It’s been a little over a month and the shock is wearing off. We are all settling into our temporary normal – working from home, homeschooling kids, distancing ourselves from friends and loved ones. Like it or not, this is how it’s going to be for the foreseeable future.
The introverts among us are probably fairing well. Phones and teleconferences give them access to social engagement while the alone time is what they crave under normal conditions. The comfort of home and the ability to recharge as needed are probably a breath of fresh air for most introverts.
Extroverts on the other hand…
Extroverts get their energy, their drive, from being around others. When the ability to interact with friends, family, and colleagues gets taken away, extroverts can become despondent and depressed and lose hope.
For extroverts (or even introverts who are just tired of being inside all the time), making peace with the current situation is crucial.
Don’t just say, “Okay…we’re doing this. Let’s get it over with.” Learn to love the quarantine orders. Look beyond the isolation for the deeper meaning. Sheltering in place means that you and your family are safe. Quarantine means that those you love the most are also safe. Staying home means that humanity is coming together to save itself. Take note of the global outpouring of love and wrap your brain about the enormity of this historic time. Teach your children what can happen when the world cares for its own.
The biggest problem with enormous orders like “don’t leave your house if you don’t have to” is the loss of control. No one likes to be told what to do and losing the autonomy that comes with even a simple trip to the grocery store is unnerving for a lot of people.
Feel that lack of control. Don’t try to ignore it…acknowledge it and be mad. It’s okay! (But don’t get violent. That’s not okay.)
When you’ve released some of that negative energy, think about things you do have control over, which is probably more than you think. You are still in control of your family, your kids’ educations, your health, your home, your happiness. You are still in control of what you have for dinner tonight and what you watch on TV. You have retained control of who you communicate with and how (with the exception of in person) and you have control over your spirituality. You may find that you’ve given up a lot less than you think you have.
You’ve gotten mad. You’ve counted your blessings. You’ve decided to make the best of the situation.
Find something to express how you’re feeling inside. Ever wanted to learn how to paint? Order some supplies from Amazon.com, turn on Bob Ross and see what happens. If it comes out looking like an ill-advised preschool masterpiece, who cares? No one is going to see it anyway!
Write down your feelings in a journal. Learn to cook fancy French food you can barely pronounce. Sketch. Go for a run. Take up kickboxing.
Self-expression is endless. It doesn’t have to be artistic or creative…it can be athletic or pragmatic. Whatever you need to use up some of the anxious energy you may be feeling can be an expression of your inner self.
Despite all that it comes with, be thankful for this time. Whether it’s more time with your family, an opportunity to work on a project you’ve been putting off, more time to focus on yourself, or the chance to rethink your priorities, giving thanks for what you have can never go wrong.