Slow-living can create a space for you to learn about yourself, your needs, and how you can best serve others.
"Shelby, you're a what? That test must be wrong?!?!"*
My classmates were no more shocked than I was to find out that I had scored on the far end of introversion on our high school personality tests. How could this be? When the results came out, I was in a group with young women that were primarily quiet, bookish, and incredibly friendly (but not talkative at all). I was the outlier.
What didn't make sense to me made perfect sense to my high school religion teacher. We didn't talk much, but all of my journal entries about wanting to be a nun where I could escape the constant chatter and pressure were indicators of a young woman searching for silence and solitude.
Throughout life, I've had to take more personality tests than I can count. I love them. It comes with the educational/nonprofit territory, I guess. But through them all, I always score high on the introvert scale (INFJ, Social Introvert, Thinking Introvert, A Sloth, etc.). However, nothing helps me respect and celebrate my personality more than slow-living. It's easy for me to burn out when moving fast and filling up my time in social ways.
And it's not only Introverts that can get lost in the sauce when we aren't living slowly. It's anyone who's personality needs are lost when they aren't intentional about spending their time. For example, the Extrovert that is speeding through never-ending independent work projects. Without taking time to slow down and assess their personality needs, they may find themselves lonely and depressed because they haven't taken the time necessary to step away from work and into the social situations that fuel them.
Social Introvert Homeschoolin' Mama
I'm still on my journey to discovering how to nourish my introversion while also creating a daily rhythm that rests in love, community, and time togetherness, but this is what I got so far. #duringapandemic
I welcome social situations, and I am talkative (and reserved). I don't typically step away or become quiet (for restoration), and so I leave social spaces emptied. The bigger and more unfamiliar the crowd - the more draining. The most draining situation is one that allows any over-analyzing to happen.
And it's not just people that drain me - it's too many materials, to-dos, multitasking, and errands. It's the overall interaction and exchange that is a lot, which is why it's essential as a homeschool mama teaching during a pandemic for me to preserve and reserve my energy. Slowing down to do mindful techniques such as journaling, reading, and reflecting during my time outdoors helps me determine what I need during my daily rhythm.
"Knowing that my energy supply is limited, I must avoid giving my energy away on a first-come, first-serve basis."
What this looks like in my daily rhythm is limiting big group playdates, (draining*) digital device usage, multi-role tasks (i.e. homemaker and teacher at the same time), and creating brain breaks in our days.
Draining digital device, examples are: texting,logging onto social media,looking at messenger apps, phone calls, engaging in virtual face-to-face calls, emailing,and Slack Whereas, digital activities that keep me neutral are: watching specific sitcoms,reading articles/books/blogs, Pinterest, jotting down thoughts in notebook app, watching relaxing youtube videos, listening to music
Again, that is not to say that I don't love interacting and engaging. I do. But when I move slowly, I can be intentional about when I need to refuel vs. engage. When I am going to harm the ones that I love (i.e., being easily annoyed, angry, short, or irritable) by engaging versus taking the time I need.
In my mornings, when it's still dark out, the house is quiet, the coffee is brewing - I rewrite and take in my day. If I see that I have a call with a loved one at 5 pm (transition walk), a Zoom meeting during my midday siesta, and it's a homeschool day - I tend to avoid all other [non-urgent] pieces of engagement until the very end of my day. And on my socially full days, the unfilled moments are the time to nourish me (i.e. journal, have a cup of tea/Cafix, read, paint, draw, sit in silence, listen to music, write a public piece, daydream, handwork, etc.).
What's essential in my daily rhythm is that my boys get my best (not the best) as their teacher and mama, my family/friends get a listening ear, I get to enjoy creativity, and Mike gets wholeness and not the crumbs.
And so in this season, I needed a paradigm shift. I used to believe that being there was vital. Our society tells us that being there is what counts, but I have SLOWLY realized by studying the actions of Jesus, essentialism, ikigai, and slow-living that that's not always true for me. At times, I do better for the ones I love to opt for solitude and rejoin refueled. I'm most aligned with my ikigai and my essentialist lifestyle when I nurture my introversion.
I pray that you are slowly learning and nurturing yourself.
*high school story happened over twenty years ago, my memory is slightly fuzzy.