Embracing Self-Care: Personality & knowing your needs

I loved the great response last week when I wrote the intro for this series. Not only do blog comments make me happy, but the truth is that it really helps knowing that I'm not alone in my need for taking a good look at how well I take care of myself. Today we venture into figuring out what our needs are, based on our personalities and the season of life we're in. I hope you'll join me in this valuable self-assessment.  ESC_GGH

Only in the last few months did I discover my Meyers-Briggs personality type. It has been eye-opening to say the least.

I can distinctly remember a time when my childhood best friend bringing a book about personality types to the campground where my family was staying trying to quiz everyone on their personality types. This was probably during our college years, and I was thoroughly uninterested. I took Psychology 101 as a general ed requirement, but literally don't remember learning anything that I found valuable.

I glossed over personality types like most science-related topics-- I just didn't care enough to see what it was all about.

Fast-forward 10-15 years, one marriage, and three kids later, and I can't get enough of analyzing the personalities of myself and my family. It's not about feeling pigeonholed or claiming my weaknesses as cop-out for responsibility or valuing psychology and science over God the Creator.

No, it's quite the opposite actually.

Figuring out my personality has allowed me to embrace how God made me, identify strengths that I can embrace and weaknesses that I can work around and through, and praise Him once again for His amazing creativity and the intricacies of the human mind that He spoke into being.

So, what personality type am I, and what does it have to do with self-care?

A huge part of taking care of myself so I can take care of others is knowing my own needs. Being aware of what makes me come alive, what drains me, and maybe why I'm wired to react or respond in certain ways equips me to be able to set boundaries and take better care of myself.

personality and self-care

I myself am an ENFP. Here are a few ways I've been learning about how my personality relates to my self-care needs:

  • Supposedly, I know how to relax. So now I just need to embrace that, and not feel guilty about "scheduling in" some down time for myself (like my friend Stacy did, and my friend Anne, who schedules in an hour of reading for herself each day).
  • Saying yes. ENFPs are very sensitive and care deeply about other people’s feelings. This can cause them a lot of stress sometimes: people often look to them for guidance and encouragement, and the ENFP cannot always say “yes.” This probably contributes to my bad case of FOMO. I never want to miss anything and I want to make sure everyone else feels good. I probably need to try saying "no" a bit more often.
  • Difficulty with follow through: this is the biggee. I chose my word for the year before I even knew this was a known issue for ENFPs-- I've always known that I'm a procrastinator with lots of unfinished projects-- but now I feel a bit better better, knowing this is just a part of who I am. Now I can be more intentional about fighting against that.
  • Of course, related to that is: I'm curious, enthusiastic and full of ideas. I just need to harness those, and implement doable plans to keep going with them, and to keep things interesting. Accountability is good for me, too.
  • Routine (with margin!)People with the ENFP personality type lose interest quickly if their project shifts toward routine, administrative matters. They may not be able to stop their mind from wandering off. ENFPs loathe being micromanaged or restrained by rules and guidelines. They want to be seen as highly independent individuals, masters of their own fates. Even though it's hard for me, I need a schedule routine rhythm that keeps me on track but also leaves room for spontaneity, and creativity, and rest.

Practically speaking, here's how I'm going to focus on meeting my own ENFP-ish needs:

  • Usually, I can fill up my rest tank by reading. That means giving myself 30-60 minutes of reading time during the day energizes me to persevere through the afternoon/evening witching hour.
  • Really consider whether I want to say "yes" or "no" when opportunities present themselves.
  • Along with that one, I need to create/stick to a doable rhythm that leaves room for margin so that I'm not overscheduled-- I'm in a pretty good groove with this type of framework right now, just need to be more intentional about the margin part. I borrowed Managing My Day to Day from the Kindle lending library and I'm hoping this is a good tool for me.
  • Write down ideas and goals- I'm loving the WorkFlowy app, and I also use Evernote to keep track of things. Recently I started Voxing myself verbal notes, although I need to go back in and revisit those, rather than forget about them.

Also of note, I'm an extravert for sure, but motherhood has pushed me more towards the middle of the spectrum, and I definitely need alone time to chill (and take a break from the needs of those little people in my life). For this reason, every afternoon includes naps for the little ones and "quiet play time" for Gigi where she spends some time occupying herself alone (in my room usually), and I get to tidy up, eat in peace some days, rest, read, or work.

*I learned about SMART goals from a book I'm reading, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine-- SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.  This book is really timely for me, and I'll share more about it when I finish.

If you don't know your Meyers-Briggs personality type, you can find out here for free in 10-15 minutes.

You can visit the other Embracing Self-Care hosts today, too!

Their individual posts for today's topic will be linked up in the linky, or you can view their whole series by clicking the links below.

Beth at Red & Honey

Emily at Live Renewed

Erin at The Humbled Homemaker

Krissa at More Than Mundane

Mindy at This Crazy Wonderful Life

Stacy at The Delightful Home

Leigh Ann from Intentional Grace

Taking a little while to analyze how God made you, and how to best meet your own needs does not mean you are purely navel-gazing or being selfish. I'd love to know in the comments what your MB type is if you know it! What's one thing you've learned about yourself recently?

And now it's your turn! I can't wait to see what you guys share about knowing yourself and your needs.

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