Wholistic Self-Care for Introverts

Being an introvert in our fast paced world can be downright exhausting! Keep reading for some of my favorite self care tips and tricks to keep your cup full!

(This post contains affiliate links)

 
Wholistic Self Care for Introverts with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story | Use Essential oils, intentional rest and activity, and healthy eating habits to refresh yourself
 

Over the weekend, I was in tears by 9am. You see, the previous two weeks had been going, going, going with wonderful but extremely social events every single day, and I am an introvert. Out of curiosity, I conducted an informal survey of my instagram followers and found that 90% of them identified themselves as introverts, too, and we had some wonderful conversations about the challenges of keeping our cups full in a social and fast paced world. You see, the reality for introverts is that if we don’t take time for self care, time to recharge between events and gatherings, then we can go a little crazy. This is how I devolved to a puddle of tears over the thought of taking my own (relatively well behaved and easily bribed with fruit leather) children to the grocery store on Saturday morning while Hubster attended a networking event. In the wake of my meltdown, I took some focused time for self-care, and I wanted to share some of my favorite tips with y’all as well.

What Is to Introversion?

Okay, I hear y’all in the back saying, “But HollyAnne, you’re loud and friendly— there’s no way you’re an introvert!” Let’s take a second to talk about what introversion actually means. First, it is NOT the same as anti-social. I love people and being around people. This is how I had a meltdown— I LOVED all the activities of the last two weeks. That’s why I said YES to all of them. But I get my energy, my deep down fill my cup energy from the quiet, alone times. That is the key— extroverts gain energy from being around others while introverts gain energy from solitude, quiet, and / or time with just those closest to them.

I already referenced my favorite analogy, but let me take a moment to talk about “filling your cup” or “gaining energy.” Each of us is like a cup or vase, and what we give to others (everything from feeding our kids to volunteering to collaborating on a team) pours out from our cup. Extroverts are filled by being around others so social situations keep their cups full to overflowing. Too much downtime, though, (or too long without grown ups for my fellow mamas) and extroverts will get antsy. Introverts must rest in order to be refilled. Too much running around, doing, adventuring, etc leaves my cup empty and makes me emotional and not very fun to be with. But, when I take the proper time to rejuvenate regularly (rather than crashing and then refilling), I can serve and love from the overflow. Living in emotional abundance is the sweet spot, so let’s take a look at ways — with oils, activities, and nutrition— that we can keep our cups full to overflowing.

 
Wholistic Self Care for Introverts with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story | Use Essential oils, intentional rest and activity, and healthy eating habits to refresh yourself
 

Oils

Essential Oils are one of my favorite self-support tools because they are portable and nearly immediate in their effect. Day in and day out I use oils to maintain my physical and emotional energy, and I use them extra when I’ve pushed too hard, and need a “reboot” from burnout. Here are a few of my favorites:

PastTense Blend Roller (topical): I hold tension in my neck and shoulders— anticipation, overwhelm, anxious feelings— all the tension just heads straight to my shoulders and scrunches them up to my ears. It hurts, and it’s exhausting. My go-to oil to encourage myself to chill out is Past Tense. it’s minty and fresh, and it helps me release my shoulders back down and breathe a little deeper. How to use: Swipe down neck and shoulders as needed to encourage a release of tension.

Forgive Blend Roller (topical): You know that sense of relief that comes from a deep breath of nature (like when you first step into the woods for a hike)? That’s what this oil evokes. Forgive blend is woody and citrusy and is the first oil I reach for when I feel overwhelmed. How to use: Swipe on wrists and behind ears and / or over heart as needed to relieve feelings of overwhelm.

Balance Blend (topical and aromatic): Gentle, subtle, and calming, balance makes me feel rooted. It is perfect for when life feels chaotic and too fast paced to promote feelings of centeredness. How to Use: Massage a drop or two into the soles of your feet, then spend a moment breathing a stretching to recenter yourself (Click here to follow along with one of my four minute yoga flows). To diffuse, add two drops of balance plus two drops of lime to a four hour diffuser.

Frankincense (topical and aromatic): Frankincense has one of the highest vibrations of any oil which means it is AMAZING for mood support. It is both calming and lifting, the ultimate centering oil. How to use: swipe a drop (neat or diluted depending on your skin sensitivity) across your forehead and down the back of your neck. Add two drops to the diffuser along with two drops of lemongrass and two drops of wild orange (I call this the “Bad JuJu Blend”) to refresh and uplift your energy during emotionally or relationally overwhelming days.

