Three Simple Practices to Ease Overstimulation at Work
Do you struggle to concentrate at work, feel overwhelmed by what’s expected of you or leave feeling exhausted? Let’s face it, Introverts and Highly Sensitive People often find work to be overwhelming and exhausting. We have a tendency to be easily overstimulated by sensory stimulation (noise, bright lights, social interaction, etc.) and need more time to process our thoughts or make decisions. Put us in an open-office plan, fast paced environment or give us a demanding schedule and the workplace becomes stressful and potentially even unmanageable for quiet, sensitive types. Changing work environments or careers is not always an option, so what do you do?
Below are three simple practices to help you cope as an Introvert or Highly Sensitive Person at work:
1. Take Mindfulness Breaks
Take 30 seconds to pause between each meeting, project or activity: Feel your feet on the ground, your body in your seat and take three slow deep breaths. Inhale through the nose and exhale as you purse your lips (like you are blowing out birthday candles). This slows down your breathing and activates a calming response.
Pro Tip: Try this technique next time you are feeling stressed in a meeting or while stuck in a crowded commute.
Take your lunch break without checking email or looking at your phone. This allows you to slow down and give your mind a chance to rest. Breaks can be taken alone or with a close friend, depending on your needs. For instance, if you’ve had a day full of meetings you may need a quieter lunch.
2. Find Quiet Refuge
Find a quiet space to use when you need to recharge. This could be a break room, unoccupied conference room, nearby park, your car or even the restroom. Finding short moments of quiet throughout the day can help maintain energy levels overall.
Pro Tip: Fresh air and movement enhance the experience.
3. Set Firm Boundaries
Don’t answer any unnecessary personal phone calls or e-mails while at work. Staying single-mindedly focused will help maintain balanced stimulation levels rather than worrying about everything at once.
Maintain solid boundaries with co-workers. Correspond through email when possible and turn down lunch invitations if you’re feeling too drained. Finding a balance of connection and personal space is key.
Pro Tip: It’s actually okay to put yourself first and say “no” sometimes.
By incorporating more quiet moments of self-care into our daily routine and maintaining personal boundaries with coworkers, Introverts and Highly Sensitive People can more easily manage the demands of work. What are other ways you can reduce your level of stimulation and increase your productivity at work?