Nobody likes quarantine. Well, at least no body likes coronavirus. At all! It is tragic, terrifying, brings up feelings of loneliness and the whole world is in a collective grief. But as a major extrovert, all this being alone time is draining all my energy. Not being able to be around people is like not having that one nutrient you need. That one that prevents you from a chronic lethargy.
My introvert friends are feeling really differently. They are of course as heart broken as us extroverts at the human suffering, but are enjoying the alone time. Talking to my friend Stephanie Thoma who is such a self-proclaimed introvert, she even wrote a book about it, she let me know she is able to focus and get more done than ever without all the social distractions. Her distractions are my fuel.
So for us extroverts, what can we do to stay as together as possible, and make the most of this – don’t forget temporary – time. For me I am packing my calendar with as many Zoom meetings as possible, going on virtual dates, playing online games with groups such as Dreamers and Doers and Quilt, walking my cute doggo Pickles, and doing as many online co-working sessions as possible. It helps. It’s not as good as being around actual, physical people. But these do give me the needed bursts of energy and motivation to keep building towards the life I want when this is all over.
Photo of Pickles for awww factor, although even he has been sad not being allowed to play with other dogs and get scratched by people.
I also checked in with my fellow extroverts to see what tips they had for getting through quarantine as an extrovert.
Joanna Lovering – Style Coach at Copper + Rise and an organizational psychologist.
“I will admit, the quarantine has been really tough for me. As an extreme extrovert (the Myers-Briggs would label me as “very clear” on the “prefers extroversion” scale”), I get quite depressed and lethargic when I’m alone for an extended period. Although I live alone, I fortunately have a dog that I have to walk 4 to 5 times per day. Just those short 15-minute walks give me a dose of fresh air (well, I do live in NYC, so I’ll call it “fresh”) as well as the occasional neighborly “hello” that helps keep me going.
Without many social gatherings to attend, it’s important for me to actively reach out to my loved ones. Keeping in touch via texts, phone calls, and virtual gatherings via Zoom have been keeping me afloat. Also, some friends and I have recently joined Marco Polo (a “video walkie talkie” mobile app), so I get little snippets of them throughout the day.”
As an organizational psychologist trained in Myers Briggs, Joanna has further insight into what actually happens to extroverts when we are lonely:
“Carl Jung, one of the foremost psychologists of our time, coined the terms “introversion” and “extroversion” in 1933. It’s important to know how he defined them because, unlike popular belief, it has nothing to do with socializing. It has everything to do with where someone gets energy:
- Extroverts get energy from being around other people and things.
- Introverts get energy from themselves and the inner world of ideas and concepts.
An easy way to determine whether you prefer introversion or extroversion is to envision yourself in a crowded party full of strangers. You’ve spent the entire night socializing and getting to know everyone at the party. As you leave, are you exhausted and depleted (introversion) or are you energized and “alive” (extroversion).
While many introverts might find this pandemic can be a wonderful time of self-reflection, extroverts could be experiencing the complete opposite: the exhaustion of isolation. Since extroverts literally get their energy from other people, they could be debilitated by a lack of human contact. It’s important for extroverts to have social routines in place, even during a pandemic, as pick-me-ups.
Another reason extroverts might feel exhausted is because all of their thoughts remain in their heads without someone to talk to. Extroverts typically process outside of their heads and without a mechanism to get those thoughts out (i.e. another person), they could first experience frustration and pent-up energy, and then eventually exhaustion. So, now is the time for extroverts to have strategies in order to get their thoughts and energy out: staying physically and socially active is incredibly important right now.”
Elissa Weinzimmer – voice & presence coach and founder of Voice Body Connection
“I’m getting through quarantine by offering extra free voice & movement sessions to my community. I now have a very committed group of people who show up for twenty minutes at a time on zoom (either at 9am or 5:30pm eastern) and we all breathe and move and make sound together. It feels so great, and it bookends my work day.
I already spent a lot of time on Zoom before quarantine, but now I’m also using it to get together with family and friends. It may not be ideal, but it feels good to see familiar faces. And other things that help are roof gardening, socially distanced walks with my siblings and friends, giving my self a lot of hugs, and cuddling with my dog.”
