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Self-Care Strategies for the Enneagram Types

IMG_1690With Valentine’s Day around the corner, many of us are thinking of the people we care about. Those who are in romantic relationships may have their eyes on special dates and gifts for their partners. Parents with school-age children are picking out paper valentines to be handed out to classmates. Love is in the air, but one frequent omission in this time of romance and connection is love for ourselves.

Whether you’re single or in a relationship, it’s easy to get swept up in the demands and stimulations of the world around us. Most of us forget to take the time to care for our own needs. Even introspective types can find it challenging to care for themselves as kindly as they would for another. Yet self-care is vital for feeling and performing at our best and truly connecting with our loved ones.

The ways in which we neglect self-care vary based on our Enneagram type. Here are some ways for each personality type to care for themselves, for Valentine’s Day and beyond.

Type One: While Ones excel at doing things with care, fun often falls by the wayside. Take yourself out on a date! Find something delightful and zany that you’ve always wanted to try. Now’s the time to try it out. Grant yourself a time for exploration – a judgment-free zone to play. Allow yourself to take in the richness of the new experience, much as you’d enjoy a thrilling first date.  

Type Two: Twos can be so busy focusing on others’ needs that they overlook their own, and “me time” is a phrase that’s used by this type more often than it’s understood. It doesn’t have to mean bubble baths (though they’re great); in your case, a radical form of self-care is a break from helping. Set yourself a day during which you aren’t allowed to help others, and focus on a personal goal.

Type Three: Threes are great at achieving things, but can lose touch with their desires as they craft a public image. Take some time to yourself to reflect and connect with your heart. Creativity and journaling can help with this. When no one’s around, what do you like to do? What makes you happy? Let yourself do it, and let what you’ve learned about yourself spill over into your day-to-day life.

Type Four: Introspective Fours connect well with their emotions, but can miss out on external sources of joy. Paradoxically, connecting with the external world is one of the best ways to show self-care. Find a cause you care about or a person who needs your help. Challenge yourself to be of service beyond your usual sphere of interaction, and enjoy the sense of meaning that results.  

Type Five: Fives care for themselves through alone time, but find it challenging to take needed practical action. You know that thing you’ve thought about over and over again but haven’t started? Maybe it seems impossible, illogical, or terrifying. For self-care, take the first step in doing it. Jump in. Allow yourself to not have a plan, to not have it all worked out. Take the next step and keep going.    

Type Six: Sixes have a gift for dealing with details, but can get caught up in worry and overworking. Give yourself a break and do something relaxing. The aforementioned bubble bath is a good one for you, as are other activities you enjoy that calm mind and body. Don’t allow yourself to think or talk about work while doing this. This is relaxation time. Be in the moment and savor it.

Type Seven: Sevens excel at infusing their lives with adventure, but tend to be distractible. You have a lot on the go, so the perfect self-care step is to focus. Find something that needs to be done that you’ve been putting off or distracting yourself from. Set yourself a time where you do it until it’s complete. Bring play into the task, such as listening to fun music while cleaning.

Type Eight: Eights are great at getting results, but don’t always think to recover from the energy they expend. You’re a busy person, so an ideal self-care move is to schedule some quiet time. Meditate, sit in nature, or spend time with an interesting book. No loud music, TV shows, or “doing” allowed! Spend time taking in the quiet and rest that surrounds you. See what it feels like.     

Type Nine: Nines are gifted at creating relaxation, but find it tough to get out of their comfort zone and be seen. Give yourself an opportunity to shine in a way you’ve always wanted to. Whether it’s performing onstage, scoring goals, or cooking an outstanding meal, do something you’re good at in a setting that invites recognition. Enjoy the feeling of excelling and connecting with your gifts.