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How to handle high temperatures - especially when you're highly sensitive

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Hot weather? For highly sensitive people, the summer heat can bring extra intense stimuli. The sunrays and high temperatures are intense triggers for them, that can lead to fatigue and other physical complaints. 

High sensitivity is often related to perfectionism, empathy and the tendency to get over stimulated. Highly sensitive people experience the world, with all its stimuli and triggers, more intensely than people who are not highly sensitive. On the one hand, this involves advantages. As a highly sensitive person (HSP), you connect to nature more, you’re more sensitive to other people’s feelings, you feel genuinely responsible and always strive for harmony. 

But leading an intense, sensitive life has its downsides, too. Especially if you’re not sure how to handle it. The huge antennas of a HSP make them vulnerable, they lose their balance more easily and when they get overstimulated, they can get angry or sad or react with panic. 

Besides, the stimuli don’t just come from other people’s behavior, but also from natural circumstances – like the weather. A heatwave, for instance, brings extra intensity for HSP’s. 

Set boundaries, drink water 

Femke de Grijs, HSP expert, explains how it works. ‘A highly sensitive person may enjoy stimuli like heat and sunrays more intensely, but they may also suffer more from it. Skin disorders, headaches, nausea, trouble concentrating or fainting. It depends on the person, though, we’re all different.’ 

If a highly sensitive person has physical, emotional and/or mental problems, an overdose of sunlight or heat may be the cause. Setting boundaries is very important regarding heat and sunlight. 

But: ‘For some highly sensitive people, that’s hard. They feel guilty when they say no, or they take it personally when someone is affected by their boundaries. For instance, some HSP’s don’t want other people to be disappointed, because they’ll feel disappointed themselves, too.’ 

Focus on your energy

‘In that case, it’s very important for a HSP to learn how to control their sensitivity and focus on themselves and their own energy,’ Femke advises. ‘That makes it easier to set your boundaries without feeling guilty, and leave other people’s problems at their plates.’ 

A good way to stay connected to your own feelings, is by being honest about what’s going on inside your mind and what you wish for. ‘For instance, say: “I’m having a hard time handling the heat, so I would like to go grocery shopping at night, when it’s colder.’ 

Highly sensitive persons tend to drink too little water. On hot days, we should drink at least two liters of water (at an ambient temperature) to hydrate the body. Femke: ‘The most important tip is to take good care of yourself. There’s no golden rule, every HSP is unique. The key for person A isn’t necessarily the key for person B. Taking good care of yourself is, especially as a HSP, always job number one.’ 

Text: Eline Hoffman - Photo: Bruno van der Kraan