Lemongrass (topical and aromatic): You’ll likely recognize this aroma as “bug spray” because it is a great oil for keeping away mosquitoes, but my favorite use for it is to promote feelings of regeneration and flow. Whether you’re feeling creatively blocked or relationally drained, lemongrass is releasing and refreshing. How to Use: Roll (diluted) on wrists and behind ears to feel released and refreshed (especially before, during, and after spending time with challenging people or being around people in general when already battling overwhelm. Diffuse as outlined above in the “Bad JuJu Blend.”

Lime (aromatic): I find lime to be the most refreshing of the citrus oils. It is described as moving emotions of faintness or fatigue to feelings of renewal. How to Use: Diffuse two drops with two drops of Balance blend in a four hour diffuser.

Wild Orange (aromatic): Wild Orange is much more of a “boost” to me than lime, so I can’t diffuse it alone when I’m feeling overwhelmed or I get a bit jittery. However, it is the perfect refreshing, sweet note to include in the Bad Juju blend (see above)

 
Wholistic Self Care for Introverts with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story | Use Essential oils, intentional rest and activity, and healthy eating habits to refresh yourself
 

“Introverting”

Have you ever used “introvert” as a verb? It’s one of my favorite ways to distinguish for myself and those around be between “I want to be alone because I need to do stuff” and “I need to be alone to recharge.” When I mentioned this post to a friend today she said, “Please tell me you’re going to talk about something other than giving yourself a facial.” Girl, yes. Now, if facials or manicures or whatever are YOUR JAM, then go for it. But, honestly, that’s not my jam, so here’s some of my favorite ways to recharge my batteries when I feel overwhelmed.

The Elijah Principle: If you’re familiar with the Old Testament, then you might remember in 1 Kings when he is running from Jezebel that he gets so frustrated that he lays down under a bush and prays to die. Instead, God sends an angel with food and water, then allows Elijah to rest, then sends the angel with more. From this, Elijah is strengthened enough to travel in the desert for 40 days. Extrapolating a bit, I call this the Elijah Principle: many troubles are greatly eased by a good meal (or two) and a nap.

Solitude: Sometimes, I just desperately want to do normal activities without other people and with my music/ audiobook/ podcast. On a “productive” day, I might do dishes or laundry. But sometimes I want to go get an iced coffee at Dunkin Donuts or sit by the pool or buy a fresh tube of mascara at Target or browse Pinterest for awhile (you get the idea). Time away from both the presence and expectations/ needs of others is crucial for introverts.

-Exercise: Stress produces a hormone called cortisol. In normal levels, cortisol is very important, but too much causes additional strain on the body. By contrast, exercise produces the “happy hormones” or “feel good hormones” called endorphins. During periods of high stress you don’t have to do your best/ most vigorous workout ever. But taking 30 minutes to do some yoga, walk, jog, swim, boulder, etc will rebalance your body and, as counterintuitive as it might seem, create more and better energy. Plus, if you do this activity outside, you’ll get the added benefits of fresh air and Vitamin D. (Click here to get a quick “move your body” win with one of my four minute yoga flows)

-Creativity: I’m willing to be pretty hard that if you’re reading this, then you’re creative. There’s a good chance you’re a quilter, but you might also be a painter, knitter, gardener, or cook. However you express yourself, do some of that to recharge. And keep in mind the benefits of making a little time to be creative everyday. Seriously, just 15-30 minutes is SO valuable for mental wellness. (check out this cool article about the value of creativity in keeping us well)

 
Wholistic Self Care for Introverts with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story | Use Essential oils, intentional rest and activity, and healthy eating habits to refresh yourself
 

Nutrition/ water

Finally, what we put into our bodies during times of stress or recovery is just as important as what we do with them. If you’re like me, my go-to when I’m feeling anxious or overwhelmed is to eat ALL THE CARBS PLEASE. But this is seriously bad for my physical and mental state. Carbs give a “quick win” of energy, but they leave the body feeling inflamed and depleted, not nourished. Don’t get me wrong, I still eat carbs, but reach for veggies and hummus or nuts and dark chocolate first when you have anxious munchies.

