HSC: unwinding highly sensitive children. 12 Tips!

In this blog I would like to share 12 tips to unwind your highly sensitive child (HSC) when he or she is overaroused.

Overarousal occurs when your HSC:

  • Has spent too much time in one space with many people
  • Was to be found in that space without parental guidance or someone who is familiar to the child
  • Has too much activities after one another
  • Has not eaten on time or enough
  • Has been exposed to new surroundings and/or activities
  • Has experienced or witnessed injustifiable behaviour

I have gathered the tips below based on my own experience raising two highly sensitive children. My daughter has turned zeven this summer and my son is nearly 21 months.

  1. Let them play outside

Playing outside frees the mind, body and soul. It relaxes. It doesn’t matter what the weather is like; feel the wind, the rain and the sunbeams on your skin. Children are still so close to nature. Let them experience nature whenever they need it. The moments they need it, is after school or another social activity. Especially schools where children need to sit tightly behind their desk to do their chores make a good reason to release your children in nature. I’ve seen to many parents taking their HSC directly from school to another activity. They need time to unwind before taking up another activity. Even running around at the school’s playground will suffice to release some of the school’s impulses they took in.

2. Have an after-school-routine

After having runned around with friends we go home and my daughter gets something to drink and a snack. Whenever I have the time and energy I prepare a homemade snack. She truly appreciates that kind of gesture. Especially the taste. Help them organize their school stuff and perhaps get them to dress differently in order to change the school-energy into being-home-energy.

3. Make them feel loved

When highly sensitive children are overaroused they can get really nasty. They don’t want to eat what you serve, they don’t want to listen, they are grumpy, silent or they only want to sit behind a screen to watch cartoons. They can get into each other’s hair. Make them feel loved. Put extra care in the food you offer. You could put different colourful and healthy snacks on one plate. Make it a feast. Hug them or keep your distance depending the childs wish, but stay close so they can come to you. In case of the one bothering the other: take them apart, but don’t scold them. They were only expressing their needs in a negative way. Instead give them what they need: drink, snack, hugs, reading to both of them, sing, dance.

4. Giving space to anger

When your highly sensitive child is angry; starts screaming or throwing things, the best thing to do is stay calm and have an open attitude. Acknowledge their anger. Make the anger feel welcome, but be clear about your physical and emotional bounderies. They are not allowed to throw things at you nor verbally hurt you. Tell them they are allowed to feel angry, but not to project the anger onto you. Bring it back to the core emotion instead of punishing them for having hurt you.

5. Accept their pace in sharing

Highly sensitive children need time to digest the experiences that have hurt them or made a huge impression. Many times my daughter told a full story on how she felt the same evening, the following day or even two days after. It was difficult for me to accept her pace. Especially when I noticed she felt really bad about something. But from experience I’ve learnt to not ask about it further when she doesn’t respond the first few times.

6. Shower or bathe

This is a very important tool to unwind overaroused highly sensitive children. Most children have a positive reaction towards water. My children drop everything they are doing when I mention the word “bath”. For a while, when my daughter came home exhausted from school we explained to her that showering and bathing would be part of the after-school-routine. It helped her to wash away negative energy of children teasing other children, when injustice happened in her point-of-view, when friends didn’t listen to her or get rid of the warmth she had experienced in classrooms.

7. Do something creative

We, parents, are always busy and we want the best for our children. I believe we could definitely opt more and plan quality time with our children. Perhaps you could have your dinner already prepared so you can spend half an our colouring and crafting. Children thrive when they feel you are fully present.

8. Prepare dinner together

Get your highly sensitive child participate in preparing dinner. It’s a healthy way to disconnect from digital life and get your body and senses moving. Reconnecting in this way also boosts your HSC’s selfesteem. Be sure to give your HSC physically and verbally space and room to express her/his creative cooking eye. On the verbal aspect; stimulate their initiatives and avoid critisizing their actions. Make it a time to remember. Put your HSC’s favourite music on. Dress up: cooking hats and skirts.

9. Give a massage

Giving massages is next to showering and bathing a relaxing way to get back into your skin. Our children imitate everything we do. My daughter also likes to give massages so one of us (parents) is the lucky one to receive or her little brother. Our son has picked up this practice too. Another great way to get your HSC connecting to their body is holding their feet, hands or cover their ears with the palms of your hands. When I hold my daughter’s feet she instantly starts to yawn.

