frustrated woman
Focus Pocus/Fotolia
Source: Focus Pocus/Fotolia

Want to know one of my biggest challenges I've faced? It's not the giant move I just did, packing up all of my city life stuff. Nor the head-spinning logistics of getting organized in a ridiculously short amount of time.

No, the most difficult thing of all is that in the process of moving house, I gave up the house I was renting and have temporarily moved into a tiny one-bedroom basement suite. I'm briefly living in a very small space with an extravert for a roommate.

At least I know that I'm a highly sensitive (HSP) introvert, and could anticipate what was coming. I knew that for this (thankfully) short time period in my life I wouldn't be able to retreat into total silence and privacy as often as I need to.

I'm very happy to report that in more than two weeks things have gone really well, and I haven't had even one single (albeit private, normally) meltdown. Wow.

The secret? My personal arsenal of HSP Introvert survival strategies:

1) Wear noise-blocking headphones

If travelling, I'd be more upset if I'd left my headphones at home than if I'd left behind my makeup case. When I was 19, a study buddy lent me his dad's extra set of Peltor heavy duty ear protectors so that we could both wear them while studying at his house. I've never been without a pair since. I'm wearing them right now.

If I'm ever staying in a little hotel with a loud all-night bar on the first floor (I speak from experience), I get a full night's sleep. Basically any time my personal peace is threatened by an uncontrollably loud outside force, they're the blessed shield between me and the world. Obviously, I prefer not to wear them if possible as my head can get tired of them, but I put them on whenever I have to. The fancy noise-cancelling ones probably work well, too, I've just never tried them.

2) Get sources of noise, invasion and stress behind closed doors

When you personally can't hide behind a closed door but need to do something that requires focus or quiet, see if you can get the source of stress/noise/lack of privacy to move behind one. Just ask nicely, it's usually not a problem at all.

3) Capitalize on alone time when you can get it

When private or quiet time is at a premium, seize it and maximize it when you get it, in order to recharge and get things done.  I've walked past the pile of dirty dishes all morning, since it makes more sense to wash those when I'm not alone, as I don't need to concentrate to do that. Same goes for brainless data-entry-style financial tasks. When things get busy around here in a few hours, I'll be calm and happy as I got a lot of critical stuff done already.

4) Use a practical get-away to escape potentially overwhelming scenes

As a general rule, if there's going to be any kind of loud project involving hammering and the like in or around my living space, I plan to be out of the house during those times.

A very small space amplifies sensitivities, I've found. So these strategies really help!

I'm so much saner and more agreeable to live with than I used to be in a situation like this, thanks to these tried and true tricks. I hope they help you, too!

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