For many people these past five months have been a struggle since we had the extreme lockdown COVID-19.
I myself have been one of them.
Back in the day, when I went to seminary, like most, I took a battery test.
One test was the Myers Briggs test.
It was a test to show your personality type.
It asks the same questions in a variety of scenarios to get to the bottom of your personality type.
After taking the test, I was I found to be an ESFP person.
If you like, you can take a free personality type test at this website: https://www.onlinepersonalitytests.org/mbti/
What all those letter mean is that I’m outgoing.
Those initials stand for extrovert, sensing, feeling and perceiving person.
What that simply means is that if you’re standing in the checkout line, I will probably try to strike up a conversation with you.
Sometimes with face covering in place and social distancing, it is hard to strike up an impromptu conversation with a stranger.
Sometimes, I even mistaken someone I think I know because I cannot see their full face.
With that being said, since this COVID-19 pandemic has been around for over five months, I noticed that people aren’t very friendly right now.
Sometimes, they are even snarly and snarky to one another and especially to the people working at the stores where face coverings are required.
Often, when I go to the store there is no small talk, no excuse me, no how are you doing?
People, as a whole, do not seem as friendly right now.
Texting, phone calls, letters and emails are OK, but I like being able to look a person in the eyes and just visit over a cup of coffee or a glass of tea.
I’m also a hugger and a hand-shaker, and fist bumps or elbow bumps just don’t feel right.
And, as most pastors, I have been unable to visit church members in the hospital, nursing home or even their home for our safety.
Even at church, we practice social distancing measure for the safety and love of one another.
People in our community have had to limit visit with family members to keep each other safe.
Perhaps the hardest affected were those who were in care facilities and could only communicate and visit with their family members at a window.
With that being said, being an extrovert, I have resorted to the WWW to try to find some suggestions to help me deal with being forced to be a closet introvert.
I came across one site that I have found to be extremely helpful to me.
It suggested five self-care practices that will change your life
1. Wake up earlier.
It suggests when you wake up earlier, you are waking up for your day, rather than being forced to wake up to your day.
One should take a few minutes to read, meditat, and stretch or really whatever makes you feel good.
2. Make an effort to look good.
By taking the time to get ready for your day and putting a little effort into your appearance, you are telling yourself that you are important and your day is important.
This means you don’t go to the grocery store in dirty clothes or unkempt hair or your winkled sleeping apparel and dirty bunny slippers.
3. Make time for yourself.
One needs to make oneself a priority each and every day.
Even if you have just 10 minutes, you need to do something that is not on your to do list and take a few minutes for you.
This has been the most challenging part of these past five months of social isolation and social distancing.
Most days, I sit in my office in front of a computer monitor working on my homily for the next Sunday or studying.
Sometimes, a telephone call or a text will interrupt my solitude.
These are very refreshing for my spirit.
I also find this time by going into the garden and picking the vegetables or just doing a walkabout in our yard looking at all the different flowers, butterflies, and hummingbirds and birds.
I have this one Cardinal that torments me every time I go outside to sit or get into my vehicle.
My STL fans say that he is trying to make me convert to a Redbird fan, but I say, “Always Royal!”
4. Get moving.
Thus, whether you go outside for a quick jog, take your kids out to the park practicing social distancing or head to the gym, taking a few minutes to move is beneficial not just to your physical health, but also your mental and emotional health.
During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, my routine was home, office, home and an occasional trip to the grocery or hardware store for necessary supplies.
After a while, like many, this simple daily routine began to take its toll on my mind and soul, and I was bummed out.
I really didn’t think about it that way as I am sure many others didn’t during the “lockdown.”
5. Keep looking forward.
There is so much power looking forward.
What does the Psalmist say about this?
“This is the day that Yahweh has made. We/I will rejoice and be glad in it!” Psalm 118:24
One must keep identifying one’s dreams and goals and finding a way to achieve them.
This growth type of thinking is good the soul.
As believers, we must allow the love of God to compel us to keep going forward.
As believers, we must trust in the Lord and cry out to God for help for whatever is bothering us.
We must ask God to help us keep moving forward.
Or as the Psalmist reminds us, “I must calm down and turn to God; only God can rescue me.” Psalm 62:1
These suggestions come from the www.theselfcarebeauty.com.
By googling the WWW, I’m sure one can find many more.
Some good and some not so good I’m also sure.
The bottom line is that we must all lift up one another in our daily thoughts and prayers.
Friend, stranger or foe, we are all in this together, and with God’s help, we will find the inner strength to come out stronger in the end.
Rev. Frank Chlastak began work as senior minister of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Poplar Bluff on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015.