“Social Distancing” is NOT an introvert’s paradise

Would you believe me if I told you it is a gray, bleak day? Well it is, but this wooded setting brings us to believe otherwise. Nature’s energy is running wild and I can literally feel it radiating throughout the woods, penetrating my body. I wish you were here, but then again I am glad you are not. I am an introvert. This is my happy place, my escape from reality, and it provides the perfect introduction to today’s post.

What distinguishes an introvert from an extrovert? Put in simple terms, while I preface that I am not a medical professional, extroverts thrive and replenish their energy levels by being around people. Introverts thrive and replenish in solitude. Right there, social distancing may come across as a non-issue for those of us who carry preference to be away from social settings. So I will put in simplest terms, 6 feet is too far for social distancing extroverts; well social distancing introverts would prefer to multiply the prescribed 6 feet by 10. As an introvert, I have formulated two primary observations during the COVID-19 pandemic to suggest social distancing has its challenges for those of us who tend to steer clear from social settings.

1. Being home with family members, friends, roommates, or any other living being with a conscious, creates a challenge to find the alone time needed to recharge and reset. Libraries, coffee shops, beaches and many parks are closed. EVERYONE is home ALL of the time.

2. For those of us who have transitioned to a remote working status, while we may not be face to face with our colleagues, we may find ourselves on conference calls ALL DAY LONG. Personally, I find that I am talking to people more during this period of remote working than when I was going into the office! Additionally, I lost a 50-minute commute to and from work, which I now look back at and appreciate as it was a daily scheduled block of time during which I was alone. Just me, myself and I.

With every problem though, there is a solution.

1. To all the introverts at home with family members, friends, roommates, or any other living being with a conscious, FIND THAT ALONE TIME YOU NEED to recharge and reset. Take a step outside; find a soft mossy rock or lawn of grass [or lawn of weeds in my case]; take a seat or lie down and breath in those terpenes. Perhaps you could bring along a book, a journal or go ahead and step out empty handed. Open your mind and heart up to Mother Nature’s surrounding grace. Set your intention, repeat it over and over in your head, or SHOUT it out loud. Focus on the moment.

In this moment, my intention is to leave the world behind and focus on ME.

(If I could bold the above bolded font, I would...)

This is your time. We tend to focus on the face masks and gloves to protect our physical health during these times. We need to put as much, if not more, focus on our mental health. We are in the midst of a collective healing process, and we all have different styles and/or needs for coping. Take this opportunity to learn more about yourself and what you need to get through this.

2. For those of us who are able to work remotely, we may not be face to face with our colleagues but we may find ourselves on video conference calls ALL DAY LONG. Some of us may notice that we are interacting with our coworkers more in our remote status than when we were going into the office. I no longer have my 50-minute commute to and from work [which has been great for the life longevity of my car as well as the thickness of my wallet.] So now instead of jumping in my car to go to work at 7:30 a.m., I find myself running outside to my sit spot in the woods, practicing tai-chi, reading a book, working on a jigsaw puzzle, watching the birds at the feeders while I sip my morning coffee or best yet- I will find myself sitting in the most beautiful silence while the rest of the house remains asleep. (In order to make the latter happen, I do wake up at 5:30 a.m.) Where there is a will there is a way.

Now for those of you who have gotten this far and are not sure what side of the spectrum you fall in: extrovert or introvert, I am sure there are plenty of online quizzes out there but I will challenge you to stretch your mind and answer just one question, How do YOU get your energy? And if you are not sure, now is the perfect opportunity to start observing yourself and listening to how your mind-body-soul responds. A lesson more valuable than anything you could Google search.

In closing, while you are hanging out at home, I would encourage both introverts AND extroverts to pick up a copy of Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. A worthwhile and reflective read for anyone who is or knows an introvert; as well as for those who still are not sure where they fall in the spectrum. This book has helped me professionally, socially and spiritually. If you decide to give it a read, please reach out as I would be interested in hearing your thoughts.



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