus on is "Git 'r done!"

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