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Tips for Introverted Parents on Sensory Overload: The Quiet Revolution

Is there a way to feel as if the day had a beautiful rainbow overhead? As if alongside the busyness was an undercurrent of a lovely day? How can you reduce the pressure and find the rainbow deep inside keeping you company?
08/25/2015 11:48am ET | Updated December 6, 2017
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Photo by Jeff Hollman

Some parents are supercharged extroverts. Others are more quiet introverted people. But all parents are busy from the time they wake up to the time they go to bed. From the morning wake-up call, to making breakfast, packing lunch, organizing back packs, then going to a job and/or taking small kids to day care only to get home in time to unpack the back packs is exhausting. Then there's help with homework, making dinner, getting the kids in the tub and and teeth brushed, all the while hopefully having a meaningful conversation with your kids, and -- collapse!

The more quiet, introverted type mother finds this exhausting in a different way than the extroverted, high activity mother. She needs more time to herself without feeling selfish and guilty. She needs time to regroup, manage the sensory stimulation, and the constant movement and noise.

Is there a way to feel as if the day had a beautiful rainbow overhead? As if alongside the busyness was an undercurrent of a lovely day? How can you reduce the pressure and find the rainbow deep inside keeping you company?

Tips to Reduce Sensory Overload

1. Slow your pace.
Even though there are schedules to be met, just walk through them a bit slower. You may get the feeling that you actually have to be at a running pace because so much is on your mind to get done, but walking and breathing and even sitting down now and then reduces the frantic inner experience.

2. Remember to prioritize the essentials one of which is conversation with your kids.
With all the details, kids feel hurried just like you do and it feels good to hear from their voices their ideas, opinions, and experiences they encounter. Hearing their experiences will replenish you. It's a way they give to you, nourish you while you go throughout the day.

3. Remember to eat well.
When you're so busy providing good food for your children, you almost can get so busy you skip meals to save time. This diminishes your energy and adds to exhaustion. Nourish yourself. You'll feel better.

4. Use noise reducing headsets when you are shopping.
When you're not with your kids but have to shop for them, the noise in stores only adds to the sensory overload you're feeling. You can listen to music or just have headsets that cut out the noise and you can shop in a more peaceful way that's just as efficient but less tension producing.

5. Speak quietly.
When children hear their mother speak in quiet tones, they tend to tone down their voices as well. They hardly know they do it, but they resonate with your level of speech because they identify with you.

6. Speak more slowly.
When you're telling your children the schedules or calling them to come to dinner or even to take a bath, speak more slowly. They will resonate with your rhythm and tempo and slow down themselves which adds to a more peaceful household.

7. Make sure you take time to yourself.
It's not selfish to go to your room for twenty minutes and lay on your bed. It's rejuvenating time that should be guilt-free because it actually lets you tune into your kids' needs more effectively because you've taken time to regroup, rest, and nourish.

Be self-aware of your tempo, need for quiet, and self-worth. You earn it every minute of the day. Loving yourself in this way helps you love others even more deeply. Find that rainbow inside of yourself and hold on to it!

Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. is a psychoanalyst whose new book, Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child's Behavior, will be released October 13, 2015. Order early for a discount from Amazon. Follow Laurie on twitter @lauriehollmanph

This post originally appeared on Moms Magazine.