How Slowing Down Can Help Sensitive, Introverted Parents

A highly sensitive, introverted parent is overwhelmed by her noisy kids

As a sensitive, introverted mom, one thing that drains my energy fast is feeling rushed.

Highly sensitive introverts are processors. We need time to take it all in and allow our emotions to move through our brain and body. 

But when we’re rushing from one thing to the next, constantly multi-tasking — and keeping everyone afloat as we go — life can get overwhelming and exhausting very quickly. 

One thing that will run me down faster than anything else is feeling rushed. Most of the time, I like to blame everyone else for that… my husband forgetting literally everything and having to go back into the house eight times as we’re trying to leave; my four-year-old suddenly forgetting how to put her own socks on; or my toddler flopping onto the floor sobbing because I had the audacity to offer him one more cracker. 

The truth is, I have more control over the feeling of being rushed than I give myself credit for. Yes, there are those ridiculous outside factors that I can’t do anything about. But with a little forethought, I can set myself up to be supported when things start getting tense instead of allowing myself to get caught up in the whirlwind. 

The best way I’ve found to do that is to identify the most commonly rushed times of day and figure out how I can make adjustments so I’m better prepared to move through those moments more mindfully (read: slower, less rushed). Here are some things that have worked for me as a highly sensitive, introverted parent.

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6 Ways to Support Yourself in Slowing Down as a Sensitive, Introverted Parent

1. A good day starts the night before.

Preparing what you can the night before makes a world of difference in the way you start the day, especially as a highly sensitive, introverted parent — for many of us thrive on planning!

Whether it’s picking out your kids’ clothing, prepping a quick breakfast, or just setting out the backpacks, having things ready can help eliminate chaos and give flow and direction with less brain power required. 

For example, consider that one thing you always forget on your way out the door. For me, it’s my toddler’s hat, which is always nowhere to be found when we need to leave. The solution? I got a second one that now lives in the car so it’s there when we need it.

2. Stop multitasking  — at least for a set amount of time.

Okay, hear me out. I know we live in a fast-paced world that often requires us to multi-task, especially as parents, and there’s no getting away from that. At least, not completely. 

But we can pick one activity to do as a family with no multitasking — silence your phone (or put it away) and focus on what’s in front of you. Do it at a frequency that works for you, whether that’s daily, weekly, monthly, or what have you. Instead of multitasking, single-tasking can be the best thing you can do for yourself as a highly sensitive, introverted soul.

Maybe it’s a family game or movie night, an after-dinner walk, or even just the act of sitting down to dinner together (no devices included). Aim to find just one thing and give it a try. 

3. Meal plan and prep as much as possible.

Have you ever tried to cook dinner with a toddler spitting water all over the living room and a preschooler yelling at you from the bathroom that she needs help now!? It’s… stressful. 

Dinnertime is almost always one of the most overwhelming times in my household — and I’m sure other parents would agree, highly sensitive and introverted or not.

When I have a chance to prep food ahead of time — whether that means making full meals at the beginning of the week or simply pre-chopping all the veggies in advance so they’re ready come dinnertime — it makes that phase of the day a million times easier. 

Try to do as much as possible in advance. It’ll help calm your overstimulated soul, trust me!

Is the chaos of life overwhelming you as a highly sensitive person?

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4. Get picky about what you put on your calendar.

Is it just me or do kids have an insane amount of activities and projects going on these days? Not to mention how many things my extroverted husband wants to do. But the more you overschedule your child, the more you overschedule yourself. 

Otherwise, all the events can quickly fill up your calendar. 

Start getting super selective about what you say yes to and what you allow to fill up your daily schedule. It’s okay to say no to protect your energy, especially as an introvert and highly sensitive person. 

You can also enlist the help of family and friends to support your kids in their activities. You don’t have to try to be all things to all people (and you’ll be nothing to no one if you’re drained and exhausted all the time – I know!). 

5. Practice hitting “pause” during the day (as often as you can).

This might seem simple, but it can do wonders for slowing down your day. Try pausing and taking five deep breaths, three times a day (at least). When things get frantic, pausing for a moment can help slow down the momentum. If you’re not into deep breathing, you can step outside to just breathe some different air, pet the family dog, whatever makes you slow down for a few…

If you are rushed, your kids will feel rushed — and everyone will be running as fast as they can. It’s overwhelming, especially for highly sensitive introverts. 

To start, try setting an alarm — one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one in the evening — to remind you to pause and breathe. Hopefully, once you get into the practice of pausing, you will do it even more, even if it’s not scheduled.

6. Find the quiet among the noise.

Eliminate extra sensory input when you start feeling like things are moving too fast or getting overwhelming — which happens easily for highly sensitive introverts.

Turn off the podcast while you do dishes, throw some (noise-canceling!) headphones at your kid while they’re on the Kindle, and redirect the toddler to the “quieter” toys

Quieting things down feels like slowing things down. Sometimes it’s the overstimulation that makes things feel like you’re on a bullet train. The more you can slow that train down, the better!

Slowing Down Will Look Different to Different People — Do What Works Best for You

Being a highly sensitive introvert means we need to do things differently than our live-out-loud extroverted counterparts (which can also mean doing things contrary to the way society operates as a whole). We need slowness, quiet time, alone time, and a way to process all that we’re taking in every day — which is a lot

We know we need those things, but it can be hard to figure out how to make it happen and how to best support ourselves so that we can live a full, energetic, meaningful life. It might look different for each of us — because we might all be introverted HSPs, but we’re not all carbon copies of each other. We also have different life circumstances and access to various resources or support. 

The key is finding little ways each day that work best for you to process, recharge, and gear up for all we want and need to accomplish. Slowing down can play a huge part in that process. Once I figured out a few small ways to make that happen, my life began to shift. Remember — plan ahead, stay focused, and don’t forget to breathe.

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