10. Alone-time

Actually we didn’t have to stimulate alone-time with our daughter because she initiated this for herself. She loves to read. Reading helps her to unwind. She also likes to dress up in her room and comes out to show her different outfits. But sometimes when she is whirled up too much we stimulate her to do something else. Something which helps her to release energy instead of taking in more information.

11. Balance social activities

Two birthday’s in a row is not done in our highly sensitive household. In addition, when we attend a birthday party we stay a maximum of an hour and a half. That’s quite enough celebratory impulses to unwind afterwards. One children’s birthday and an afternoon-family visit is too much. Receiving friends during the week around dinner time is also not done. Only if friend(s) and family blend in our household it’s doable. By that I mean that they take up a chore or give attention to one of the children.

Recently my daughter did a classical ballet try-out and after class she was fuelled up with adrenaline, grumpy and she couldn’t come up with normal phrases to indicate what she wanted. Based on all these signs I had to give back to her that she wasn’t ready to take up an after-school activity. She agreed. To acknowledge her need to play we agreed that we would plan play-dates when she feels energetic enough to enjoy playtime with her friends.

12. Plan recharching time

Continuing on the previous tip: yes, we try to plan as much as one after-school social activity during the week for my daughter. This means at least four after-school days are spend recharging for the next school day. My son gets his daily social boost with his dad in libraries, supermarkets and wherever day go and play. During the weekend it also comes down to mostly one social activity (spending time with family and friends) for the kids so we have one day left to recharge and do what we feel like doing on the spot. Sometimes we (parents) have more than one social activity, but one of us stays with the children and spend time in a slow way.

Hopefully a couple of these tips will help you unwind your highly sensitive children. Now let’s hear it from you. Please leave a comment below to share what your HSC parenting challenges are and what works for you to unwind your HSC.

Let’s continue to cherish our sensitivity!

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HSC: birthday party fun without hassle

Photo by Ouxu Cheng

My two kids are highly sensitive. I am highly sensitive, my husband is highly sensitive. As a highly sensitive family we keep on learning how to listen and react to each others needs to thrive in this world full of entertainment. Last weekend we went to a birthday party in Amsterdam. The preparation for the birthday started in the car, my youngest fell asleep immediately and my daughter was relaxing by holding onto her big bear friend. No music, no cartoons, no talking.

This birthday party was definitely highly sensitive proof.

  • The birthday lady was walking barefoot,
  • They served sugar free goodies such as banana egg pancakes with whipped cream, blue berries, strawberries and marmelade, coconut-date bonbon and a chocolate banana egg cake,
  • People withdrawing to other rooms to look up some quite time,
  • Moms breastfeeding,
  • No music.

We had loads of fun. I love socialising and meeting new people, but at the same time I like to blend in the crowd by talking to friends we hadn’t seen for a while. That feels much more comfortable than immediately making small talk with someone I don’t know.  Same goes for my daughter.

Amé stood close to me, observing the room and the people. The best thing about a party, according to my daughter, is eat the foods they serve. Though she didn’t dive in immediately, she needed some time to land. After having encouraged her to choose her pick, she took her plate to the balcony where the other kids were playing. Instead of connecting to the kids she focussed on her plate. Afterwards she wanted to go outside, because inside it was too warm for her. Arnold and I decided to split up, he went outside and I stayed in with Dían.

Dían also needed his time to get used to the house, the atmosphere and the people. He sticked with me or Arnold. After Amé got back from playing outside she started playing with a girl. They went from room to room and finally I found them sitting with a lady who drew images on their arms. I talked to her earlier and Amé, at that time still taking her time to get accustomed, apparently eavesdropped. To her big surprise she found out this lady is a professional illustrator. Amé took the opportunity to ask her to draw tattoos on her hand with the tattoo pens she had brought with her in her handbag. Afterwards Amé said:

I was perfectly prepared for this party by bringing my tattoo pens.

We arrived quite early at the party, one hour and a half, after it had started. Slowly, new guests were arriving and the noice of people talking to each other got louder and louder. When I started breastfeeding on the balcony it was still doable. New guests joined us on the balcony, Dían was ready drinking, he sat on my lap and made screeching noises. He wasn’t happy at all. I understood and we went to a spare room. He immediately revived. He started smiling and moving around the room. He is fifteen months and I am so happy with our communication.

From the moment he crawled out of the spare room I knew he was ready for more action. I have seen him playing with a friend of ours who was playing with him and interacting with the cat under the table. Meanwhile we were socialising in the open kitchen. I still had an eye on him, that’s my mommy-mind, but I was super proud of him being at ease. Later I caught him playing alone, but not for long, a new friend came along. This twenty-something young male was autistic and loved to connect with Dían.

