Hello all and I hope you’re all staying safe and healthy!
At the end of last year I shared my experiences going through introvert burnout (for lack of a better description) where I wanted to do all these fun holiday activities and book up my weekends and week nights and spend time with friends before going to visit family. However, it definitely started taking it’s toll on me and I posted about it on my Instagram stories – which I’ve saved so you can still see my rant ahaha! Basically, I shared that although I enjoy going out and making new friends and seeking out new adventures, I am still a true introvert at heart.
While it’s been a minute since I brought up this topic, I feel like with everything that’s going on in the world, I’ve definitely been seeing the introvert and extrovert theme come up more often. I’ve been laughing at all the “introverts, please be sure to check on your extrovert friends who are social distancing” memes that keep popping up! My fellow introverts seem to be doing quite well so far, while extroverts are struggling to deal with the lack of social connections.
I believe that being an introvert or an extrovert essentially comes down to where you draw your energy from. I was having a discussion with one of my extroverted friends who explained that she feels sad when she’s not around people – she thrives and feels energized when she’s engaged in groups. To her, being around other people was a way to feel revitalized and rejuvenated.
I’m the exact opposite of my friend, and the current climate of social distancing (as unnatural and difficult as this situation is for everyone) has really brought that out. While my extroverted friends are scheduling FaceTime calls and connecting with multiple people each day, I’ve actually been feeling incredibly zen just existing on my own. I’ve been feeling really restored not rushing to events or talking to numerous people daily. I feel as though I actually needed this time to take a breather from a busy schedule, reset, and reinvigorate myself on my own time and my own terms. My energy is drawn from just being with myself without any distractions or disturbances.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love having a lot of fun plans to look forward to and spending quality time with my friends! I was so sad that all these cool cherry blossom festival and art events I was planning on attending this month have been cancelled. However, I can recognize that I’m feeling incredibly peaceful right now and truly cherish the times I do get to connect with my family and friends. Now I have more energy stored up from *not* interacting with people that I can be more engaged during the interactions I have now.
We’re experiencing a really tough time right now that’s equal parts scary and frustrating, but I take comfort in knowing that we’re going through it together. That being said, I wanted to offer some introvert advice to any extroverts who are currently going stir crazy while social distancing:
- You draw your energy from being social – take advantage of modern technology! Schedule virtual happy hours with your coworkers to brighten up the work week or organize a themed zoom party with your friends. Reach out to family members you haven’t seen in a while and connect with your parents so they won’t worry so much.
- If you feel the need to be active and engaged, start a new project – particularly if it’s challenging or something you’ve been putting off for a long time – nothing beats the satisfying accomplishment after finishing a project like that!
- Become comfortable existing with yourself – so many of my extrovert friends feel an obligation to constantly be on the go and attending multiple activities. Now that you have a lot of freed up time, try taking time to quiet the voices in your head by picking up a relaxing hobby (drawing, knitting, watercolor, etc.) or practicing short forms of meditation (5-10 minute YouTube videos are a great place to start) instead.
- Get outside (safely and smartly) – if you are able to go outside for a walk or a run, sometimes just a change of scenery and seeing people from a distance can make you feel less alone and ease any stir-crazy feelings.
- Ask an introvert! I swear we don’t bite if you need ideas for how to spend your alone time.
If you’re wondering how I’m holding up, I’m honestly really enjoying nesting in my home! I’ve started organizing sections of my apartment and loved having my own schedule and everything being on my own time (outside of work, of course). Even though I do identify as more of an extroverted introvert (or “ambivert” – someone who bridges the gap between intro- and extro-), my introverted side is simply thriving right now and I’m embracing it! I may end up getting stir crazy, too, after a few weeks, but right now just following my introvert needs and intuition has been very restorative and not-stressful during this difficult time.
I hope you all remain healthy and safe over the next few months! I also hope that this helps provide you with some introvert insights and aids any of my extrovert readers during their time social distancing.
(Photocredits to Jenny – http://www.jennythepan.com )