As an introvert who works from home, I’m used to being socially distant from people for the better part of each week. For most of us, though, the coronavirus quarantine is way outside our normal way of life. Even many introverts are discovering they miss being around people more than they thought they would. Humans are social creatures, and we all need other people to a certain extent.
For me personally, I know from a week spent house-sitting that I don’t do well if I’m completely isolated for more than a couple days. Thankfully I live with family, so I’m not too terribly lonely even with the quarantine. But I know there are many people who live alone, or who are stuck in situations where the people they live with aren’t safe to be around, or who are so extroverted that just having a couple other people in the house isn’t enough to keep them from going stir-crazy.
Thankfully, your introverted friends have been preparing for just this sort of situation. We’re full of good ideas for how to spend your time when you can’t (or don’t want to) be around other people. Since we’re stuck at home anyway we might as well make the most of it, so here are an introvert’s best tips for how to put your time in social isolation to good use.
Keep In Touch
As I’ve said before, introverts need people too. We all (to varying degrees) need a certain amount of human interaction to keep mentally and even physically healthy. Thanks to modern technology, there are plenty of ways to do that without actually being in the same room as the other person.
Phone calls are a great way to keep in touch. I used to hate the phone, but now I’ve changed my mind just enough that I’m happy to spend hours talking with a few close friends. If you really want to communicate with someone calling is a faster way with more immediate feedback than text or email. But if phones aren’t your thing (or, like me, there are only a very few people you feel comfortable calling), then write a letter or send an email or shoot someone a text.
Read A Book
Reading has long been a favorite at-home activity for both introverts and extroverts. If you have not been hoarding books like the apocalypse is coming and you might be the last library left in the world (I have 1,100+ books on my shelves), then you can order some online, download ebooks, or turn to our local library.
Many libraries have closed their physical locations, but there are still digital libraries available. Check out your local library to see if they offer digital library cards. I like using the Libby app because it makes it easy for me to send digital library books to my Kindle app. I’ve been using it quite a bit this past week, even though I have a book hoard, because I’ve been reading a series that I don’t own and I didn’t want to stop just because the library shut down.
Watch Something Online
Now is the perfect time to catch up on that series everyone’s talking about, watch those Oscar winning movies you’ve been meaning to see, or try out something new. You won’t want to spend all your time in front of the TV, but it’s a good way to kill extra time if you don’t know what else to do.
I recommend Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood on Netflix, Newsies: The Broadway Musical on Disney+, or The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime (this one’s an adult show, the others are more kid-friendly). There are plenty of free things to watch, too. The Metropolitan Opera is streaming shows each weeknight for those shut in because of the coronavirus. The digital library card you got so you can download ebooks may also let you watch films off Hoopla. And there’s always YouTube.
This is one I’m not as familiar with, but I know multi-player video games are one way that many introverts spend their time and connect with others. One of my friends, who is currently in-between jobs, told me even before social distancing most of his social interaction happened by playing online games with other people.
My own gaming is usually table-top based, so I’ve been working on a way to host remote games for my gaming group that normally meets in-person once a month. I’ve also taken advantage of having everyone stuck at home to teach my parents how to play Catan. If you’re quarantined with someone one and are looking for some games to try out, I like Catan, Carcassonne, Smash Up, and Damage Report.*
- Note: these links above are affiliate links, which means if you click on the games and make a purchase I’ll receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.
Clean The House
I’m not great at keeping things tidy on a regular schedule. Usually cleaning happens when I sit down to focus on editing an article and then procrastination hits in a sudden urge to deal with the dust that has been piling up for the last week. I’ll also clean in bursts when the clutter hits a point where it irritates me, or if people are visiting, or if I have a bunch of energy I don’t know what to do with.
Cleaning is a great way to get rid of restless energy and bring some order to your life. We can’t control the pandemic or other people’s responses to it, but we can make sure the kitchen towels are neatly folded and the floor is vacuumed. It’s amazing how much of a difference de-cluttering and organizing can make in how centered you feel.
Care For Yourself
Speaking of feeling centered, being stuck at home is a great time to develop a mindfulness practice. Practicing mindfulness can also help with stress, anxiety, and depression so that’s an added bonus during these uncertain times. So spend some time journaling. Find guided meditation videos that you can relax with. Take up yoga. Go to bed and wake up at a consistent time each day. Practice self-care.
I’ll confess I’m kind of hit-and-miss with many aspects of self-care. I stay up too late writing, I give up on meditation when my mind starts wandering, and sometimes I’ll go weeks without journaling. One thing I do make sure to keep up with is my daily yoga practice. It’s a great tool for connecting mind,body, and breath and I’ve noticed it doing great things for my mental, emotional, and physical health.
Lying on the couch binge watching Netflix might sound like a great idea when you’re first told to stay home, but eventually most of us will get tired of that. And though it might seem comforting to stay wrapped in a blanket cocoon watching TV, it really won’t do anything to help lift up your spirits or keep you healthy.
While we have been instructed to practice social distancing, unless you’re in a strict quarantine most of us are still allowed to go outside our homes. You can go for a walk or a run at a nearby park. If you have to stay home or there isn’t a nearby park, then maybe you have some unused exercise equipment gathering dust that it’s time to dig out of storage and start using. Or, to go back to the idea of yoga, that’s an exercise that you can do that without any special equipment (having a yoga mat’s a good idea but even that’s not required) I recommend Yoga With Adriene’s YouTube channel for a great at-home practice.
Do Something Creative
What better way to spend your social isolation time than creating something? I’ve mostly been writing lots of fiction, and there’s also some sewing projects I have ready to work on. I also have a giant plastic tub full of yarn that I could do something with if I get really bored. I like crafting and creating anyway, so this isn’t really anything new for me.
If you want to try writing and need some motivation, 4TheWords is a great website that lets you gamify your writing (you’ll fight monsters and unlock new quests as you write more words). For something more hands-on, Pinterest is a great place to find craft projects like this DIY lightsaber from the plumbing aisle (I finished mine a few weeks ago). Or maybe it’s time to take up a new hobby and learn a musical instrument, start a garden in your backyard, study a new language, or learn to dance with the people who are stuck in your home with you (this is a link to my friend’s new YouTube channel — she’s a great teacher so subscribe if you’d like to learn ballroom dance).
We’re living in scary times. But that doesn’t mean we need to panic or sit in our homes and do nothing. Let’s make the most of our time spent at home by connecting with friends, practicing self-care, and doing fun activities we might not otherwise have time for.
Since there isn’t yet a reliable treatment or a vaccine for coronavirus, it’s important that we carefully follow social distancing guidelines to create a “social vaccine” and slow the spread of this pandemic. I know most of are trying to stay informed about what’s going on, but it can be hard with so much conflicting information swirling around. With that in mind, I’m going to end this post by sharing a fact based, thoroughly-researched overview of what the coronavirus is and what we can do. Stay healthy, my friends!
Featured image credit: Pexels via Pixabay