Do you feel like a human sponge sometimes?
Like... soaking up every emotion and sensation that's around you, whether you want to take it in or not.
And just "knowing" things about the people and places you come in contact with, which often come with tons of painfully heavy baggage and often ends with you being the only person who seems to be able to see through the BS and un-truths.
Plus, don't forget about your OWN baggage! Because let's face it - we don't need anyone else's drama to "spice up" our life because we have more than enough of our own inner turmoil to go around!
Okay, so the last statement is me poking fun at us INFJs and sensitive/intuitive folks a little bit. But I'm also being kinda serious.
For those of us who feel very deeply on a physical, spiritual, and emotional level...
For those of us who live and work in cultures that value extroversion and aggression over our more reflective natures...
For those of us who are weirdly attuned to the suffering in the world...
For those of us who are also weirdly obsessed with wanting to make a positive impact because of all this suffering...
And for those of us who have an old soul and a child-like spirit in the same body, which can get pretty confusing sometimes...
You best believe there are some very particular things we need to do to stay healthy, because we're dealing with some very particular challenges in daily life.
There are certain parts of our personality or way of moving through the world that simply doesn't mesh with many workplaces or social circles. And that's okay.
INFJs are famously known for our deep desire to be "understood", but we actually don't need to be fully understood by others in order to be happy or fulfilled.
What we need is to understand ourselves - our own needs and preferences - so we can contribute our most resilient and authentic self to the world in a way that's irreplaceable.
I've found that every thriving INFJ, empath, or heart-centered introvert I've ever met has integrated the following 7 self-care habits into their daily or weekly life.
These 7 self-care habits can benefit most people, but they're especially powerful and necessary for folks like us. These habits recharge us when we're drained by our social environments, soothe us when we're overstimulated, and strengthen us by appealing to our natural talents.
These are the 7 self-care habits that every healthy INFJ lives by:
1. She carves out alone time.
Duh, right? ;)
We all know that we should do this, but do we actually do it? With the demands of work, the pulls of social obligation, and our own perfectionism when it comes to being the "perfect" friend or "perfect" daughter or "perfect" employee, carving out a healthy chunk of alone time can be tough.
Setting aside some alone time on purpose is what will prevent us from having to cancel plans out of desperation - whether that means calling out sick from work, or flaking on loved ones.
Sooner or later, every introvert on this planet will need to spend time alone for the sake of their own mental health. It's up to you whether you want to carve out that time before you crash... or after.
Plus, this alone time is where a lot of the following self-care habits can happen.
2. She seeks comfortable environments.
I used to think that I was weak for being so easily influenced by my surroundings.
I would startle during the fireworks show on the Fourth of July, get super drained when going to the mall to do last-minute Christmas shopping, and feel anxious or depressed around people who were anxious or depressed! Not fun.
As an adult who's been consciously practicing self-care for years, I now have strategies for protecting my energy in potentially draining situations and I also know that I have the power to choose when, where, and for how long I immerse myself in any environment.
Being sensitive to environmental sensations can be a gift and a powerful tool to support your health - as long as you can identify which environments nourish you the most.
Yes, your surroundings can make you feel stressed out and overstimulated. But they can also make you feel calm, grounded, joyful, strong, and refreshed.
3. She listens to her physical body.
We touchy-feely types (hehe) tend to carry around a ton of stress, untold stories, and trauma in our physical bodies.
One of the challenges of being very cerebral and contemplative is that we sometimes forget to give our bodies the same amount of attention as we do our thoughts.
Not only does emotion get trapped in our tissues and nervous system, but we might also be experiencing emotions that yearn to be expressed in a physical way. Maybe through dancing, kicking the sh*t out of a punching bag, or running 5 miles.
Our physical body is trying to process our physical and emotional experiences, all day every day. The healthy INFJ knows how to give her body what it needs in order to make sense of, express, or process out all the stories we experience.
