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there are lots of types of sensitives here planetside.  here at the dreaming otter, we believe that those of us courageous enough to incarnate in our evolutionary times (and those who find their way here) might identify as a highly sensitive person (HSP), intuitive, starseed, or empath.

these terms overlap in some ways, and are their own distinct worlds in others – HSP is different than empath is different than starseed is different than intuitive.   regardless, it’s lovely to feel seen, and know that no matter how gifted, sensitive, tender, or on a mission we are, we are not alone.


perhaps instead of trying to ‘heal our gifts away,’ we can learn that we’re built a little differently than other folks, and begin to take the special care we need to, as sensitive creatures on an intense planet.


if you feel like a sensitive, you might peruse the characteristics below, which tend to resonate for HSPs, empaths, intuitives, or starseeds.  long lists can sometimes feel overwhelming for sensitives, so I’ll add in some images to help soothe our systems.  thanks, mother nature, for such beauty!


  • YOU FEEL DEEPLY:  you feel everything very, very deeply, and dwell on ‘what went wrong,’ even when everything else is great
  • YOU FEEL ALL OF IT: not only do you feel your own feelings deeply, you feel everyone else’s in the room, whether you like it or not
  • DOWN TIME IS KEY: you need more alone time or ‘down time’ than other folks seem to, and time to recover daily is essential
  • YOU THINK DEEPLY & MOVE SLOWLY:  you truly contemplate every situation, and need time to respond and express yourself
  • CHANGE CAN FEEL TOUGH: change can feel both wonderful and exciting…and can also feel scary and overwhelming


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  • HARSH ENERGY, OUCH! violence, hurtful words, abuse, and cruelty are literally intolerable – witnessing can cause physical pain
  • PERFECTIONISM: criticism or harsh words are like acid, and you may have perfectionist tendencies to avoid these experiences
  • YOU HAVE A RICH INNER LIFE: you’re creative, gifted, talented, imaginative, brilliant, and have an amazingly rich inner world
  • OTHERS DON’T GET IT: you’ve been told you need a ‘thicker skin’ or ‘take things to personally’ or ‘just need to toughen up’
  • OVERSTIMULATION IS A THING: crowds of people, loud noises, bright lights, and intense stimulation are way too much


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  • SELF-REGULATING FEELS BAFFLING: you often feel ‘fried’ and overstimulated, and are unsure as to how to ‘come down’ and relax
  • YOU WANT TO HELP: you feel a powerful need to serve, help, and make things better for any being in pain or distress
  • PEOPLE LIKE BEING AROUND YOU: you’re frequently praised for being kind, helpful, calming, and uplifting for others
  • YOU NEED LARGER PURPOSE: your life needs to have meaning, and your heart is unhappy if you’re not making the world better


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  • YOU’RE AN OLD SOUL: if you’re a starseed, you’ve heard this all your life.  you hold a lot of wisdom, and have been here before
  • YOU’RE DRAWN TO THE UNSEEN: if you’re a starseed, working with spirit, the divine, and the numinous is like catnip – a ‘have to’
  • YOU FEEL LIKE YOU DON’T BELONG: if you’re a starseed, you may feel baffled by humans, in addition to your high sensitivity
  • YOU LOVE CRYSTALS & STONES: if you’re a starseed, you probably love crystals, gems, and stones, and connect easily with them
  • YOU FEEL & SENSE ENERGY: if you’re a starseed, you may remember seeing/feeling/sensing energies that others couldn’t
  • YOU NEED TO ‘DO IT YOUR OWN WAY:’ if you’re a starseed, you’re probably a wayshower, innovator, teacher, or visionary
  • YOU SEEK YOUR TRIBE: if you’re a starseed, you may have a strong call to find other folks ‘who get it’ and resonate as you do


are you feeling seen?  there are tons of other signposts for the sensitive, empathic, or starseeded creature to steer by – people think you tend to be unusual, you cry easily, animals and children love you, low blood sugar and heat affect you a lot, you’d rather saw off a foot than deal with conflict, etc.  google about…and come play at the dreaming otter.


as sensitives, we’re not alone!  there are lots of us, and we can learn how to take good care of ourselves.


here’s a basic self-care list for consideration or sensitives, starseeds, intuitives, empaths – these things help everyone, but really (!) support the sensitive soul in a world that can feel too intense or harsh to be in.  above all, please take the very best care of yourself, even if what you need doesn’t make sense to others.