We had a wonderful time.

Both kids dealt differently with their birthday experience. Driving back home they both stayed awake. Around eight Dían fell asleep without any hassle, but it took Amé more time to fall asleep. The next day Amé slept in and Dían took his nap earlier than normal and slept for like an hour and a half. This is how they recovered. And of course we provided them the time to recover. We had no other appointments than being in and around the house organising and cleaning.

In retrospect, I am very happy and satisfied we took this last-minute decision to stay in The Hague in stead of going up North visiting family. This way we definitely have enjoyed the birthday party in full in stead of being super tired by travelling from one place to another.

 

Life Coaching: powerful positive emotional changes

Tuscan Lily

I’ve had another morning filled with powerful positive emotional changes. Acknowledging and channeling anger towards the right person frees body, mind and soul. I have known this for quite some time now, but still I am in awe when the people in front of me change into the person they truly are.

The first step in acknowleding who you are is to fully accept all of the emotions which the mind has been resisting for a long time. Depending on the person I guide the first few sessions will be focussed on mental coaching before starting the physical work. Some people have been living from out of their heads for as long as they remember which means they rationalize everthing. This limits the body to feel. Therefore these sessions are focussed on aligning the mind with the body. In my view and also based on the feedback of the coachees the mind has a need to understand first in order to feel safe to express their emotions.

On the other hand I have seen people who feel safe at the beginning. From the moment they cross my doorstep, walk into the coachingpractice and sit down, they feel comfortable to show their emotions within a few minutes. Their trust and openess allows me to guide them through coaching techniques which helps them feel even more. The goal is to change unwanted emotions such as sadness, anger, resentment, disappointment, hatred into positive emotions. This won’t change overnight, read with one coaching technique, but every coaching technique allong the way brings the coachee closer to letting go of limiting thoughts and emotions.

This morning I guided and witnessed a man in his fourties stamping his feet, fighting with his arms and screaming out anger, disappointment and sadness with a loud and harsh voice. Afterwards he burst into tears. His inner child expressed sadness which was suppressed for decades. The anger was directed to his mother. After the standing exercise he sat down and tears were still running down his face. These tears were telling another story; the story of feeling grateful and joyful that his life was about to start. He felt inner peace on his chest. This was his fifth session.

I am enormously grateful to be able to do this work. Guiding people towards a life which they can live from the core of their heart is a satisfactory job.

For more information on my work, visit my website Orchid of Life ~ Life Coaching. 

HSP: live from your core and inner strength

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As a highly sensitive person we are characterized by traits such as kindness, good-natured, helpful, attentive, conscious, creative and with strongly developed senses for nature, the emotional side of human beings, babies, animals and spirituality. Based on these characteristics I am convinced that highly sensitive people naturally live more from their heart’s calling. I am not saying that they all have the perfect jobs and that their whole lives revolves around every heart’s desire they have. Some highly sensitive people are still wandering and stuck in a job which holds them back. Jobs which are able to drain them in such a way that they feel waisted and super tired from a day’s work.

Let’s get back to a highly sensitive person’s calling and the possibility of leading a live which suits you best in many ways. I would like to get your attention for a person’s calling in a sense which resonates completely with one’s soul. What makes your soul happy? Have you every wondered what it might be? How would it be like to live from your core and inner strength? I can imagine it’s not a daily life question. My experience is that this question mainly pops up when a person finds himself stuck in the life that they are currently leading. A life which doesn’t provide the deep pleasure and satisfaction which automatically puts a smile on your face.

That feeling of being stuck can occur when you are not happy at your current job, because of a business culture in which people are only thinking of themselves, getting higher up at cost of their colleagues. Perhaps even at cost of your performance. Or you are looking for a job, but the only thing that comes your way are rejections. No, you don’t fit the job, because you’re too highly qualified or your ambitions are too high. That feeling of being stuck can also be an indescribable feeling, a feeling unknown to you, because you were the person who was always positive-minded and pro-active when it came to your life. And that’s where I as a Life Coach come in.

My specialty is to guide people in a way they are enabled to see clearly through the emotions they are feeling. Some emotions have a blinding effect, such as fear, anger, sadness and guilt. It’s quite easy to get stuck in these emotions whilst thinking you are stuck in life. Life moves on, but life can be much more fun and a place where you want to be, when you are happy and calm from within. And let’s take a moment for mourning; this is a deep-rooted raw emotion which can tear someone apart. Our society doesn’t allow us the time to mourn in detail. This means it’s up to us to take the time to mourn.