And above all, DRINK WATER. The average recommendation is to consume half your body weight in ounces of water per day. If you have a lot going on, girlfriend, drink more than that. Not your favorite? Put your water in a glass or stainless steel bottle and add a drop of lime or wild orange oil to give it a little boost. It’s the best way to keep tension, inflammation, and stress related head pain at bay.

(One last note— if you’re not yet on doTERRA’s Lifelong Vitality Pack, take a look at this post to see what an amazing way it is to support and supplement your body. It’s definitely part of my secret sauce!)

Closing Thoughts

We’ve talked about oils to put on your body, activities, to do with your body, and nutrients to put in your body. Of course an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so as much as possible, using these strategies in small doses daily to keep your cup full is the best way to take care of yourself as an introvert. When life snowballs and you find yourself crying in the kitchen at 9am from the sheer exhaustion of it all, speak gently to yourself the way you would with a friend. Allow yourself to be tired. Clear your schedule. Take a quiet day. ASK FOR HELP if you have kids (this is hard, I know). Fill your cup so it can overflow again.

Learn more about doTERRA Essential Oils with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story-- Click to learn more and get yours!

July Follow Along Yoga Flow

Sometimes going to a yoga class sounds too expensive or inconvenient, but just taking a few minutes to stretch can have huge advantages for our bodies. Join me for a less than five minute flow to start your day, and read my tips for how to get the most out of just a few minutes on the mat.

(this post contains affiliate links)

 
Let's be honest-- we all wish we were yogis. But, darn it, another day went by and I just didn't find the time! Start by being a "yogi lite" with my easy, four minute yoga flow. Stretch key muscles groups and feel great in just four minutes-- click through to follow along with the video!
 

If sitting is the new smoking, then we all need to be up out of our chairs more frequently, and we need to be intentionally stretching each day to maintain healthy, long muscles. Stretching increases blood flow to your muscles and your brain, reduces the risk of injury, and is a great opportunity to set a healthy, happy mindset for the day. Building the habit of stretching, or even getting started, can be totally overwhelming, though. A Pinterest search yields pictures with amazing Sanskrit or almost tongue in cheek animal names, but pictures aren’t always what you need. Join me for a few minutes on the mat instead!

Video

To get the most out of this video, I recommend setting up your mat and screen ahead of time where you can watch along pretty easily. I don’t talk you through the poses here, I just model them, so it’s okay if the process feels a little bumpy the first time you follow along. This flow is very short, so it will feel familiar in no time.

Other tips:
-Do this flow each morning when you first wake up. Drink some water, swipe on some essential oils (more tips on these below), then flow! (Also— this is a great flow to end your day as well— you could use it like bookends to wake up and slow down)
-For a longer flow, do this sequence multiple times or add in other poses you already know and love
-Listen to your body. Only stretch as far or as deeply as you feel safe and comfortable. Don’t strain yourself.

Further Resources

If you’re looking for other poses to add into this flow or if you are specifically interested in hip flexors and/ or spatial awareness, you’ll find these additional posts and videos useful:

  1. Five Hip Flexor Stretches with April Sylvester

  2. Poses to Improve Spatial Awareness

I mentioned Essential Oils above, so I thought I’d quickly recommend a few of my favorites to use with yoga:

  1. Deep Blue Rub- soothing, inflammation fighting, and absolutely 100% necessary for my musculoskeletal health, especially when I’ve been working out or doing deep stretching. Use it before your flow to help warm you muscles up to keep you safe and feeling wonderful as you stretch (bonus: the mint oils in it will promote deeper breathing, too). Use it after your flow to reduce the risk of soreness tomorrow.

  2. Peppermint- It opens up the airways and helps me wake up in the morning. If you find it too invigorating for evening use, use Breathe instead as it’s a little less minty.

  3. Balance blend, Lavender, or the Forgive blend roller- these are some of my go-to grounding and calming oils. They help me be in the moment as I flow, something particularly helpful if I’m feeling overwhelmed!

If you’re unfamiliar with doTERRA Essential oils, these oils are the purest, most potent, most responsibly sourced oils on the planet, and they have amazing benefits to support your body. You can learn more about what essential oils are here, and you can learn how to start your oily journey here. I’d be honored to be your guide!

 
Let's be honest-- we all wish we were yogis. But, darn it, another day went by and I just didn't find the time! Start by being a "yogi lite" with my easy, four minute yoga flow. Stretch key muscles groups and feel great in just four minutes-- click through to follow along with the video!
 