you are beautiful, brilliant, special, loved, and deserve the best care.


happy reminder: sensitives can get overwhelmed easily.  this isn’t a list of ‘oh, great, now I need to add a million self-care things and I already feel overwhelmed’ but instead a menu of ‘hmm, what one thing might feel good today,’ with a cheerful ‘nope!’ to the rest.  with pretty pictures (twinkle).  may these serve you, sensitive friends:


  • WATER: being in water – long baths with bath salts and candles and no other stimulus can restore our nervous systems
  • HUMANS: who you’re around matters a LOT.  complaining, angry folks are toxic.  calm, positive, kind people are like sunshine
  • BEAUTY: beauty matters.  whatever your aesthetic, surround yourself with colors, art, and objects that feel safe, happy, and cozy
  • NATURE: time in nature is absolutely essential, daily or at the very least weekly.  forests, lagoons, oceans, prairies, deserts…yes!
  • SLEEP: sleep is vital.  eye masks, earplugs, zero screens 2 hours before bed, and a daily review to release the day are key


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  • SELF EXPRESSION: painting, weaving, sewing, scrapbooking, drawing, crafting, collage, singing, coloring, dancing = manna
  • USE YOUR SACRED NO: if this is super hard, practice makes better.  consider ‘that doesn’t feel right for me’ or ‘thanks, and no’
  • FIND OTHER SENSITIVES: connecting with folks who understand is amazing.  we get it.  we honor each other.  this feels like home.
  • SPIRIT + ENERGY WORK: meditation, prayer, journeywork, reiki, qi gong, labyrinths, positive thoughts, tapping – find what works
  • ANIMALS ARE GOOD MEDICINE: most animals are fully present and love without condition, complexity, or demand.  go adopt!


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  • PLANTS, PLANTS, PLANTS: organic shapes help sensitives, raise the qi in a space, and anchor beauty and peace
  • PROTEIN BEFORE BED: if you wake at night with racing thoughts, consider a small protein before sleep, to regulate blood sugar
  • VOLUNTEER: probably, you want to help and serve.  offering your time (in a way that’s safe for you) can be rewarding and sweet
  • SIESTAS ARE LOVELY: take small breaks to rest and reset in the day, like 15 minutes to read a book, nap, sit in the garden
  • CLUTTER BEGONE: as visual stimuli matter so much to sensitives, finding the decluttering method that works for you is treasure
  • ORGANIC, ORGANIC, ORGANIC: a compassionate act for self and planet – and much less for sensitive nervous systems to process


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  • KNOW THYSELF: most sensitives, empaths, and starseeds struggled a lot before learning who and what they are.  research helps!
  • WIRED NOISE CANCELLING HEADPHONES:  a literal lifesaver, these can block most sounds that fray sensitive nervous systems
  • EXERCISE: sensitive nervous systems have a lot to navigate, and endorphins can help a lot.  walking is gentle, with nature to boot!
  • SUGAR, CAFFEINE, ALCOHOL: all of these affect our wiring more than most folks realize, especially sensitives.  reduce or release
  • PERSONAL RETREAT: an actual life-saving technology for every sensitive, empath, or starseed.  (this is my specialty! please email…)


there are tons of other tips and tricks to navigate as a sensitive and special creature – music as state change, essential oils, avoiding synthetic chemicals at all costs, learn to clear the energy of your living space, cultivating joy and have fun like a little kid, digital detox, etc.  same invitation as above – google about…and come play at the dreaming otter, where folks get it, and are kind with each other.

it took me a long time and lot of hardship to understand that I’m a highly sensitive, empathic, intuitive starseed, differently gifted than other folks, and I need particular tools to take care of myself.  self-care is ever-evolving, and if any of this resonates, I’d love to lend you a helping paw as you figure out what works for you.  there are sessions, ongoing support packages, women’s circles, and workshops at the dreaming otter to resource you, and if you’d like to chat about it all, please send me an email.


if you identify with anything here, you are a gift to creation.  please take good care, and know how loved, cherished, and beautiful you are.




ps – do you know one or two folks who would benefit from receiving the dreaming otter articles and tips on living a magical life?  if yes, please encourage them to subscribe to the email list here.  I would be so grateful – thanks!