Ever since this whole Covid-19 thing started, little jokes about the introvert knowing how to manage in a time of isolation have gone around the internet, repeatedly. I guess to some extent, it’s true. We do know how to be alone, but this situation is much more extreme than the norm, even for introverts.
Being an introvert in captivity, I find myself suffering from cabin fever, which is kind of a new concept for me. I actually miss running errands. I feel my motivation for writing waning, and my ideas are few and far between. I really have to dig because my source of inspiration usually comes from my activity out in the world. Conversations I overhear, things I see in the windows as I pass by, or a feeling I get when I’m people-watching.
I go out for bike rides or walks, when the weather allows, but I do live in the Pacific Northwest, so the weather doesn’t always cooperate. Let’s be honest, it rarely cooperates.
I think, for me, it’s a combination of things. Covid-19 brought a lot with it. Not only are we facing seclusion, but we were getting ready to buy a home, then my husband lost his job, so we’re faced with some serious financial obstacles. On top of that, my dog of 18 years is going downhill rapidly. These things, combined, have brought on a lot of stress and difficulty….and I know it’s something we’re all having to go through together –
only it doesn’t feel like we’re together.
How can we still connect without being near each other? I’ve been making a few fleeting connections, through my social networks, and that helps a little, whether it’s just a quick introduction, replying to comments, or helping each other figure out a technical issue. These small interactions make me feel just a little bit more human.
Oh, and reaching out to family over the phone. Yes, the phone. I know, but this might be a good time to give it a try. Texting works too, of course.
In the beginning, I would still venture out to my doctor’s office for visits (I have medical issues) and I was even grateful for the small talk I normally dislike so much, if that tells you how desperate I am for at least some social interaction.
Many of my neighbors have been outside, walking their dogs and playing with their kids, and we all still talk to each other, at a safe distance, even if only a brief “hello” and a smile.
A smile can do wonders in times like this. Somehow, it makes us feel a sense of normalcy, like everything will (eventually) be ok.
“This, too, shall pass”, as they say.
On the upside, nobody in my family is sick, and I’m extremely grateful for that. I also feel blessed that we have a little money to fall back on, even without my husband working. It makes things a little bit easier to manage for the time being.
I love that my children are here with us, as we don’t get to see them as often as we’d like, so I feel thankful that they have returned, for however long they decide to stay with us. They bring laughter and new topics of conversation into our home.
I think it’s important to remember the positive things in our lives, no matter how small or large. Things like listening to music, time with family, getting lost in a good book, enjoying the sunshine (when it’s out), work, experimenting in the kitchen with new recipes, making something, working out, gardening, etc.
Let’s also not forget that we can get in the car and go for a long drive with the windows rolled down and the music turned up. It makes me feel like I’m headed somewhere, but I don’t really need a destination, do I?
There is actually a lot to do and appreciate.
Creating a Routine
My youngest daughter is home due to the fact that her college has been shut down, including her graduation this year. Despite that, she has really gotten her Covid-19 routine down.
She wakes up in the morning, does her homework and chores, eats a late breakfast, then goes for her run, comes back and does a YouTube strength training workout, reads, has lunch, then enjoys the rest of the afternoon with her leftover free time, like playing games with the family, binge-watching a Netflix show, or responding to texts and emails.
She recently spent a whole day creating a beautiful vision board.
My oldest daughter is with us because she ended a long-term relationship and needed a place to stay. She is currently transitioning from working for someone else to working for herself. She is building an online business, which has become a big part of her daily routine.
The power of having a routine is that it can really help alleviate the melancholy and boredom that can come into play in a situation such as this. It guarantees that you’ll always have something to do and provides a backbone for your mental health. Having a routine is something I lack, but hope to incorporate successfully in the coming weeks.
Our State of Mind
For awhile, my anxiety crept in with feelings of fear and of being trapped in my home, but going outside really helped with that, and I think changing my thought process about this whole situation has put a damper on the negative thinking.
Instead of thinking about what I couldn’t do or where I couldn’t go, I started to consider the possibilities of what I could do. I thought about all the times that I’ve put something off because I just didn’t have time to do them.
Well, guess what? Now, I do.
I have unfinished craft and personal projects, boxes still packed in the garage, paperwork that needs to be taken care of, tons of new recipes that still need to be tried out, and videos that need to be edited.
They’re not all fun things to do, but I have more time on my hands to get them done, and when I do, there will be the lovely side effect of feeling like I accomplished something.
So, I can be the introvert in captivity, complaining and feeling depressed or I can open myself up to the possibilities this newfound time has to offer me.
What will you do with your extra time?