The world is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and as a result, here in Australia we’re in lock down. You know what I’m talking about… isolation.
It sounds like an introverts dream. But it’s not.
The introverted among us are now home with constant company. I’m talking home schooling children, partners also working from home, house mates who no longer have a job to go to, video calls, meetings – the list is endless. There’s a lot going on, this is a stressful time and it’s made all the more intense for introverts when constant connection becomes suffocating. Don’t forget, introverts are generally drained from time with others and energised by time alone. Isolation means minimal time alone…
Extroverts on the other hand have their own unique set of challenges when it comes to covid-19 isolation, but that’s a different conversation for a different blog.
The internet is keeping us all connected, which is great... until it isn’t. It can easily become too much for introverts. Put yourself in the shoes of an introvert – you recharge best when you’re alone… your house being filled with people is one thing, but now calendars are starting to overflow with work meetings and virtual coffee dates.
If you’re an introvert and your balance is off, you’re not able to recharge as you need to, then here are some things you can try in order to make isolation just a little more bearable…
Tips for introverts
during covid-19 isolation:
Learn to get comfortable saying ‘no’. If you’re exhausted by your calendar filling up with virtual happy hours you need to assert yourself and say ‘no’. No one (who matters) will think any less of you.
Don’t answer the phone if you’re feeling drained. Connection is good, but be aware of when you’re about to hit overload and protect yourself from crashing.
Assert your boundaries. Phone calls are open ended by nature, they can be short or long, there aren’t any expectations. Video calls on the other hand can feel a bit more like meetings so they come with this sense of needing to be a more substantial length. If the thought of a long catch up is overwhelming you can try letting your friends know you’ve only got time for a short call, or make it a phone call so there aren’t any time bound expectations.
Capitalise on any and every bit of alone time. When the stars align and you get time away from the people around you, make the most of it! Be intentional! Read that book, take that nap, go for that walk. Do what you need to in order to recharge. It’s not selfish, it’s necessary.
The stars aren’t magically aligning? Make them. Block out time in your virtual and real-life calendar, time to recharge. Alone.
Take a breath when you can. Literally pause and breathe deeply. Who knows how long it’s been since you’ve done that?? Just a minute or two of intentional breathing can feel like a holiday. You may want to check out the box breathing technique as a guide to get familiar with (breathe in for four counts, hold for four, breathe out for four, hold for four and repeat), or if you want a visual cue for mindful breathing you might like this breathing meditation video.
Get strategic. To have time to yourself but still contribute to meaningful connections you might like to write a good old-fashioned letter. It doubles as a great way to process and work through your thoughts and feelings to someone you care about.
Take the time to express yourself. Try to steal a few moments before your head hits the pillow to get lost in writing a journal. A lot of people are picking up journaling again right now in order to work through this stressful time of the global pandemic. It’s quite therapeutic and a useful form of self-expression for those deep thinking, internalising introverts. Maybe it’s something you can pick up too?
Be strategic about working alone time into your current schedule. Wherever in your schedule you currently get time to yourself, say maybe the shower or cooking dinner, simply tack just a couple of moments to it to steal away and do something for you. Meditate for a minute, lay down, listen to your favourite song, whatever it is that helps you reenergise. Tacking it to an existing part of your routine will help make it a habit. These habits are going to be really helpful sustaining you during isolation.
And last but definitely not least… COMMUNICATE! Let your partner know you need space, let your kids know you need a rest. They may well appreciate you setting the precedent so that they can make their needs known too. Communication will be the saving grace for your relationships while you’re in isolation. This is a brand new thing for everyone to learn to navigate.
Well there you go, this list isn’t exhaustive but hopefully it has sparked some ideas for how you can manage your needs as an introvert during COVID-19 isolation. Remember, every introvert is different in how they like to recharge and the level of interaction they’re comfortable with from day to day, so take these ideas and tailor them to your needs. This is a starting point.
I’d love to hear how you go and to support you through a successful isolation period. Don’t hesitate to get in touch to say hello, or to share what’s helped you manage isolation as an introvert. I’ll share your suggestions with my Instagram and Facebook community to help the other introverts out there. Who knows, it may even help extroverts like me better understand our introverted loved ones needs and better support them during this time of isolation.
Wishing you all the best during these turbulent times. Stay positive and be kind (that includes being kind to yourself right now more than ever)!