and how you can, too
In the last couple of years, self-care has become a priority for me. Arguably, it is the number 1 most important thing in my life.
The chain of events leading up to started in late 2014/early 2015. I had struggled in my job before that but, around this time, after working really hard that year, I was fed up, frustrated & unfulfilled.
I was unhappy at work. It just so happened that work took up a lot of hours in the day, so this wasn't ideal.
I left to study a Masters, and figure out what I was going to do after that year ended. Alongside the Masters, I gave 'doing my own thing' a go, for the first time.
That particular year was a pivotal year. I moved away from the industry I'd been in for nearly 5 years, which was a major upheaval in itself. I started doing a career-changers' course, which only added to the self-reflection I had been doing for years. And I tried to do my own thing, not really knowing what on earth I was doing and putting a lot of pressure on myself to make "it" succeed, whatever "it" was. Of course, being a service for young people, I was putting ridiculous amounts of unrealistic expectations on myself to come up with the perfect one-size-fits-all solution for every young person.
Anyhow, the Masters came to an end and it became pretty apparent that the business thing wasn't working - it felt too complicated, too much work for one person, and add that to all the doubts and expectations I had. It was a hot mess.
I felt broken. Back at square one. Like I had no idea what I was doing with my life... again
My mum persuaded me to see a psychiatrist after she could see I wasn't acting like myself. He got me to fill out some forms and told me I had some mild depression & anxiety.
I didn't believe him at the time. I also didn't feel like myself, so I was ready to try something - anything - to make me feel better.
So began therapy and self-exploration. Of all the self-help and psychology reading I'd done, none of it could quite prepare me for opening up in therapy.
It felt good to, for once in my life, to start opening up and sharing my thoughts, my feelings, my doubts and concerns.
But therapy aside, somewhere around this time I realised just how important managing my energy was.
Little things which added up to create BIG impact. Like who I spent my time with.
How much socialising I did, and with who.
Having an outlet to express myself, and get my thoughts & feelings out.
Keeping my sleep and nutrition in check.
Working on my friendships and, even, starting to look for a relationship and navigate that whole world.
Not wrapping my entire self-worth and identity into my "work" and "achievements". (I think I learnt to do this from a young age, and the praise I got from teachers & parents only helped reinforce this feedback loop).
All of this stuff can largely be put under a self-care bracket. To me, self-care is so important. For all of us, and especially for us INFPs and INFJs, being sensitive introverts who - I feel - it is more necessary to design our lives the way WE want, in order for us to feel satisfied and happy.
SELF-CARE = SELF-AWARENESS + ACTIONS to take care of self.
This might be yoga or meditation.
It might be going to the gym or otherwise moving every day.
It might mean getting enough sleep.
It might mean consciously cultivating friendships that are GOOD for us.
It might mean working in a job that lets us be creative, be expressive, and in control of our time and energy.
It might mean making time for our art.
It might mean making time to do activities that we find nourishing and meaningful.
All of these things are self-care.
I really hope to share more on each of these things going forward, and talk a little more about how I put this self-care stuff into practise.
If you haven't prioritised your own self-care as yet, I'd really recommend it. And for us sensitive souls, this is especially important.
Whether you realise it or not, how you are managing your day, how you are spending your time, how you are taking care of yourself, is really really important.
For me, getting into a rut and a place where I felt eugh - burnt out, stressed, confused, overwhelmed, all that stuff, made me step back and address some of the things I needed to.
Self-care is my #1 priority. There's no 2 ways about it. I encourage you to lean more into your own self-care; think about what it means to you, & how you can feel better nourished & energised as you go through your day or your week.
photo: a kind bear (Instagram)
Subscribe to INF Club
Subscribe to the newsletter and unlock access to member-only content.