Oakland, CA — I’ve been quarantined for weeks now, and although some parts of the country are reopening, there are few signs that the lockdown is ending anytime soon for me, or for many others around the country. Obviously, no one enjoys being forced to stay in the house, but it's probably a little easier for us introverts. Some introverts have limited social lives, so this seems like normal life. Others are just enjoying not having to make up excuses to cancel plans with friends.
Introverts often need time alone to recharge after socializing, which means we’re used to spending an entire day by ourselves. That’s not to say any of this is easy for us. I miss my friends more than I thought was humanly possible, and I’m dying to be somewhere other than my neighborhood.
But I know that not everyone can adjust to quarantine as easily. My extrovert friends and family members are climbing the walls trying to find ways to keep themselves sane. So if you’re struggling, don’t worry, I got you. Here are five tips to help all of my extroverts out there, from me, an introvert.
Resist the urge to do nothing when you’re alone
The best way to pass the time when you’re alone is to get in bed, grab some snacks and stream some shows, right? Eh, not quite. As tempting as it is lounge around and binge-watch Netflix’s "Tiger King" until your eyes fall out of your head, passive activities can be really boring after a while. During quarantine, it’s important to keep your brain stimulated, especially since your social interaction is limited. Teaching yourself a new skill is a great way to engage your brain and find a sense of accomplishment during the lockdown.
Go for a walk
I know many of us are sheltering in place right now, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay in your house all the time. Getting outside has both physical and mental benefits. It increases your vitamin D intake, gets your heart rate up while allowing you to explore areas of your neighborhood you might not otherwise. If you’d prefer to be with someone on your walk, invite your family with you (if you can still stand them, that is). If you can’t, FaceTime a friend and “walk” with them. Whether you prefer to walk alone or with company, try to get outside once a day. It’ll do wonders for your mood.
Find small ways to be social
If there is anything years of being an introvert in an extrovert’s world has taught me, it’s how to be social without actually, you know, seeing people. Staying in touch over social media is a great option for when I miss my friends but can’t bring myself to go to an event. During lockdown, keep in touch with your friends through your cellphone or laptop. Besides the mainstays like Instagram, Snapchat, FaceTime and Houseparty, many other platforms have popped up during quarantine to keep you and your friends together. Netflix Party allows you to watch shows with others. Many of your favorite games even have online multiplayer versions. So take a tip from your introverted friends during the quarantine: you don’t actually have to be together to feel connected.
Take the opportunity to be alone with your thoughts
Usually, life moves pretty fast. It can be hard to take time to process and reflect on what’s happening to us during our busy lives. If you spend a lot of time alone, you know that being isolated is a great way to reconnect with yourself. Take the opportunity to slow down during quarantine. Channel your inner creativity and start a journal to sketch or write about how you feel. Quarantine is the perfect time to practice self-reflection.
This is a stressful time, and it’s imperative to be kind to yourself. Spend some of the time you would spend with other people caring for yourself. Whether that’s dancing, taking a bath or watching your favorite movie, remember to do things that help you relax and bring you joy. Things are hard right now, but we’re all in this together. Stay safe and remain strong. We’ll get through this.