4. She eats nourishing food.
This one overlaps a little bit with what we just talked about. After all, listening to your body is mandatory if you want to figure out what types of food are truly nourishing for you - or not.
Food is a really complex subject. For our purposes, focus on how food can support you in feeling your physical best, without sacrificing the pleasure and culture that's associated with most foods we like to eat.
I mean, I see those meal prep photos on Instagram, with the bland steamed veggies and bland grilled white meat chicken... and I don't know about you, but I kind of throw up in my mouth a little, just imagining how BORING every meal must be. That's not nourishing to me. It might be "healthy", but it's not satisfying.
The point is, most folks who read this will have these things in common: we're more sensitive to how food makes us feel compared to the average Jane, we're also more senstive to the effects of NOT eating enough food, and we value the cultural/social aspects of food.
The best meals are the ones that make both our bodies and our emotions happy!
5. She reflects.
Unlike extroverts, we introverts do our best reflection when we're alone. It always boggles my mind when extroverts "think out loud" - how does one do that?! - but different strokes for different folks. We're just wired to process information differently.
The healthy introvert allows herself to indulge in the big questions of life. I mean, HELLO, we call ourselves introverts because we love introspection!
It's the most natural thing in the world for us to wonder about our purpose, how to make things better, how to promote social justice, why history unfolded as it did, where we want to be 5 years from now, how to bring our next big idea to life... and it goes on and on.
This time for reflection is so important because it's energizing and restorative to do something that comes this naturally to you, and it's one of the best ways to make sure your daily life is aligned with what's most meaningful to you.
Because I know how painful it can be for most INFJs to feel misaligned, unfulfilled, or purposeless in life.
6. She creates things for fun.
Making stuff is fun. Innovation is fun. Art is fun. Being creative is fun.
Do you ever wonder why you feel so "in the flow" while you're playing the ukelele, doodling in your bullet journal, knitting cat ear beanies, or writing your manifesto on how to achieve world peace?
It feels so good to work on creative projects because engaging with the creative process is how you live into several of your values, such as purpose, beauty, growth, spirituality, and playfulness. Better yet, it's pretty safe to go all-out on expressing these values in the container of creativity, because it's "just for fun".
And in a culture that values an aggressive, analytical, competitive, and masculine version of success, we've gotta live into our values where we can. Dreamers unite!
7. She allows for white space or spontaneity in her schedule.
Finally, the healthy INFJ makes space for... space!
Creating space in your schedule is a pre-requisite for creating space in your mind, your attention, and your heart for new possibilities - and for REST!
We all have periods of our life that make us feel like we're in a rat race, and we have literally no time or energy to course-correct or even breathe. These are the moments that disconnect us from ourselves.
White space is an essential ingredient for deep reflection. It's an essential ingredient for accessing intuition. It's an essential ingredient for processing emotions.
Allowing for white space is such an important foundational self-care habit because it gives us the room to pay attention to what we need in the moment, and then respond accordingly.
I'm curious: which of these 7 self-care habits do you need to reconnect with the most right now?
Self-care is not created equal: there's no one way to do self-care that will work for every heart-centered introvert on the planet.
But these 7 habits are definitely a good place to start because they give you a concrete strategy, but without dictating exactly how self-care should look like for you. There's room to customize and personalize.
If you want to go deeper on how these 7 self-care habits can look like for YOU specifically, you might be interested in "7 Keys to Creating an At-Home Retreat That Soothes & Strengthens the Introvert’s Body, Mind, and Spirit".
This free guide to creating a one-day at-home retreat will teach you how to infuse your retreat with each of the 7 self-care habits described in this blog post, in a way that works for YOU. Yep, you can do EVERYTHING described in this blog post in just one day.
I'll show you how.
Get access to "7 Keys to Creating An At-Home Retreat That Soothes & Strengthens the Introvert’s Body, Mind, and Spirit" by requesting access to the Resource Library. Just submit your info below.