The INFJ personality is one of deep feeling and caring for others. We always put others first. We are our friends and family’s counselor, always seeking to take care of everyone else’s problems. But what about us? How many of us actually take time for ourselves? It’s oh so very important for so many reasons.
You Can Do It All
“You can do it all!” How many times have you heard this? “You can have kids and a career and go to school and take care of your household and volunteer and host parties!” We have been taught that women are more like superwomen than actual people.
For many years I went to college and worked two jobs, not because I wanted to, but because I had to. I had to do it in order to pay my rent. Even after I was in a better place financially, I still found myself with a long list of things to do. I don’t like to say no to people. I’m always afraid if I do say no, they won’t like me. Or worse yet, I’ll miss an opportunity to be a part of something good.
The problem with saying yes all the time is that you get tied up doing so many things that you don’t have time for yourself. We become so afraid of saying no or missing out on something that we end up missing out on a life that we chose.
Where does this idea that we have to do so much come from? A lot of people will tell you it’s social media. I agree with that to an extent, but it’s more for me. I’ve always had this idea in my head of how my life should be. I’ve gone to some pretty lengthy extents to make those dreams happen, but I’m still not there. I’ve had to come to the realization, a few times, that it may never be how I think it should be.
I’m such a people pleaser that there have been a couple of times in my life where I have had to take a step back and really look at what I was doing and why. When I was about 23 years old I was a part of a very conservative church. I played a big part there. It was a huge part of my life. But I woke up one day and realized I was doing a bunch of things, not because I believed I should, but because other people had told me I should, and I didn’t want to disappoint them. I was miserable.
It was very hard for me to walk away from that situation, but I knew that I had to leave in order to make different choices. I was exhausted, physically and mentally. I needed a break. I was looking for happiness in doing so many things and coming up very short.
“I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” ― Steve Jobs
Chose to Do Less
Part of the restorative process is taking a look at yourself and figuring out what works best for you. It can be hard to take a step back and say “is this activity really necessary in my life? Is it bringing me joy and fulfillment?” If the answer is no, it’s time to let it go. It’s a hard thing to say no to friends when they are going out or family when they want more than you can give. But it’s important to set these boundaries.
Why it’s important
Self-care is a fairly new concept for me. I’m all about taking care of other people, but the concept of putting myself first at times felt really selfish at first. But I learned that taking care of me helps me to take care of others. You have to decide that you are worth it, that you deserve it, that making time for you is just as important as making time for everyone else.
As the saying goes “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” This is true for us as well. We can only give so much before we are empty. As INFJs we get worn out easily from being around people, too many people and for too long. I also get worn out from too many ideas that are not in line with my own. I’ve learned that I need space and freedom to think my own thoughts. It’s important for us to recharge, so we have something to give. It’s essential really. I’m basically non-functional without “me time.”
What is self-care anyway? I define it as doing things that make me happy. I love to take baths. So every night when I come home from work I take a nice hot bath. I have bubble and Epsom salts to make it even more luxurious. I also am completely in love with my bed. It is the most comfortable place I know of. I have super comfy blankets and extra pillows. It’s my favorite place really. You can find me there on a Saturday afternoon taking a nice, long nap.
Another way I practice self-care is spending time with my friends. I love to go out to dinner with them and explore restaurants. One of my friends insists on making plans at least 48 hours in advance. At first I thought she was a little fussy, but she explained to me that is something she does for her self-care. She doesn’t like last minute changes in her schedule. She needs time to plan. So she makes sure that she schedules things at least 2 days out. It makes perfect sense now!
Live the Life You Want to Live
A lot of times we get caught up living someone else’s life. Whether it’s listening to their advice when it’s not right for us, buying things we don’t need just to fit in with a certain group or extending ourselves too far because we think that we should. It’s important to make sure that the choices we make are what we want and not what someone else wants for us. You’ll be so much happier when you eliminate all of the extras!
Decide that you are worth it and take time for yourself. Do things that make you happy. Recharge your batteries on a regular basis. When doing these things you’ll find that you have much more to give!
Take a nap
Watch your favorite movie or TV show
Take a hot bath
Go for a walk outside
Take a yoga class
Spend time with friends
Spend time doing a hobby you love
Cook your favorite meal
Treat yourself to a day at the spa