Many social butterflies have found themselves in a strange space of discomfort. Stay-at-home orders are popping up everywhere, and the world is facing a social distance order. It’s forcing the extroverts to turn to introverts for help in solitude, unable to handle the silence and stillness that has been thrust upon their lives.
As a proud introvert, my life has returned to silence from chaos (or at least it was before I got engaged and now have to navigate wedding planning when no one is open for business). The silence and stillness has helped me return to an inner place of peace that I love. To others, it might be a terrifying experience to be alone with one’s thoughts. To me, it’s perfect.
If you’re struggling, here is how you can practice embracing the silence and stillness of social distancing and staying at home.
Rediscover your priorities
I can guarantee that unless you’re a minimalist, before this pandemic you were running around with so much to do. You had to be at three different locations at once, you were taking on seven projects and running an errand at the same time, or you spent countless hours wasting time scrolling social media. You were the opposite of still.
Now that we are in quarantine with “nothing to do,” I bet you’ve had days where you’ve scrolled to the ends of your social media feeds and run out of entertainment. Tell me, how much better is your life after consuming that information?
This isn’t meant to shame you, because I do it too. We all need a break or to catch up with friends. But think about some of the things you’ve neglected back when you were able to leave your house. What happened to that puzzle you kept meaning to finish? That painting? That book you wanted to write or read? That closet you wanted to clean out?
What about the friend you never kept in contact with but kept meaning to reach out and congratulate for her recent endeavor? Have you lost touch with a part of your spirit that you want to reclaim? Use this time to rediscover what is important in your life. Instead of turning to the mundane or easy things, think about what could enrich your life. Where can you return to your happiness and passion?
Take inventory of your positives
Negative news is everywhere, but we can control how we respond. If your social feed is full of hate, remove the friends or remove the feed. Fill your life with positivity. If you need to get news but constantly feel drained or anxious when you see negativity, talk to a friend about delivering updates to you. Have them give you a digest of important updates rather than negative stories blaming others or reciting failed measures.
Many people have started a gratitude practice during this time as well. It can come as meditation, as a journaling practice, or simply as a morning ritual where you stand in front of the mirror and name things you’re thankful for. Just reciting the things that bring you comfort in this time of uncertainty can help you lean into and embrace the silence and find a place of stillness.
Connect with your values
If everything is a priority, nothing is, and the same goes for your values. Having a list of things you value or guidelines that you live by is great, but when that list carries on forever it can be hard to give everything the attention it deserves.
Take a look at your values and consider rearranging them. For example, one of my values is creativity. Before the quarantine orders, I had to actively schedule creative pursuits into my day — namely, writing. Now, that value has become much easier to accomplish, plus I’m more motivated with Camp NaNoWriMo goals. Since scheduling creativity doesn’t put as much pressure on me as before, I’ve been able to move a different value, relationships, to the forefront. I’ve used this time to connect with others, keep my writing group functioning virtually, and reach out to friends I’ve lost touch with.
Find new inspiration
With new routines comes a new challenge — finding inspiration where it wasn’t before. Many people found their excitement outside of the home in conversations, travel, adventure, or public events. Now we are forced to be creative under new circumstances.
Think about how you can embrace new challenges. Musicians are holding live performances on social media platforms. Artists are giving away their work or sharing their art in new ways. People are teaching crafts and helping others come to terms with a new stillness in life.
Look inward and think about your talents. How can you deliver these skills in a new way? Can you come up with a way to deliver your work product or service under new quarantine rules? Can you revolutionize how your passion is delivered to your audience? Can you do something you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time to pursue?
Remove expectations and pressure
“You can’t edit a blank page.”
It’s common writing advice when a writer faces a block. Instead of focusing on creating the perfect scene or making the chapter final draft ready, you focus on just creating something. You write glorious garbage, as I have once said, and in the future you edit it into perfection.
The same goes for anything you’re doing now — and I mean anything. Everyone around you seems to be thriving or creating, yet you’re here struggling… and that’s okay. Guess what? You don’t have to create anything. You don’t have to become the next best meditator. You don’t have to go run five miles every day just for an escape. You don’t have to revolutionize a video chat or cure a disease.
All of these expectations and pressures are only there if you let them. Let yourself feel the stillness and silence and not know how to handle it. Try something and fail without feeling like a failure. Because you are just doing you. It’s imperfect and beautiful and it’s yours. Do what you need to do during this time of uncertainty and don’t feel stressed if everyone seems to be doing more. Stay within yourself and believe in your capabilities.
If you need advice on tapping into your inner stillness and silence, I’ll help you out!
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