How I've coped with the lockdown as an extrovert
Updated: Jun 9, 2020
I'm writing this on a Sunday evening while I'm reflecting on my weekend and how due to lockdown, I've filled my time very differently and surprisingly been coping much better than I honestly thought I could. I identify as being an extrovert which according to the Oxford Learners Dictionary means I'm ‘a lively and confident person who enjoys being with other people’. I've always preferred going 'out out' and being surrounded with people than staying in. Sharing my thoughts and feelings with others and spontaneity is my forte.
However, being in lockdown has made me confront my extroversion in a way that I hadn't expected. It's made me recognise that introversion and extroversion exist on a fluid scale and are not binary concepts. Many of us flick between them depending on our mood, environment and the people surrounding us. And this lockdown has forced me to embrace introversion and be at peace with it.
Lockdown has taught me that I can survive just fine without many things I thought were "essential". I don't need to always attend gym group classes, working out at home is just as effective. I don't need to schedule back to back brunch dates every weekend, actually resting and enjoying a weekend at home is just as fun.
For example, this is how I've spent this weekend:
Deep cleaned (hinching is the correct new term, thanks to Mrs Hinch!) my room, bathroom and kitchen. I spent around 5 hours doing that.
Tried out a new recipe and made grilled chicken tikka with tandoori-like grilled potatoes.
Finished my rainbow lion painting which I spent several weeks working on.
Video called my friends and we stayed up all night till 2 am discussing Black Lives Matter and what we've learnt from the past week and our own experiences
Did a Kayla Itsines BBG Full body workout
Ran 3 km in the park because I'm training for a half marathon but my legs were too tired to carry on
Went grocery shopping at my local Sainsburys
Ordered a Chinese feast from a local Chinese restaurant
Caught up with friends and family on video calls
I'm feeling content and productive about my weekend, but pre-covid a weekend like this without exploring a new restaurant/place in London, being surrounded with friends or attending a group fitness class would have left me unsatisfied and restless. I must admit though, I still find myself daydreaming of hosting dinner parties and brunches and having a house full of laughing friends.
So I wanted to share my top tips and coping mechanisms on how to deal with lockdown as an extrovert.
1. Try the latest social apps to stay connected
Keeping in contact with my friends and family through video calls has created a feeling of connectedness with others. I've watched Netflix with friends, organised a family general knowledge quiz and had group zoom and house party video calls which have emulated hanging out in the same space.
2. Schedule coffee breaks with colleagues
I've missed the short catch ups on the way to the vending machine or around the coffee machine at work, so I've scheduled group and one-to-one virtual coffee breaks with my friends and colleagues at work to replace the stimulation of workplace interactions which is now missing. But make sure you don't discuss work stuff otherwise, it's just another meeting!
3. Engage in activities that stimulate and energise you
During lock down I've started training for a half marathon, joined several Instagram live dance classes, started and restarted several fitness programs. The pace, energy and loud pumping music I've found to be really stimulating and energising.
I've also spent more time painting and starting up my own blog, so definitely do things that excite and energise you!
4. Practise self-care and carve out 'me time'
Listen to your mind and body and practice self care in whatever shape or form that suits you. For me that's been applying hair oil treatments, an excessive amount of face masks, sorting out life admin I've been putting off, devoting more time to focus on my personal finances, cooking and baking new recipes, painting more and reading books I just haven't found the time to read.
It's also important to unwind from all the social interactions, work video calls and screen time. Video fatigue is real people! I've felt so drained after working days with 5+ video calls,
Until the lock down, I rarely carved out space for ‘me time’ but now I intentionally set more time to do nothing just so I can relax and unwind.
5. Develop a routine
During workdays I've been getting fully ready as I would normally prepare myself for a workday in the office. For instance, by setting my alarm at the same time every day, sitting down for my morning coffee, putting on smart casual wear (or something other than my PJs!). I even bought a fancy coffee machine to make a variety of coffees for me at home, because I love my coffee!
I also set up a workspace with a second monitor and laptop stand, same as what I had in the office, so it's a workspace I feel comfortable to work in. I just need to replace my dining chair with an office chair to feel completely at work while working from home.
Fundamentally, this lockdown has taught me a lot, and forced me to confront some my own worst fears – and I have to admit, it has been far less painful than I thought. I have learned to enjoy my own company, and realised the importance of making time for myself. I definitely don't think I'll be in a rush to go back to my old ways!