And what does this emotion-talk have to do with getting to know your soul’s mission? Well, it has everything to do with your soul’s mission. One is unable to feel and act upon the soul’s mission if the soul is still covered with fear, anxiety, anger, sadness and guilt. Your soul needs you to be kind, attentive and loving to yourself. As a highly sensitive person we are more likely to be attentive to others, to act upon the needs of others. Well, it’s about time you stand up for yourself. Heal the thoughts you are having, heal the wound that you are carrying around. It’s time to feel and act upon your inner strength. From the first step you will take you will notice the joy from within. Are you ready for real change?

Are you interested in a session? Click here to read more about the introduction session! 

Life Coaching: my journey in rebirthing

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This year my summer holidays wasn’t only about going to the beach, eating ice cream, reading books, discovering new spots nor any arty farty stuff while a Summer storm ravaged the Hague. Lots of my attention went to rebirthing. Out of pure necessity.

Day in and day out I have guided rebirthing sessions. I’ve undergone rebirthing sessions as well and it has been an exciting and insightful journey inwards. It all started in February this year. My partner came back from a rebirthing weekend organised by an institute named AUMM. His rebirthing experience and stories about other people’s sessions made me very curious. As if my wish was picked up by the universe, I am enormously grateful that I was guided into a rebirthing session only one week later. I cried unstoppably and without a sense of time for an hour.

Let me explain to you what rebirthing does. Rebirthing consists of different breathing techniques, but the one breathing technique which activates surpressed emotional blockages goes as follows: while breathing we connect inhalation with exhalation and exhalation with inhalation, in doing so we create a circular motion of breath. In rebirthing this is called ‘connected breathing’. This connected breathing could activate different physical symptoms like feeling cold all over your body or the opposite super hot like fire, a tingling sensation in arms, legs, face or just about everywhere, itching and the sensation of wanting to curl your feet up or move your knees from side to side. Whichever physical symptom arises depends on who you are, what kind of emotional trauma’s you’ve had and in which stage of emotional consciousness you are in.

By the end of June I started using ‘connected breathing’ in my coaching practice in combination with coaching techniques such as Neuro Linguistic Programming and Social Panorama. The results were fenomenal. In this stage my experience was only based upon my and my partner’s rebirthing experiences and by reading the books written by the founders of the AUMM institute. Before I decided to put my knowledge and experience to practice I had been through a major personal development regarding my role as a professional life coach; I had eagerly watched Suzanne Powell on YouTube and it was the first time in years that I found myself a teacher, someone I wanted to learn from. Her knowledge and experience affirmed how I live and think as I guide others to discover themselves while letting go of emotional burden.

Parallel to this development I struggled a week long with different life courses I could run: shall I write my book on high sensitivity, attend a four-year study on rebirthing or go for our second child? Off course I discussed all of this with my partner. After some talk we decided to go for our second child. I am happy to announce that I am almost four months into pregnancy. So ‘rebirthing’ has another meaning to me; going for our second real-time birth experience! I have to say, this life changing decision has put every work-relation ambition I had in a broader perspective. Off course writing a book and study can wait, but I would have been enlightened If I didn’t struggle with the following: how can I continue my journey in rebirthing when my full attention went to family and working life?

Out of personal and professional interest I did find time to read the books on rebirthing. And somehow the answer to my question just appeared out of doing my work. While guiding sessions one day I used the rebirthing technique without a lot of thinking. As I guide intuitively I just do what I feel is needed to enable the coachee to let go of limiting thoughts, behavior and emotions. As I have mentioned before, the results were fenomenal. Rebirthing to me has shown it’s positive effects while guiding people who have a hard time talking about their feelings. The positive results took me to investigate the topic even more. Within a short period of time I have mastered this skill with help of books, YouTube video’s, pure practice and loads of reflection; writing down every single detail of the rebirthing process.

