There have been a ton of social media posts jokingly suggesting how perfectly suited introverts are for this COVID-19 pandemic. In some respects perhaps that’s true but because of how this has all panned out so far… no, not so much.
I am an introvert but one that has learned to shift towards the middle and be more extroverted when I need or want to. At the same time I recognize when I am feeling overwhelmed or just plain done and need to retreat into some form of solitude to recharge my batteries. Introverts will understand this. You know, when it’s just to “peoply” out there!
If you happen to be further to the extreme of introversion then you likely feel this more intensely and more often or in more situations than I do. And if you’re an extrovert this might not make any sense. When around others your energy ramps up and you feed off of it, right? Please hear me out as you can help your introvert friends and family right about now.
With the shifting environment over the past few weeks you have seen schools closed for your kids. Now they are at home full time. You have seen people directed to work from home to isolate and lessen the risk of spreading the virus. You have also seen people’s businesses close. Now everyone is at home.
It’s a reality we all need to live and one we all hope ends and returns to some form of new normal sooner than later. In the mean time, especially if you’re an introvert who is a solopreneur who usually works from home as I am, the “noise” from everything has been turned up… way up!
Challenges Facing Introverts Social Distancing
Email Overwhelm (and all social media too!)
Okay so maybe not too big a deal for many but email inboxes are being flooded by everyone with their COVID-19 updates, plans, reassurances, check ins, and all sorts of other things. Email and social media noise is way up!
Zoom and other ways of video chatting has been a blessing. Working from home you can easily do one to one meetings for business, new training, networking, running your business, one to one connections with friends and family, group zooms with different friend groups, each side of your family, and even connections with people you have not connected with in a long time. Now don’t get me wrong. Continued social connection and being able to stay in touch when you cannot do so in person is wonderful.
But the Zoom demand is also way up and for introverts there is a line for each of us where it becomes overwhelming. It becomes mentally and emotionally draining. We introverts love some social connection too. Just not too much!
Your spouse and kids are now there all the time. That alone time you were used to, and that most people seemed to think makes this so easy for you as an introvert, is not there anymore.
Now, if you’re an extrovert, you might think what’s the big deal. Suck it up buttercup! Well, just as you extroverts need social connection, introverts need times of solitude. We don’t need it all the time and each person has different needs but we do need it. It’s what everyone thought we’d be fine with but it’s not what is really there right now.
So, as I posted last week, we introverts do need to stretch outside our comfort zone to reach out and connect with our extrovert friends and family to help you get what you need most right now. Similarly if you’re more of an extrovert please understand what your introvert friends might be needing in a given moment and support them in getting it.
Here are some tips for introverts to do and extroverts to keep in mind about your introvert friends needs.
What Introverts Social Distancing Might Need Most Right Now
- To turn off your notifications to all social media and plan to check email and social media at specific times only. Might be a good time to unsubscribe from emails you no longer want or need (or didn’t ask for in the first place).
- To create a space for work or just to be alone for a bit when you need it.
- To ask for time to be by yourself (I like going for a run) to recharge and be better able to be there for family, friends, and work after you’ve done so.
- To choose to NOT engage in a zoom call now and then if feeling overwhelmed.
- To have extroverts please check in to ask what is needed from them from time to time as introverts aren’t as likely to ask themselves.
Introverts social distancing isn’t happening as easily as you might thing. But we’ll all go through this so much more easily and happily when we do as Stephen Covey says… seek first to understand.
Supporting one another in the ways the other person needs will be appreciated and much more effective than doing what you’d want for yourself!
If you’re struggling with your transition to being at home, working or not working, and looking ahead contact me. I can help.