7 Ways to stay sane as an extrovert in Self Isolation
"I got one hand on the Dettol, and one hand not giving a high five"
I think we can all agree that at the moment we collectively hate this episode of Black Mirror. Everything has come to a halt and we are all worried about our friends, our family and ourselves, however the one thing that’s going to make an impact more than anything right now is our mental health. Having the right outlook impacts how we survive this without going completely batshit crazy, and how we help each other. People on their own are calm and collected, whereas people in a group have about the same level of chill as a clowder of cats on catnip, (yes the word for a group of cats is a clowder). In this article I, an extrovert, am going to help you with ways not to completely fall down the rabbit hole, and use this time we have in limbo well.
1. Remember we said get off social media? Yeah that's cancelled.
Look I’m not saying that there isn't wonderful things to see and do outside of our screens, but right now social media is going to be our best friend when it comes to connecting with people we love. What I’ve seen from my community in entertainment in particular at the moment is just wonderful, with people banding together and creating content online to make people smile, and perhaps generate a little bit of earning along the way. If you have a talent, now is the time to share it, especially if you are a social creature like myself. I can usually spend three days at home before I’m itching to go out, sing, and generally be a part of Brighton’s buzzing nightlife, but at the moment as a friend said to me “we have to find a different way to take up space now”. So take up space, you never know who’s day you are going to make just by being yourself online. It’s time to actually comment on peoples work and experiences, and not just like them. Connectivity and communication is at our fingertips whether we are on the loo or working from home (you lucky bastards), so lets use it to our advantage.
2. Do the thing.
If you’re as extroverted as Elton John at a Christmas party in Vegas now is the time to continue with what makes you tick. Personally what makes me happiest is when I have created something or I have made peoples day/evening better, and just because I am currently writing to you from a pillow fort I set up in my bedroom it doesn't change that. Now is the time to do the project you’ve been putting off for whenever you had time, guess what, now you have the time because Mrs Rona decided that we aren't going anywhere. I’m going to write my book, paint pictures, and sing just as I would have if I were able to do it outside, except now I have to reach out digitally more than I have ever done before. For us folks who’s livings depend on being able to do live shows its important that we find another way of doing things, not just for the money, there's a reason we chose to do the job that we chose, find your accolades through other avenues. Rack your brain, you’ll think of something.
3. Be fucking kind
We are living through one of the most extreme disruptions to our way of living that most of us have probably ever witnessed, and the only way through it is to be good to each other. From massive lines at grocery stores to online doom and gloom posts its easy to pick the panicked side. Everyone is struggling to deal with our new way of life for the foreseeable future, and its more important than ever to figuratively hold hands, (not literally, coz Covid, wash your damn hands and keep them to yourself). If you have immunocompromised, elderly, or otherwise vulnerable neighbours or friends its time now to step up and help them as best we can whilst staying safe ourselves. As extroverted people human contact is essential to our happiness, this doesn't have to stop while we are all on lock down, but perhaps it can come from a more altruistic place.
When was the last time you truly asked if someone was okay? I know for myself that life gets so fast that sometimes we use up all of our energy on our own lives, and we kind of forget to check in on people that we wouldn't normally check in on more than once a month. We live in a digital age, pick up your phone and video call someone you haven't called in a while, (my friend did this at 11am yesterday morning three glasses of Prosecco in but I’m not judging, pandemic rules are airport rules). If relatives have never got the hang of technology before now is the time to tech them so you can see one third of their face while they hold the phone just a little lower than they should. Friends can talk now in four way video chats on so many platforms, as well as sending voice notes, (which I find to be slightly more personal to messaging, sometimes you just gotta hear a voice).
5. Its alright to go a bit numb for a while
Self care is massively important at the moment. The urge everyone is going to have is to use this time productively if you're an extroverted person, but the thing is that this may last a while, and overstimulating yourself too early may have you setting unrealistic goals for yourself in a short space of time. RELAX, a few days processing the madness that is happening is completely okay, do what you've got to do within reason. No one is going to bust down your door if you have a day or two ordering in and binge watching series on Netflix, as long as you realise when its time to dust yourself off, take a shower and get back to your life as normally as you can. Limit the negativity you see online too as in an effort to be informed we can often oversaturate ourselves with news sources, (not all of them credible). An idea that was put to me by one of my less talkative friends was to ask if someone has the mental capacity to talk about what’s going on right now, and to have it be okay if that person can’t be a shoulder to cry on at that moment in time.
6. Get your ass up.
Even walking to and from work isn't an option right now, so its super important to get up and actually move around. Don't sit in your pj’s all day because soon enough a novelty can spiral into depression. Dress for yourself the way you usually would if you were going out into the world, put on your make up (if you wear it) and do your hair as you normally would, and get as much physical activity in as you can. Open your windows or go sit outside if you can, as fresh air can have a huge impact on how you feel. We can also, still date although it may come as very long long long foreplay. We are going back to a time before casual hookups, so it might be a really good time to video chat the person you’d like to get to know and start a beautiful pandemic romance.
7. It will all be over soon
It will be over sooner than you think. One way I’ve found that really helps me to focus on when the sun is going to come up is to make a list of everything id love to do and buy after all this is over. As a hugely social creature, I find it really helpful to plan parties for when the Quarantine is over, right down to what I’m going to wear and what I’m going to sing. If you’re a holiday junkie now is the time to make a list of every place you’d love to visit, and make it your mission to do so once any travel restrictions are limited. Think big because your brain is going to have to have a lot of food to keep going. Speaking of food now is the time to cook meals rather than going out every chance you get, if you miss the social aspect why not connect with a bunch of friends and eat together! No one says gossip has to stop because Pizza Express is closed. Above everything else its just important to do what your brain and heart tells you to do, and embrace the new normal, its easy to feel like a big upheaval is stealing your identity, especially for a social creature, but we still are who we are, even if it means being present in a different way.