Social distancing might be an introvert’s dream. Indeed, social media is full of introverts, quick to tell us they’ve been preparing for this their whole lives. But for extroverts, the idea of being without regular contact with people is stressful.
On Monday, President Donald Trump announced new guidelines to restrict public gatherings to no more than 10 people. The entire country is being urged to practice social distancing to reduce the number cases and avoid overwhelming American hospitals.
For extroverts, however, it’s the joy of connection and sharing that energizes and recharges us, so quarantine and shut down is some awful circle of hell. While some are rejoicing at the idea of no longer needing to make excuses to avoid social get-togethers, for some of us it’s dreadful, and many experts are already warning of the mental health consequences that such social distancing practices and quarantines may pose on a large population.
How does an extrovert maintain his or her sanity while stuck at home without becoming utterly miserable as warmer weather begins to turn the corner? The idea of home quarantine may appear particularly intimidating for extroverted personalities who are living alone.
Here are some tips and tricks to weather through the quarantine spring.
Further embrace technology in the digital age as our best friend. Use video chat to talk with friends and family in isolation to help yourself and others “see” each other to enhance the feeling of connectedness.
Play Online Games
Whether you’re a hardcore gamer or casual player, now is the time to further indulge in screen-time or play the games you never thought you had time for. Break out “Words with Friends” again to play online with others or download new games to try out. Encourage your friends to join, start some healthy competition, and stay busy with something that isn’t the general doom cycle of the news.
Use ‘Netflix Party’ To Watch Shows With Friends
While it’s not quite the same as sitting on the couch together, chatting about the show and sharing snacks, it’s also far better than watching alone. In the dark. Again. You can still discuss how the season of your new must-see is unfolding or rewatch an old favorite but do it together, even if you’re in separate homes.
Transition to Audiobooks
Reading is important and a wonderful way to pass time. Absolutely. But a little cherished part of audiobooks is that it introduces another voice into your world: the narrator. Try an audiobook. Pick something escapist.
Don’t have a furry friend and unable to make that commitment? This is the perfect time to open your world and life to helping a friend or neighbor with caring for their furry (or not furry) pet. Find some solace in meeting the needs of another creature, and hop out of the solo and quiet headspace for a moment. Dogs and cats—and other pets—might not talk back, but they do love to be talked to. Enjoy this. It helps.
Routine, Routine, Routine
Go to bed and wake up at consistent times to keep the circadian rhythm rolling. Clinical psychologist Andrea Graham, Ph.D., told Fox News that keeping a routine throughout the day will go a long way in coping with social isolation. Graham recommends exercise and healthy eating, along with setting aside time to tackle long-awaited projects to improve one’s mood.
Clean the House, For Real
Not only to avoid getting sick, but to accomplish something you’ve maybe, probably, most definitely have been putting off. A deep clean of the space you’ll be spending much more time in not only provides something to do but something to achieve while taking the mind off isolation.
Some Pushback Against Media Absurdity
When you’re connecting with people, cut out some of the noise and media absurdity that’s happening right now. Let’s be real. Some of these takes? They’re just bad. They’re driving our anxiety higher and higher, and no one needs that. This isn’t an apocalypse. It’s bad and scary, and we need to let medical professionals do what they do best, but this isn’t the start of a zombie film.
It’s not as fun to do this at home. We know. But it’s important and good for you. Take a brisk walk. Download a yoga app. Skype some friends and do pilates together. Hop on YouTube and try some new fitness ideas. Focusing on some healthy movement right now is really important for physical and mental health.
Consider Going Old-School
This can’t last forever. We’re putting a lot of eggs in that basket, so don’t pop the bubble on this optimism. While life is so different, consider reaching out to friends in through postcards or letters. It’s not instant connection, but knowing something is coming in the mail gives everyone a little bit of pleasant anticipation, instead of wondering what fresh awful thing is happening next.
Life is weird and lonely right now. It will get better. Don’t listen to introverts cheering about the enforced distance if it’s getting you down. It’s okay to crave connection and human contact. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you. This is a weird situation. It really is. But we will all get through it together.