An introvert guide to surviving pandemic isolation and enjoying time alone
Introverts generally needed more time to feel the effects of the restrictions. I had let introverts share with me that it took months before they realized they really missed being with their friends. And some found it refreshing not only to be alone but also to have an automatic reason why they "couldn't go out".
But even for introverted people there comes a time when loneliness isolates itself and the thought of living as a hermit does not bring warm, vague feelings. When you find yourself in that uncomfortable place, there are steps you can take to feel lonely and rediscover that you are enjoying your time on your own.
Validate your feelings
People need social interaction. That's how we are wired. According to scientist Matthew Lieberman, author of Social, "the data suggests that we are deeply shaped by our social environment and that we suffer greatly when our social ties are threatened or broken.
Whether you like it or not, your well-being is intrinsically interwoven with the connection or lack of connection - your experience with others. And one of the things that really interests me about my time management coaching clients is that some of my introverted clients miss their colleagues as much as my extroverted clients. We underestimate the power of the small connection points, like talking about your weekend, that help us feel familiar and feel like we belong. The lack of these connections can cause a literal sense of pain and put your body in a state of chronic stress.
It is important to recognize that even as an introverted person you can suffer from loneliness. Validating your feelings rather than denying them is the first step to feeling connected to yourself and others again.
Meeting your needs
To get to a place where you can enjoy your time outside of people, you must first saturate your need for human connectedness. There is a reason why solitary confinement is a heavy punishment, even for people in prison.
Getting the connection you need can include a variety of methods depending on your health situation, social network, and the options available to you in your environment. To break the isolation, a personal meeting with someone you know is best if you can get together for a walk, dinner, or other activity. If that is not possible, a video call can evoke a sense of meaningful connection. And finally, if you don't have certain people, you can take advantage of the opportunities where people come together. It can be like attending a group event, a class, or even going to the store and shopping instead of doing curbs.
Since introverts don't naturally go in the direction of social activities, you probably need to plan ahead for the connection. If you wait until you feel tired and unmotivated at the end of your day, Netflix is likely to win. For example, you could text a friend on Monday morning to set a time to talk or to see each other later in the week. You'll be glad you did.
Invest in quality only time
As an introverted person, you may not need much social time to meet your connection needs. One or two meaningful moments with others a week might be sufficient.
So once you've established that, you'll want to invest in satisfying single time activities. Hours and hours of watching TV or scrolling on your phone will make you feel exhausted and more disconnected than ever. Consider instead exercising, reading, cooking, spending time on an artistic hobby, listening to music, working on something near your home, or doing any other activity you like.
If you have trouble deciding what those activities might be, think back to what you did when you had free time. Or think about how you spend your time when you're on vacation, which activities are most refreshing and rejuvenating for you? Then make a plan to invest in them.
If you've already thought about the book you're going to read after work or what you're going to cook, you're less likely to lie down on the couch with your phone and end up ordering takeaway meals because you're already starving before you've thought about making a meal.
As an introvert, the higher level of single time this winter can be a gift if you still take the time to connect and use your time wisely.
Was this article helpful?4 Posted by: 👨 Becky C. McGhee