Thursday, May 21, 2015

Dealing with Stress in my Environment

In my post, "Can Personality Cause Stress", I looked at who I am (an introverted, intuitive feeling judging INFJ person) and at what causes me stress. Actually, I was surprised at how many things caused me to feel stressed. Obviously,  I need to learn cope better, so here it goes.

I'll pick the easiest one first -- my environment. As a highly sensitive person (some call us HSP's and most INFJ's are HSP's), I don't do well with noises, whizzing traffic, glaring lights, strong smells, and clutter.

What is a comfortable environment for me?

  • First of all, I work from home which gives me a lot of control over my environment.  Since my children were grown, a couple of years ago I decided to re-certify and apply for Elementary Teaching positions. After ten days of substituting, I was exhausted! I thought if one more kid poked me I would scream! I now understood why only college level teaching is recommended for people like me. I am much happier writing! I learned that I need not only to do work that suits my abilities, but that also has an environment in which I feel comfortable.
  • Quiet. I need quiet. Yes, loud noises nearly put me on the floor, but even the soft buzz of the refrigerator, or the constant drip, drip of a faucet is enough to tire me. Most of the time I don't even play music . I love quiet.
  • I am content to be alone in my quiet room where I can work on my computer. It's not that I don't enjoy being around people, my life centers around helping people, but I simply can't work around them. Writing takes tremendous concentration to form new ideas, and I find that I have to be by myself to be productive. It also takes a great deal of time to create. 
  • Clutter is so tiring! What is clutter to me? Anything that isn't essential. Something that I use everyday, or at least once a week, is essential. A few decorations are essential. Everything else is out in our large garage or attic. Since I've gotten rid of everything we don't use (except for a few keepsakes) there isn't that much which is stored. A beautiful simple space gives me room to breath and think. It is relaxing.
  •  I'm a very strong judging type so I do like what things I have to be in order. Like most intuitives, I don't handle concrete details very well.  That's why I don't want a lot of things to care for around me. Details are tiring. I like things stored neatly behind cupboard doors. Things are distracting. I like to spend my time in the world of thought, not stuck with my head under a bed hunting for something.  
  • I get depressed in dark, dirty places. I need beauty, and light around me. I love sunlight filtering through tree leaves and lovely colors. Like a house plant, I thrive near a window.
  • I have removed  most things I'm allergic to from my home. I say most, because I'm sensitive to petro-chemicals. Have you ever tried to get rid of all plastics!? I did find a bamboo keyboard and mouse and some beautiful glass decorations.
  • I know that scented candles and air fresheners are very popular, but they make me ill. I become tired and get a headache. I do have many allergies which is part of it, but I think it also is just is too much for my sensitive system. 
  • Nature relaxes me and helps me feel at peace. Manicured yards and parks are attractive, but there is something soul refreshing about walking by the river or in the canyon. It is wonderful!
My conclusions?
I think being in my home environment is the best place for me. I enjoy working from my home. I can tutor one-on-one, write blogs, manage our business, and do volunteer work from my home. This is where I am the most productive, creative, and happiest. If I had to work elsewhere, I would need to make my environment like my home; a quiet, beautiful, uncluttered, unscented, place where I can work alone.

I think I'm going to quit feeling that I "should" get out more, it tires me. I'd hate a blaring Rock concert. Even the thought of being at any crowded event, gives me a headache and a sick stomach. I'd much rather happily snuggle in with my husband to watch an old musical video. I' prefer a stroll with my husband instead of riding along when he runs errands. I cringe in malls, but enjoy internet shopping. I get dizzy in traffic, but enjoy the leisurely pace of back roads. I'm just not a freeway type of person. I don't want and can't be the person who rushes around all day, surrounded by other rushing people. I don't thrive in a world of noise, activity, and strong smells and lights; I wilt. I think I'll stay on the shore and just wave as they go rushing by. I'll be here: a lighthouse for when they need me. I'm going to quit trying to be what I can never be and be what God created me to be - a loving, sensitive, idealist. 


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