An Extrovert’s Journey through Months of Social Distancing
by Steph Beth Nickel
I gave up listening to the news … well, when one still did so at 6:00 PM on network television.
And then the headlines became virtually unavoidable thanks to the worldwide web.
And then … COVID-19.
Our world changed overnight.
Some people got sucked into the 24/7 coverage of the virus. Some tried to avoid it altogether. Whether sheltering in our homes or trying to live life as we’ve always done, there’s no denying our world has changed. But what about us?
You might think that introverts aren’t struggling as much as extroverts, but that’s oversimplifying the situation. (Click to tweet)
It’s one thing to choose to come apart and recharge your batteries. It’s another thing to be told you have no choice. For those living on their own, it can become very lonely—depressing even. And no matter how much introverts love their family, it may be challenging to share the same four walls with them day in and day out.
And while there are memes about how difficult social distancing and sheltering in place have been on those of us who are extroverts, there is another side to the story.
Given, I share my home with my hubby, and we love spending time together. I have been allowed to continue working—while keeping my social distance from co-workers and keeping the doors of the church locked. That has made it easier on me than many people.
Plus, I have discovered how nice it is to have fewer obligations. Sure, I have a mile-long To Do list, but most things are far less time-sensitive than before. There are fewer people counting on me to be at a certain place at a certain time on a certain day.
Still, there have been indicators of how this situation has affected me. Can you relate?
- I spent so much time talking to my pastor that he had to admit he’d become frustrated. He is a task-oriented introvert. So, you can see the challenges with the two of us working together at the best of times. (I often refer to myself as “an extrovert on steroids.”)
- Although I didn’t spend much time watching the news, I was aware of what was going on. I’d spend the evening on the couch, overwhelmed by the surreal days we are living in, and often fall asleep early. (I may be an early bird, but I didn’t used to fall asleep before 8:00.)
- I became mildly resentful when I got the impression that someone thought I should be doing more. I suppose I was well-aware already of what I wasn’t getting done and couldn’t imagine taking on anything more. To an extent, I became withdrawn. I haven’t reached out to family, friends, and neighbours the way others have, even others who would normally find it more difficult than I do.
But during this time there have been many blessings as well.
- My pastor confessed that he had become frustrated. I explained that talking was my way of processing the situation. And we settled into a routine that has been better for both of us.
- Some evenings I still fall asleep early, but those evenings are fewer and further between. Now, I intentionally go to bed between 9:00 and 10:00 and get up at 4:00, so I can get some things done when I’m fresh and (somewhat) more raring to go.
- While not having as many obligations as pre-COVID, restrictions have begun to ease up some, and I’ve been sharing my space, at a safe distance of course, with more people. And, wow, have I missed it! I’m still a little overwhelmed with all the changes we’re going to have to implement going forward, but I look forward to seeing people I haven’t seen in months—even if I can’t give them a hug. I didn’t realize how much I’d missed being around them.
How about you? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Alone or sharing your space with family? How have you been coping these last few months?
I’d spend the evening on the couch, overwhelmed by the surreal days we are living in. (Click to tweet)
I look forward to seeing people I haven’t seen in months—even if I can’t give them a hug. (Click to tweet)
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Steph Beth Nickel is an editor, writer, and birth doula. If you would like more information about her services, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org;
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or visit her website-in-progress: nurtureandinspire.com.