One Surprisingly Simple Self-Care Rule for Highly Sensitive Moms

One Surprisingly Simple Self-Care Rule for Highly Sensitive Moms

For a long time, in my early years as a mother, I thought self-care was going out with other moms.

Moms Nights Out.

This has such an appeal to it.

But, as it turned out, those nights out were also the only time I was taking time for myself.

And, as a highly sensitive mom, large group outings with other moms in noisy restaurants can often leave me feeling anything but refreshed and nurtured.

And while I always enjoyed some aspects of those nights out, the truth is that afterward I also felt a lot more …

  • Overwhelmed.
  • Exhausted.
  • Unheard and unseen.
  • Lonely.

Yes, lonely.

Large group settings in noisy locations like restaurants and other happening scenes is actually not the best self-care for Highly Sensitive Moms.

A group where my introverted voice doesn’t stand out in a crowd made me feel like I wasn’t really connecting with anyone at the table or in the room.

It took a long time for me to figure this out about myself. I wanted to be that mom with a gang of girlfriends. I wanted to do things and go places. I wanted to be a part of the action.

Because that’s what I thought self-care was for moms. That’s what the glossy magazines and movies make you think.

After a few years of this, I realized that the self-care practices for highly sensitive moms like me shouldn’t be about surrounding myself with lots of people or noisy places. So I began to find more appropriate self-care practices that helped me feel the way I wanted to feel — calm, strong and nourished.

In other words, I wasn’t going out on the town anymore only to return home exhausted and overwhelmed and dissatisfied.


Self-Care for Highly Sensitive Moms


Now my self-care rule is purely about my SELF. I still enjoy going out with friends but I choose one-on-one kind of experiences. Let’s meet at the coffee shop or at a park and walk.

In fact, I love being with people.

But, the truth is that my self-care is about restoring myself and recharging myself and this often means sitting at home journaling, reading or working on my Abundant Mama toolbox practices. 

Here are the words I would use to describe what I need from my own self-care practices: solitude, time to just be still and think through my thoughts, serene and natural and meaningful.

Meaningful conversation and meaningful work is really, really important to me.

Once you understand what works best for you, it makes self-care so much easier to do and fit into your busy life.

We don’t have to force ourselves into a box that someone else has created for us to fit in.

We can make up the rules ourselves on how to be a happy mother.

We get to make the self-care box, decorate it and decide what goes inside.

And my box includes a lot of self-reflection, journaling and time in nature.

Discuss: What words would you use to describe the kind of self-care practices you need as a highly sensitive mom? What activities would you put in your self-care box?

Best friends

40 Responses to One Surprisingly Simple Self-Care Rule for Highly Sensitive Moms

  1. so much YES! When I get time away from my kids, I hightail it to a cafe or book store with a journal and my headphones. Sometimes I stay home (while the kids are out) and cook a really excellent meal, paint my nails, or work on non-etsy shop sewing projects. My self-care time is all about creating space around me physically and mentally. I need quiet, i need to not perform for others. My pre-motherhood self didn’t go out to clubs or big dinners, so why would I find rejuvenation there now? I like using my free time to refresh my spirit and my mind so I come back to my family with a happy heart and fresh eyes.

  2. Thank you so much for this. Ever since I moved recently, I found myself in solitude a lot. But I am happy. I have not really wanted to go out with other moms or to make new friends. I have been happy taking long walks and calling friends back home to talk. But I am left wondering if something is wrong with me. I asked my husband if it was weird that I didn’t want to get out and meet others or go on the dinner outings. He assured me I was not, and now you have made me feel okay. You affirmed that I am doing what feels right to me and like you, large groups in noisy restaurants leaves me feeling empty. I am grateful for you sharing this and helping me understand myself a little more. Thank you for all you do.

    • I think we’re so wrapped up in others all day that we do need our self-care to be something that is not just one more thing to DO. It can be exhausting making friends, especially when it feels so forced. You have a world of friends right here, Rachel. So glad you are finding some comfort in this series. :)

  3. In years past, back in the pioneering days, women were very isolated and alone and probably needed contact and community with other women desperately for self-care, i.e. preservation. Today, in our noisy, busy, crowded, in-your-face culture where we live literally and figuratively on top of each other through work, FB, Twitter, endless activities and schedules, the opposite is true. Time alone in solitude, reflection, silence, nature is the paradigm shift! And it’s OK!!! You know deep in your heart what you need. Don’t let others define it for you. Thank you, Shawn, for giving voice to this.

  4. This really hit home for me. I always wanted to be the girl with the bog group of friends…but really, what makes me happy are my little gaggle of close friends. I like to be alone, I like to write–and I’m still struggling with being okay with that definition. Thanks for the good post!

    • Any of us who were of the Sex and the City era would probably feel that gaggle of friends pull much more … not sure if this fits you but that was my era for sure.

  5. Hi Shawn! Thank you so much for writing about Highly Sensitive Moms because I am one. I didn’t learn this about myself until just recently, now after going on 11 years of being a stay-at-home Mom. So, it is very reassuring to know that there are a lot of other women out there who are the same way. :) Today my self-care practice is listening to praise music, reading devotionals, and light housework. I also enjoy getting up early before the rest of the family and doing a light yoga routine, fix a hot cup of tea, get the coffee going (b/c you gotta have that!), and showering b/f the rest of the family. I love nature as well so I take our dog for a walk b/f picking up the kids from school, when there is time. Again, thank you for your uplifting messages and keep up the good work! :) Blessings, :)

    • I also enjoy light housework that will create more order … great mention. Any hot beverage as well to soothe.