This blog closes off an insightful and breathtaking Summer holidays, but the journey continues! As I mentioned in the first paragraph, this journey was started out of necessity. Some people who follow my writings already know, but to the ones who don’t know, my partner is suffering a severe headache for almost six years. So embarking on this journey wasn’t because we were so thrilled to cry our eyes out, instead we had a goal in mind and this is ‘living a life in good and vibrant health’. Before I go, there is one more detail I would like to share: one tiny part of me questioned my professionalism in embarking our rebirthing journey without having done a four-year long study. At the beginning of this week I got hold of a book by Susanna Tamaro ‘Louisito’. On the back of the book I read that she acquired international fame by one of her books called ‘Follow Your Heart’. I went online to read some reviews and came across the paragraph below:

‘And when later many paths open for you and you are not sure which one to take, don’t haphazardly choose a path, but sit and wait. Breathe with full confidence as deep as you breathed on the day you came into the world, without being distracted by something, wait and keep waiting. Do not move, be quiet and listen to your heart. Whenever that speaks to you, get up and follow his voice.’ ~ Susanna Tamaro

These words took away my doubt. I am very happy and grateful to have followed the voice of my heart. The rebirthing journey continues while every cell in my body vibrates of professionalism and a strong motivation to live my life in good health and help others to live theirs.

Life Coaching: fear of being falsely accused

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I forgive my fear of being falsely accused. My fear was there to protect me of being hurt again. I forgive my fear, because my fear thought this would be the right way to go about this family situation. Because of the situation and based on the past encounters and conversations with my in-laws I am proud to acknowdlegde the fact that I have grown as a human being. I forgive my fear and I thank my fear. My fear has given me the time to recover from the hurt, from the wound which was already there. These situations have helped me to heal the wound. The wound has healed and fear has no job left to do.

Thank you ‘fear of being falsy accused’, but I have come to a point in my life that no one is able to hurt me by falsly accusing me. No one. The dream I woke up from proves my rooted belief that no one can hurt me anymore by falsly accusing me. It felt like nightmare. My daughter walked into the room and I woke up from the scene I was in. A lady walked in and showed me some receipts of the gym clothing of the children. She was telling me that she recently bought these clothes and they were already damaged. I felt her negative energy, I felt she was accusing me of the damaged clothing. I saw the clothing piled up as evidence.

Strangely enough it seemed like there was a cristal wall between me and her negative energy. I observed her energy and I was conscious of my anxiety, but at the same time I was calm and I knew what I was about to say. But right before I was about to say anything my daughter woke me up from the dream. This dream showed me one of my biggest fears, the fear of being wronged. But the dream also showed me my strength. The only thing left for me to do is to be fully calm and get rid of the anxiety. No need to feel anxious when I know I am not the one to blame. I forgive my fear of being falsly accused and I thank my fear for the time it gave me to heal.

Moving abroad for a couple of years

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A dear friend of mine came over to see me in The Hague. I wasn’t expecting her to tell us that she would move to London next year. Her husband got offered a job and they are in the midst of settling an arrangement to move their family including two little kids to London for three years. This has been their dream for many years and they didn’t think a chance like this would come by any time soon. Truth need to be told that she had kept this a secret for me for some months, because they wanted to be sure before sharing this huge news with friends. I was left in shock.

Why? And why so soon? The first emotion that popped up was that I would miss her. That all would be different, even though we have already struggled with meeting up while both living in the Netherlands. Straight after she had told me I opened up to what I was feeling, tears came rolling down my face. She embraced me and I just let it go. To be honest, I am proud to share that I was able to open to all my emotions and thoughts. When I look back at the times I have done this I am sure this started happening from this year onwards. It feels like I have been through a miraculous shift when it comes down to showing my tears to family and friends. I feel comfortable and safe in doing so.

From the moment she lives in London I imagine we would become more efficient in scheduling our get-to-gathers. Perhaps we will start using facetime or videoskype. Many people I know use these means of communication to stay in touch. Like having breakfast on a Sunday morning in ones kitchen while seeing and talking to family in Switserland. Actually I don’t want to think about this future scenery anymore, because I prefer having my friends living around the corner. Even though I would like to have more contact with my friends abroad I tend to keep in touch for a couple of times a year and be so, so very happy when I actually see them.

Of course I haven’t cried all the while she was visiting. Tears and laughter in my life are like two hands holding each other in good and bad times. I took her to the Hague city centre to discover a healthy juice and lunch café named Fine Fresh Food. Their vegan brownie and the savoury juice I tried was splendid. Furthermore we discussed our work and initiatives we are exploring in the field of psychology and lifecoaching.

Oh, I forget to mention one little detail, a few days before she came I literally thought to myself ‘Would I like to live abroad for a couple of years?’. I was surprised by this thought, because it came out of nowhere. On top of this at the beginning of this week our daughter told us she wants to go to England to speak English. Most likely we had a hunch of this message coming our way. I told my quite down-to-earth friend about our presentiments. She laughed and took it lightly. Life is about sharing right? There is no distance in time and space.