“As people people our energy feeds off of the energy of others. New spaces and places excite and energize us and variety is key for our mental, emotional, and energetic health. During quarantine, I’ve found scheduling (actually scheduling) planned time to connect with friends and family is key because it creates something to look forward to that can guide us through the day, to the reward- socializing! AND if you’re missing that new people energy, I highly recommend Lunchclub, a networking community that uses AI to make 1:1 professional syncs for weekly video meetings. It’s the next generation of networking, powered by “the world’s first AI superconductor” and to be honest, the algorithm seems to work- I’ve loved the people I’ve met so far. If interested, message me on LinkedIn for an invite to join.
This experience is affecting everyone universally and simultaneously, also individually. The biggest thing is to recognize that everyone is going through it in some way and interacting with patience, understanding, and compassion is so important right now. Especially as many of us are entering month three of quarantine. Like many of you, I’m riding the waves of emotions as we think about and grieve “what was.” But I’m also so excited about what can come. A friend told me she’s closing her New York City cafe. For years, this cafe was an integral part of my New York experience. Thinking of its absence breaks my heart but thoughts of my friend’s new cross country life makes me so happy. Keeping this perspective and looking for opportunities to step into new versions of ourselves is a powerful silver lining.”
Rebekah Grmela – Founder at Right + Good Consulting
“I’ve been told before to clarify that we are getting through social isolation – quarantine is specifically for those diagnosed or at risk of COVID and recommended to stay home). I am getting through social isolation just like everyone else – finding creative ways to stay connected! Personally, I’ve gotten creative with online happy hours, Bingo games, Trivial pursuit and more. Professionally, I am trying to stay relevant and offer support to impacted businesses during this time.
I am having a bit of a delayed reaction to the social isolation. When it first began, I was completely on-board and optimistic about getting through the down time, work from home and more. Now that more time has passed, and it’s unclear how long we’re recommended to avoid others, I’m feeling a bit of fatigue and concern about building new relationships as an extrovert for my business.
The hardest part has been as more time passes – the less there is to talk about. It’s great to stay connected, but I feel pretty demotivated to share updates when nothing new but “work” has been happening online.”
“I really enjoy being able to “go live” on various social media platforms. Interacting and having a convo through those videos has lifted my spirits. Knowing and seeing in realtime that I am creating a moment of joy in peoples lives during this time makes my heart warm.
As an extrovert I am used to putting myself through the emotional ringer… this forced physical distancing has been hard. Noticing the difference between “social distancing” and “physical distancing” has been very key for me to wrap my mind around this COVID pandemic.
I could give ya a lot more on this topic, written word isn’t my fave way to describe my thoughts, so I look forward to hanging and chatting.”
Jessica Gupta – CEO at Taavi
“I get energy from my personal group of friends. And although we can’t physically be together right now, I am finding strength in the content of our phone calls and video chats. We have gone from hanging out and exploring the world to having deep, meaningful conversations about life, our values and what we need to feel energized. To be honest, some of our deepest conversations are occurring now as we watch the world change so drastically.
I originally thought it would be really hard for me to not be around my circle. Having socially distanced for 2 months, I am a) learning so much about myself and what I need to feel energized/supported and b) realizing that friendships aren’t all about being in person hanging out….so much of a friendship is based on having real conversations about values and perspectives, which can so easily be done over a phone call or video chat. Yes, I miss the physical hug or activities we used to do, but honestly, I think our relationships will be stronger and more real post COVID.”
Katie Livornese – Jennifer Brown Consulting
“The COVID crisis is impacting everyone in some way and extroverts have been presented with lots of challenges. By nature, extroverts get their energy from other interacting with others. Without that ability, it’s extremely hard to function at your best. As an extrovert, I have felt low energy, groggy, sad, and have even had trouble sleeping.
In order to combat this, I’ve implemented a few strategies. Firstly, I have set up weekly phone calls with various friends and family who make me feel particularly energized. Sometimes it’s just catching up and commiserating, and sometimes it’s activities such as virtual yoga. We’ll hop on a zoom line and do a virtual yoga class together. I’ve also started going for daily 30 minute walks. Just getting out of the apartment and seeing others from a distance provides some comfort. Finally, I’ve tried to spend this time partaking in solitary activities that give me a sense of satisfaction i.e. puzzles and baking. When I put in the work and see a final result, I feel a sense of accomplishment, which is a huge mood booster during a time when my productivity overall has taken a hit.”
So while no one is enjoying this, and us extroverts are completely drained, we can get through this and there are things that can make it easier. Let’s stay #sane #social and #safe.