  6. Oh my goodness, YES!! This is me to a “T”. The rare occasion I get to drive somewhere without either of my kiddos, or a nice soaking bath after they are in bed. Those things refresh me more than a night out does…though an evening out with my husband would be nice every once in a while, but I don’t know if either of us would remember what to do if we were out without the kids.

  7. Hi Shawn, loved your post.I’m putting forth MY moments.
    3)Book &
    4)Coffee wid cookies
    Stay Happy:)

  8. I am just realizing this about myself. Need alone time with my thoughts and dreams. I actually love looking at family photos during this time. I also really start to miss everyone and am thankful and overjoyed to see them after a break. I too get exhausted and overwhelmed after a night out. I never sleep well on those nights either.

  9. Thank you so much for this. I think I will ask my husband to read it! He’s always suggesting to me to go out with groups of women and to find more friends, but I’m happy with my few close ones and spending time recharging mostly by myself. When I do go out with groups, I usually enjoy myself (depending on the group) but feel more drained when I return home than when I left. I’m an introvert and he’s an extrovert so he gets recharged by large, loud group settings. It’ll be good to show him there are other people like me who like calm, quiet times to re-find myself. Thanks!

    • I do think that even men feel like this is their standard way to operate, too. My husband is a loner as well. We’re two loners and happy as clams! :)

  10. Wow! I thought it was just me. Only I get drunk and really regret it. I can’t help it I am not in my 20’s anymore. I don’t enjoy talking about guys non-stop complaining and male bashing. Not to mention we take the kids with us and everyone lets their child run around like crazy they don’t teach the children to have respect for people around them. They are too engrossed with conversation and drinking. I am sitting there getting angry and they’re thinking “what is her problem, she has anger management issues!”

    • Getting drunk is definitely not the answer to the HSP. I hope you are realizing how to find better ways.

  11. Well, now I understand! I’m a highly sensitive mom! I treasure solitude, reading, going out to a museum…
    With three noisy boys, time without them is a blessing

  12. Quiet, alone with my thoughts, cooking, reading, exercising, cleaning, or just taking care of myself.

  13. I love this. I’m a writer and coach but also am due with first baby in February and have had mild panic attacks wondering how I will EVER be able to get my me time in that I need to recharge my batteries. I’ve been spending more time with other creatives and it turns out we think alike and it helps center us in how we mommy and be wives and also do life so we get the self care we need to keep fueled up for our days. Gives me an idea for a refueling coaching session for creative types who need extra space.

    • Love that some inspiration has hit! That’s always a good thing. And yes, creatives are definitely almost always highly sensitive as well.

  14. HUGS! I woke up grumpy and grumped all over everyone this morning. There are lots of decisions on my plate right now and our morning routine wasn’t going smoothly, but as I was quietly brushing my teeth and reflecting on how to help myself chill out, one thought came through loud and clear, my husband and I have been so busy we didn’t so much as hug or kiss or sit next to each other yesterday. I’m so sensitive to my thoughts and feelings that without some loving grounding touch, i.e. bear hugs, I sometimes get carried away.

    • Interesting! Good for you for recognizing what works. Bear hugs are great for anyone with sensory issues.

  15. This is excellent. I too am a full time Mom, a creative, and an HSP. For years I berated myself for not going out with friends more, but 4 babies in 8 years kept me busy. It took me about 10 years to figure out how important it was to my own well being to take time for myself alone to recharge.
    It’s interesting how many of us love nature. Sometimes I walk to the mailbox just for the stroll. Also I can identify with sleep issues the night before a too-full day. Tidy spaces, sweet silence, preparing delicious food, it’s all my jam.
    I look forward to reading more on your site. Have a lovely day!

  16. Your posts have been a gift to me, as I’m discovering that I am an HSP – and it’s a thing! and I’m not the only one! – in a new town (which is par for the course as a military spouse). Everything I read here clicks, and with each click I become clearer to myself. Thank you SO much for this work you’re doing.

    I’ve found that it’s easier to get a girls’ night out on the calendar than a “mom’s going to the coffee shop.” Without having someone waiting for me to show, I am prone to getting wrapped up in chores or guilt. Plus, I think it’s hard for people who don’t feel the need to be alone and reflect – my husband, for example – to understand the urge and support it. This post is a good reminder to prioritize self-care, not as something to do when I’m at the end of my rope, but as part of my regular routine.

  17. Such great advice all around. If I tell my husband I need to “recharge my batteries” he knows I need spooning(the horizontal bear hug). Sometimes a little cuddle goes a long way to feeling safe, secure and loved.

  18. Stillness.
    Disconnect from the Doing.

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Shawn Fink - Abundant MamaFrom Our Founder

I created The Abundant Mama Project to inspire overwhelmed, busy mothers to slow down and let go of the worries and concerns that are holding them back from experiencing joyful motherhood. Read More »
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