The Best Self-Care Techniques for Your Personality Type

Consider one of these ideas, based on the "Big 5" category you fall under: open, conscientious, extroverted, agreeable, or neurotic.

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We've all been there: It's easy to get caught up in busy schedules and life's daily stressors. Whether you're cleaning up your home or tackling a major project at work (or both!), it's necessary to give yourself a much-needed break—and that's where self-care comes in. While it can seem like a no-brainer, practicing wellness takes quite a bit of intention. And, depending on your personality, certain self-care techniques might resonate more than others.

To help you identify the relaxation methods that are right for you, we tapped clinical psychologists, who broke down the "Big 5" personality types and the best wellness activities for each.

The Big 5 Personality Types

There are five central personality types that fall under the "Big 5," which is also known by the psychological acronym OCEAN, explains Jennifer Dragonette, PsyD, a clinical services instructor at Newport Healthcare. These categories include openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.

  • Openness: Curiosity, imaginative, creativity, open to trying new things, and unconventional
  • Conscientiousness: Organized, self-disciplined, attentive, and achievement-oriented
  • Extroversion: Sociable, energized, outgoing, and excitement-seeking
  • Agreeableness: Forgiving, modest, empathetic, and sympathetic
  • Neuroticism: Anxious, hostile, stressed, vulnerable, and dramatic shifts in mood

As you learn more about the "Big 5," remember that it's normal to identify with several personality types. "Most people find themselves somewhere on a spectrum within each of these personality variables, so this should not be taken as a fixed type, but more as useful information to understand our unique characteristics and preferences," Dragonette says. "Therefore, you might find that several types of self-care will help you—and it can be important to tune into which aspects of your personality are needing attention on a given day."

Why It's Important to Practice Self-Care

Personality types aside, everyone should practice self-care. It's necessary to "do the things that make us feel taken care of mentally, physically, and emotionally," says Dragonette. Taking part in activities that promote well-being and reduce stress is a great start, she explains.

Self-care is all about routine, adds Andrew Bertagnolli, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist at One Medical. Just like brushing your teeth or going for a walk, practicing self-care is vital for your wellbeing. "Things like managing stress, engaging in enjoyable activities, and practicing gratitude have been shown to help people cope better with life's daily hassles, bounce back from adversity, and keep a positive outlook," says Bertagnolli. "It is important to note that just as you don't wait to start brushing your teeth until you have a cavity, you don't wait to start these emotional self-care practices until you have a problem."

The Best Self-Care Methods for Your Personality Type

All personality types should consider setting boundaries as part of self-care, says Dragonette. This involves stepping back, determining how you want to engage with others, and authentically moving forward with relationships that meet your needs, she says. Effective boundaries might look like gently saying no to certain events or requests—or being clear about what you need from others.

As for the other daily wellness habits that everyone should follow? Prioritize sleep, eat a balanced diet, stay active, and make it a point to have fun. For specific self-care ideas that benefit each personality type, specifically, look to these recommendations from our experts.

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Openness: Creative Self-Care

Open people love exploring and thinking outside the box, says Dragonette. If you fall into this category, consider taking an art class to express your creative side. Group exercise or book clubs, which foster meeting new people, are also beneficial. "In general, anything that helps us feel mastery will lead to increased self-esteem," she says.

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Conscientiousness: Relaxing Self-Care

Always on the go, conscientious people often have their minds on their next task due to their organized natures and penchants for planning. That's why a self-care routine that truly allows them to unwind is a must. "A hot bath with some aromatherapy or a walk in nature might allow them to relieve stress," says Dragonette. "Learning how to ask others for help can also be extremely important, as people who are high in conscientiousness tend to try to accomplish things on their own first, which can lead to feeling burned out."

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Extraversion: Social Self-Care

Both experts note that extroverts love being around others, so a self-care activity rooted in social interaction is best. "Extroverts tend to recharge by interacting with others, so self-care for these individuals can look like a lunch with friends or getting together as a group for a festival or concert," says Dragonette. "For people who are lower on this spectrum and therefore more introverted, it can be important to set aside time to be alone, whether that involves journaling, taking a walk outdoors solo, or even simply finding a few minutes to listen to music or read a beloved book."

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Agreeableness: Supportive Self-Care

Agreeable people love to support others, which is why Dragonette suggests they practice self-care through community service. "They are also affectionate to their friends and loved ones. Doing something nice, such as cooking a meal or making something special, for someone else could be self-care for them," she says.

Don't forget about your "me" time, though. Agreeable people should also let others know when they have a preference for an activity, whether it's where they want to eat or travel to next—and let themselves know that it's okay to do so, says Bertagnolli.

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Neuroticism: Stress-Relieving Self-Care

Self-care is particularly important for neurotic people, who need to regulate their anxiety and worry, share our experts. "I would recommend stress-relieving self-care activities like yoga or meditation," says Dragonette. "Journaling their thoughts would also be a helpful way for them to process their fears and insecurities—and another excellent self-care option would be to meet with a mental health professional."

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