What were you doing in 2011?
Oh, me? I was taking a stab at psychotherapy for the very first time, and feeling very impatient about the whole process. The thing about therapy--like most things that actually work--is that it's not a bandaid or quick fix to your personal problems. Even if you’ve been going to therapy for several weeks, you’ll probably still be feeling pretty crappy.
So how do you “take the edge off” in a more immediate way as you’re going down the super long road of recovery and healing?
My strategy was simple. While my therapist worked with me on emotional scars and getting through an ugly break-up with my narcissistic ex, I devised a plan to alleviate the more immediate physical symptoms of stress: the insomnia, muscle tension, headaches, and nausea.
And to be totally honest, I felt more confident and in control when I was able to take action and help myself in this very physical way.
Stress is physical. Therefore, you can always do something about it.
I approached this as an experiment. Every day, I took my body on a different adventure. I ran, hiked, walked next to the ocean. I drank lots of tea, did ashtanga and anusara and bikram yoga, and stretched before bed. I window-shopped and browsed the farmers market, bringing home the occasional bouquet of flowers or fragrant meyer lemons. I factored in my interests, preferences, and experience as a healthcare professional.
After months of playful trial-and-error, I found a formula that worked, and I want to share it with you.
I've used this formula to keep my body resilient as I recovered from depression, navigated break-ups, adapted to new jobs and new homes, coped with burnout, and dealt with the overstimulation of urban living.
I love this formula because it helps me identify concrete things I can do right now to deal with stress and burnout--even when I'm not quite ready or able to process all the emotional stuff just yet.
Talking things out is necessary and good when it's the right time for it, but if you're an INFJ like me, you probably want to keep your wounds to yourself when they're the most raw. So it's a relief to use these self-care strategies and start healing myself right away, without having to be vulnerable in front of friends or family before I'm ready.
Highly sensitive people are also impacted by both positive and negative experiences more acutely than others, so I suspect that's another reason why this formula worked so well for me: it helps you to increase physiological experiences that promote a healthy body, while decreasing the experiences that overstimulate or otherwise hurt the body.
In short, these 4 self-care strategies are introvert and HSP-friendly.
Want to try this formula for yourself? Join my free Self-Care Challenge by signing up below, and I’ll guide you through each of the 4 self-care strategies in detail so you can start healing your body from stress and burnout right away.
I've customized this challenge for my fellow sensitive introverts, because self-care is not one-size-fits-all.
I hope you'll get as much out of these self-care strategies as I have. I know you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed, burnt out, or stressed right now, but I'll help you to start feeling better, from the outside in. We'll do this together, one step at a time.