When stress hits, do you: lose focus, go into control mode, or say yes to anything that needs to be done? We all have a stress personality: An identity in the way we deal with the drudge.
At meQuilibrium, we’ve identified five stress personality types: Adventurer, Caregiver, Optimist, Problem Solver, and Regulator. These types determine how you cope with stress—and what you need to be at your best.
Here’s a personalized self-care plan suited specifically to each of the meQuilibrium personalities. Use your type’s strategies to recharge, recenter, and build a powerful buffer against stress:
You’re energized by: Exploration of ideas, places, and new experiences.
You’re drained by: Monotony, tedious tasks, and staying in one place for too long.
Your self-care plan: Centers on grounding practices that will pull you back to the present moment:
- Find stillness: Hone your energy and attention with grounding activities, such as yoga or meditation.
- Practice presence: Build a practice of being present with what you’re feeling in the moment—even if it’s boredom. Do this by taking a moment to notice your surroundings, the sounds, and colors; or by pausing to take several deep breaths.
- Reframe the required: Find small ways to infuse joy and wonder into the minutiae that bogs you down. It can be as simple as creating a game out of your chores or trying a new and exciting recipe.
- Fuel your curiosity: Join a hobby group to meet new people, plan an exciting weekend trip, or take on a new creative project, like blogging or crafting. Nourish your energy by creating opportunities for it to soar.
You’re energized by: Being others’ go-to person.
You’re drained by: Feeling overworked and/or underappreciated.
Your self-care plan: Emphasizes showing up for yourself (which will allow you to show up better for others):
- Build awareness: Practice becoming aware of your stress before it escalates. Do a body scan to determine where you hold tension in your body.
- Take inventory: Track your energy to ensure you are filling your tank, not just emptying it. Make time for the activities that are personally fulfilling. Whether it’s dancing, running, journaling—any release that’s just for you.
- Set boundaries: For example, say “no” with love, reminding yourself that people who respect you will respect your boundaries too (and may respect you even more for setting them!).
- Let others in: When you need it, allow others to show you the same support you offer them. Be honest with your trusted people about your needs. Letting others in and asking for help enables them to feel closer to you and can actually strengthen your relationships.
You’re energized by: Positive people, experiences, and outlooks.
You’re drained by: Things not working out…or when others tell you it won’t.
Your self-care plan: Focuses on acceptance of all feelings, even when the stress and negativity dims your light:
- Vent: Find an outlet for your discouragement. Allow yourself to vent into a journal or to a trusted friend.
- Be honest: Be true to yourself (and others) about how you’re actually feeling…even if it’s not happy or positive. While your positive energy may draw people to you and lift them up, it’s human (and healthy!) to feel a full range of emotions, and you can allow others the chance to lift you up, too.
- Be a realistic optimist: When you’re ready, you can leverage your positive attitude to plan for the future. Create an If/Then plan (a Plan “B”) to prepare for the unexpected, while remaining optimistic about your ability to manage the outcome. This outlook—termed “realistic optimism”—is a way to leverage your strengths while protecting your energy in the long run.
You’re energized by: Creating solutions to challenging problems.
You’re drained by: Roadblocks and feeling “stuck” for too long.
Your self-care plan: Centers on slowing down and shifting perspective:
- Stay present: Shift your focus from the problem to the present. For example, your friend may need you to listen, rather than find a solution, and perhaps that problem at work can wait until tomorrow.
- Zoom out: Use your creativity and inquisitive thinking to zoom out on the big picture and tune into the perspectives of those around you.
- Get grateful: Practice accepting things as they are. Make a daily gratitude practice, such as writing 3 great things, to foster contentment. Rather than asking what could be improved, ask, “What is exactly fine just the way it is?”
- Savor the good: Seek the good in others without trying to fix or improve them. You can always find problems when you look for them, but you can find contentment, too.
You’re energized by: Stability, control, and predictable outcomes.
You’re drained by: Disorder, uncertainty, and a lack of control.
Your self-care plan: Targets letting go of control:
- Create safety: When you fear that you don’t have control of a situation, remind yourself that you are still safe. You can use a mantra, such as, “I will be okay, regardless of the outcome,” or “I don’t have to have it together all the time.”
- Take risks: Build comfort with vulnerability by creating space to let loose and make low-stakes mistakes. Try a dance or improv class, for example, or make spontaneous plans without thinking them all the way through.
- Express yourself: Give yourself permission to express what you’re feeling in the moment, honestly and openly. Vulnerability involves showing up exactly as you are in the moment. This takes courage, self-compassion, and practice. The more you do it, the easier it gets. And the payoff is worth it: Studies show that people tend to find you more likable when you reveal your flaws and vulnerabilities. So trust your instincts and act candidly. You can always revise the plan later.