When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?Psalm 118:5-6
I’ve been reading Susan Cain’s awesomely affirming book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.” I feel like my life is spiraling: I am leaving a job that I’ve had for six years and starting a new one. My daughter requires much attention and intervention with her learning disabilities and behavioral challenges. We homeschool and haven’t finished the math book. My husband’s sage advice is ignored by his employment and he stands against corruption as well as integrity issues there. We need to cut firewood for the winter and the forests are in stage two fire restrictions e.g. no chainsaws.
Stress. The Mind Killer.
How we react to stress depends on a plethora of factors: health, already present anxiety levels, sleep, etc. Cain’s book, Quiet, got me thinking about personality because introverts typically are ignored. Late this week, I was browsing Pinterest when I stumbled upon a gem that featured the 16 Myers personalities in the context of a horror film. The meme said it all: My husband (INFJ) is the person who knows exactly what is going on but every ignores while my personality (INTJ) is the one whom everyone thinks is the killer!
For INJ types, our thinking traits take a back seat and we can easily become over-stimulated. Therefore, it is important to find positive outlets. Today is our anniversary and I failed to get my husband a present. Why? I lost hope. Whatever I buy he sees on the bank account. My in-laws are on the same Amazon Prime account so I can’t have them order something. I am not welcome in stores because I am medically exempt from masking and now stores paste signs saying, “If not vaccinated, please continue to mask.” More stress.
Low impact thinking. Since thinking is difficult to access during high stress, we should find low impact thinking games: cross-words or Sudoku.
Take a nap. Crawl into bed, turn off the lights, leave phones in another room, and enjoy a Sabbath moment in a quiet and safe place. Rest is not against the rules. Work will always be there. A Sabbath moment isn’t earned; it is a precious gift and a healthy boundary.
Opt outside. I am happiest outdoors marveling in God’s glorious creation. Take a walk around the neighborhood. Sit outside in the sunshine with a Sudoku and a cup of coffee. Garden. (GROAN. Gardening in Northern AZ is a joke. It’s a great way to exercise humility and embrace futility. If it isn’t the late frost, it’s the elk. If it’s not the elk, it is the pocket gophers. If not the pocket gophers, it’s the prairie dogs. AND you get the idea…)
Find a sport. We mountain bike in our family. This should be a no brainer for us to turn to in our stress but we haven’t really. I blame it on me since I broke my wrist mountain biking during the height of Covid and have had surgeries. The last being in January and was reconstructive for DRUJ instability. I got back on the bike for the first time two weeks ago. I think for us this is a Sabbath mindset again. We need to give ourselves permission to enjoy a break.
Journal. This could probably go under low impact thinking but it also taps into emotions. Add scripture, poems, or pertinent quotes from books you are reading at the moment.
Coloring. In college during finals week, I would color to take a time-out from studying. I have a lovely Dr Who coloring book that I received as a Christmas present. I think it is high time to crack it open.
I recommend the 16 Personalities Test. Maybe this will help you as it did me to understand why we react the way we do to stress.
Remember: Christ created you and He doesn’t create junk!