How to Clean Oily Skin Naturally (And Other Uses for Melaleuca Essential Oil)

Melaleuca is a must-have oil that comes in the Family and Home Essentials Kits, but it is definitely one I get asked about a lot. Asked about as in, “What the heck do I do with Melaleuca??” This was actually my very first essential oil (way back when essential oils were hardly a thing yet), and it’s one I still love and use daily, especially to care for my oily skin!

(This post contains affiliate links)

 
How to Clean Oily Skin Naturally- No More Zits! with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story
 

Melaleuca Essential Oil, also known as Tea Tree Oil, is one that a lot of people recognize by name but just as many people are unsure how to use. Combine this slight air of mystery with an aroma that most people don’t seem to like, and Melaleuca has a tendency to drift to the back of the oils shelf and stay there. Since no oil should be left to languish— especially one as useful as this— let me show you how to move this little bottle to the front of the line.

Primary Properties & Uses

Melaleuca has a sharp, clean aroma and powerful cleansing properties. It can be used to cleanse the skin, repel lice, and repel environmental threats.

Aromatic Use

Melaleuca can be diffused to cleanse the air of environmental threats and unwanted odors.

HOWEVER, I do not diffuse it. While all essential oils should be diffused with caution around pets (make sure your pets can leave the room if desired and observe them closely for signs of any ill reaction), Melaleuca has a strong reputation for being toxic to household animals. As we have two kitties (who have never had any adverse reactions to other oils, by the way), I play it safe an avoid diffusing Melaleuca. For more information about pets and oil safety, click here.

Topical Use

This is my FAVORITE way to use melaleuca, and I put it on my skin every day. I have very oily, acne prone skin, and melaleuca is amazing for cleansing, so it’s my front and center tool of choice for healthy, clear skin. I wash my face with Castile soap (cuts oil effectively and doesn’t contain irritants that cause me to break out), then I moisturize with a melaleuca roller. This, combined with drinking plenty of water and avoiding too much sugar, help me maintain clear, healthy skin, in spite of its oily nature. You’ll see my roller recipe just below, but first, in the interest of authenticity, here’s me, totally naked faced in an unedited photo, on the morning of publishing this post. I won’t say my skin is perfect (hello, bug bite on my forehead from this weekend), but it’s clear and healthy, and I can feel confident in it, in spite of years and years of battling acne!

 
I have oily skin, but by using natural cleansers to take care of my skin, I can have healthy, clean skin that makes me feel confident! Click through to learn how to take care of your oily skin!
 

1) Make a Roller: I make an easy 10 ml roller to moisturize my face with 20 drops melaleuca, 10 drops frankincense, and fill to the top with carrier oil (I prefer vitamin E oil or jojoba oil for my face)

2) Spot treat: Melaleuca is very strong, so some dilution is always recommended. But a less diluted amount (a couple of drops of EO to a couple of drops of carrier oil) can be applied to spot treat zits, sore ears, minor abrasions, bug bites, etc, to cleanse the skin and encourage healing

3) Add to soaps and shampoos: Add a few drops to a bottle of shampoo or or soap to repel lice and encourage overall scalp and skin health

Internal use

(Note Bene: We all consume essential oils when we eat fresh, aromatic foods (fresh herbs, citrus fruit, etc), and we can consume them already distilled as well. In fact, some of the most powerful benefits of essential oils can be harnessed by taking the oils internally! For your safety, I only recommend doing so with doTERRA’s CPTG certified oils and only with oils that have the “supplement facts” label on them. Please remember that I am not a doctor, and you should proceed according to your comfort level and common sense and consider consulting your doctor. I am sharing here what I have found to be effective for me )

1) Gargle: Add 1 drop of melaleuca to a shot of warm salt water and gargle thoroughly to soothe and cleanse a sore throat, spit out after gargling. (Warning: this isn’t a pleasant experience, and I don’t enjoy the taste at all. However, I find it to be HIGHLY effective, and therefore worth it)

2) FLOOM If you need a serious, hardcore, kick the thing in the teeth immune boost, there’s nothing like FLOOM: 2 drops each of Frankie, Lemon, OnGuard, Oregano, and Melaleuca in a veggie capsule. If I’m “fighting something,” I take one capsule morning and evening for a few days. (Keep in mind that this is a powerful immune boost designed to be taken periodically, not as a regular regimen)