Tracy Fields Counselling

Self-Care: Why it’s Hard for Highly Sensitive People

Scrolling on Instagram or a similar platform, we are often inundated with information about the importance of self-care. There are abundant ways to take care of ourselves that go beyond massages and pedicures.

But for Highly Sensitive People, we often struggle with setting the time aside for this.

For some of us that have been so focused on taking care of others or making sure we weren’t a burden to anyone, it can be hard to even know what would feel like self-care.

Something as seemingly simple as taking care of ourselves can quickly becomes complicated and overwhelming.

Here are three common reasons HSP’s struggle with self-care:

  1. We always put others first.
    This happens regardless of the age or stage of life we are in. When I reflect through my past, way before I was a parent, I was putting others’ needs ahead of my own. It felt natural to do this but it has resulted in burnout at different times in my life. If we put more value on others being taken care of first, self-care becomes quite difficult.
  2. We don’t know what feels good for us.
    When we spend so much time outwardly focusing on others, we end up being disconnected to what we need and what feels good. For HSP’s the world often feels overwhelming so feeling at peace can be rare. To help reconnect with what feels good for you, start to notice what you are drawn to. Does an afternoon of reading a novel feel better than taking a walk in nature, or the other way around? There is no right or wrong for self-care; if it feels good and replenishing, then it’s self-care.
  3. We feel selfish when we put ourselves first.
    This is usually the biggest obstacle for us. Even the idea of feeling selfish or perceived as selfish can be overwhelming so we avoid any action of taking care of ourselves. Others in our life can also reinforce this, as they may be so used to us taking care of them that they get a bit offended when we say no to them and yes to ourselves. Self-care isn’t selfish, even if it feels that way.