• Workplaces can be noisy, competitive and full of difficult relationships

  • All of these can present problems for highly sensitive people, but there are ways you can take care of yourself and be productive

  • If you are an HSP you may benefit from therapy – you can find a therapist here

The working world isn’t always suited to highly sensitive beings, particularly if you are in a job that you don’t find meaningful. There can be a lot going on – demands on your time and energy. People that are seemingly wired differently and have different needs to yours so expect a lot and don’t get it when you don’t live up to their expectations. Plus the way society is designed, with highly stimulating foods and drinks to keep you pepped up throughout the day, but actually end of depleting everyone (particularly highly sensitive individuals) in the long run.

Whilst sometimes the best solution may be to find somewhere else to work that is more in alignment with your needs and values, often this takes time. So, here are 11 tips to help you manage your day-to-day so you don’t feel overwhelmed and run down by the 9 to 5.

1) Ground and centre your energy before you get into the office

Spend a few minutes outside breathing deeply into your belly, do this ideally standing on the earth (not on concrete). Imagine roots going down from your feet deep into the earth, stabilising and grounding you. Keep breathing deeply, staying present. You can do this any time you feel thrown, overwhelmed or un-grounded throughout your day.

2) Eat healthy, high energy food and avoid stimulants

It goes without saying but real food such as fresh fruits and vegetables will help you to feel more energised as they are full of nutrients and life force. Conversely, processed foods and stimulants such as caffeine, candy bars, crisps, biscuits etc. – which can give you a quick fix will actually make your energy crash afterwards and you’ll end up craving more, leading to a vicious cycle.

3) Take regular breaks alone (device-free), ideally in nature

Highly sensitive people generally thrive in nature as it’s soothing to the nervous system. If you can, try and spend a few minutes as often as you can anywhere in nature – a park, by the water, perhaps sitting under a tree. Even a flower shop where you can just be around the plants will have the same effect.

4) Seek out positive and uplifting people

Even if you don’t know who are the other sensitive people in your workplace, find the people who inspire you and make you smile. The ones who have a positive attitude and genuinely care about others and what they are doing. It always helps to be around someone positive who shows compassion and understanding.

5) Set boundaries that work for you

Coming from a place of empowerment, it’s up to you to define your boundaries in the workplace. Often it can feel like you have no control and have to do what you are told. But, if you assert some boundaries from the get go, others will come to respect them. Perhaps it’s not checking emails out of hours, or taking breaks without your phone. Maybe it’s even speaking up and saying when you don’t have time to do something and need help from others, rather than taking on everything yourself.

6) See if you can arrange to work from home or in a quiet space, regularly

Sensitive beings can thrive and produce much better quality work when their needs are being honoured. Quiet and spaciousness are often two qualities that help sensitive people thrive. Asking to work in an environment that suits you will be conducive to better results for the business – so reframe it like this when asking. Better results for the business is a no-brainer and if you’re told ‘no’ it may really be time to re-think why you are working there.

7) Have a ‘toolbox’ of energy protection techniques to support you

These can vary from imagining yourself in a protective bubble of golden light to a waterfall of energy grounding you from up above right into the earth’s core. Anything that helps to cleanse your energy field that works for you is a great tool to practice regularly.

8) Practice free-writing to help you de-clutter all the mind chaos

Either first thing in the morning, during your breaks or after work, spend some time simply writing out all the thoughts that are in your head – as they are, no editing. This is a great way to mentally un-clutter all the thoughts and distractions, getting them out on to paper, which you can then burn safely if you choose to.

9) Keep plants on your desk

Pot plants and crystals can help to clear the air around your desk as well as help to ground you. Have plants, crystals or other meaningful objects that are appealing to YOU as these will be what work best. A couple suggestions to try out could be peace lilies or rose quartz crystals.

10) Listen to calming music in the office and on public transport

Calming music is helpful for soothing sensitive nervous systems, particularly on public transport, which can often be really stressful particularly during rush hour. Also in busy, loud offices – which are equally a lot to take in. Put those headphones on/in and allow yourself to be in your own space.

11) Take a shower or salt bath to ‘wash off’ the day when you get home

As a sensitive being it’s easy to absorb and take on a lot of what’s happened in your day. So a simple, quick and easy way to clear this so you aren’t carrying everything into your evenings or weekends, is to have a shower or salt bath as soon as you get in the door. Showers are particularly powerful as you can imagine everything washing down the drain. But salt baths can also be effective as they soothe your muscles too and help you relax into your own time and space.

Above all, being highly sensitive is a gift and you have so much to offer any organisation. By honouring your needs and boundaries and making small adjustments to your day, you can help yourself thrive in the working world.

If you’d like to get more support as a highly sensitive professional please take a look at my various offers including my signature 6-week online programme: ‘From Surviving to thriving the 9 to 5 for highly sensitive professionals’, at www.tarajackson.co.uk

Further reading

Surviving the city as a highly sensitive person

How CBT helped me overcome anxiety at work

What can be done to improve mental health at work?

7 self-care tips for increasing energy at work

Why therapy benefits the highly sensitive person