If you’re reading this, then you’re probably anxious to leave the house and you haven’t seen your friends for too long. If that’s true, may we be the first to say — thank you! Thank you for doing your part to flatten the curve and save lives during this pandemic.
Now, we know you’re here for tips on surviving a quarantine as an extrovert.
Extroverts need other people’s energy to survive! They need adventures! Quarantine means isolation, silence, and sitting still and slowly dissolving into a puddle of boredom …right? WRONG!
We’ve got six actionable ways to stop feeling like a dud and start feeling better.
Here’s how to survive a quarantine, extrovert edition. (Psst, pass it on)
Panic #1: I won’t see my friends & family for months!
Well, actually: They aren’t unavailable to hang out, you’re just temporarily stuck in different buildings!
Here’s how to solve this. Switch to virtual hangouts!
Firstly, if you are under quarantine, please please DO NOT try to meet up in person and attempt to maintain social distancing. Someone will forget, someone is bound to touch a door knob, and then all those people stuck inside with vulnerable immune systems will stare at you through the windows and judge you.
Got a standing date with a friend? Keep it! Just switch it to online. Post-work happy hour at the pub near the office? Get everybody on Google Hangouts and BYOB. Missing your gym buddy? Schedule a home workout on Skype for the same time you’d normally be at the gym. Call your grandma on Fridays like you usually do. Keep it as close to normal as possible.
If you didn’t have anything planned, but you’re craving some socializing, reach out and offer to ‘host’ a virtual dinner party. Look for multiplayer games that have online versions. Find pals with complementary talents and make something together.
Panic #2: I feel so claustrophobic! My home is boring.
Well, actually: You’re right. But let’s not focus on what you can’t change. Focus on what you can.
We get it. Being stuck inside is not fun for anyone. But it’s ESPECIALLY hard for extroverts to survive quarantine because they thrive on new experiences. So how can we make quarantine more exciting?
First, do not spend the entire day in the SAME spot. Of course your home feels boring and claustrophobic if you stare at the same four walls every day. Don’t stay in bed from morning to night. Don’t sit on your couch for 12 hours. And don’t just sit at your desk or dining room table.
Move between the available spaces! Your body and your mind will thank you. Try choosing a different spot for each part of the day. Mornings on the couch, afternoons at your desk, and evenings in the kitchen. Think about where the best natural light is, too. Make sure you can enjoy that sun on your face at the time when it’s coming through the window. Coffitivity is a free app that generates ambient noise like you’re in a coffee shop. Figure out what helps, and plan for it.
You can also rearrange your space. Swap out some art work! Move your sofa. Start using your coffee table as a Japanese-style dining table. Get out your old acoustic guitar and lean it against the wall. Enjoy the freedom to experiment with your interior design. Now’s the time to make a change and figure out what you like, since you can always switch it back later.
Panic #3: Cooking for myself SUCKS.
Well, actually: If your biggest food worry is lack of cooking skills, then you have a lot to be grateful for.
After nurses and doctors, the people on the front line of this pandemic are grocery store employees and meal delivery workers.
Uber Eats is amazing, we agree. It’s essential for a lot of people, too. Meal delivery helps get food to people who work long hours, live in food deserts, or have accessibility challenges. Meal delivery folks are especially vulnerable during this time, but many keep working because they need the income. Lots of businesses have switched to take-out or delivery only.
To survive quarantine as an extrovert, you have two food options.
Option one, if you’re determined to order delivery, try to switch to a local business that might be hurting. Rather than ordering Dominos, look for a neighborhood pizza chain. And keep in mind that the virus can still be transmitted on plastic containers and delivery bags, and occasionally on food if it’s not heated thoroughly. Here’s a comprehensive guide to food safety and COVID-19. Option two, try to see this as your opportunity to learn more cooking skills. Odds are, your favorite dish isn’t too tricky to cook at home! There are a ton of amazing tutorials online, including some by master chefs. Or call up your mom and ask her to teach you her secret recipe. You have plenty of time to perfect your technique.
By cooking at home for just a couple weeks, you help minimize the exposure for everyone around you. You also help lessen the overall time we need to spend in quarantine. And hopefully, you gain a new appreciation for the act of feeding yourself.
Panic #4: I feel like I’m going to die without fresh air!
Well, actually: Depending on your area and what kind of quarantine you’re under, you don’t need to stay indoors 100% of the time.
This is a touchy topic. It’s absolutely true that people under 30 who don’t show symptoms are the biggest group currently spreading COVID. We feel fine, so we go out like normal. But unfortunately, non-symptomatic doesn’t mean you aren’t contagious. The virus takes time to make you sick, and you can even have it without showing symptoms, and then pass it on to someone else.
So use your best judgement here. If you have a patio or a backyard, then get your fresh air at home where you’re not putting anyone else in danger. Sit out with a chair and take deep breaths and soak it up. If you can go to a park or walk around the block alone while still keeping 6 feet away from other people, you might still be able to get fresh air and move your body. It’s harder in busier neighborhoods.
If you can’t go outside, then as a last resort you can fake it. To survive quarantine as an extrovert, sometimes we gotta do weird stuff. If you have a VR headset, thrown on a game that simulates a forest adventure or arctic exploration. Or just play an hour long video of waves crashing at a beach or a rushing river on your laptop. Throw open a window or turn on a fan! Sniff some sunscreen and imagine you’re outside.
Research shows that sensory stimulation like this can actually trick your brain into releasing the relaxing chemicals associated with being outside.
Panic #5: My partner / roommate / pet is annoying.
Well, actually: They’re stuck with you, too! Try to find a way to get some alone time inside the house.
This might seem like odd advice for an extrovert. But when you’re forced to socialize with the same one person for days on end, it can start to grate on your nerves.
Schedules are your friend right now. Let your housemate know that you’re not available between 9 and 5 because even though you’re home now, you’re still working. Tell your partner that you love them, and then tell them to go to the bedroom to take calls with their friends. Practice setting some boundaries of your own, and invite your housemates to do so with you, too.
And as all stay at home parents know, sometimes you just can’t escape the person in front of you. You’re stuck together and you have to make the best of it. Can you make it a game? Could you learn a new skill together? Can your relationship grow? Find some curiosity and have some grace – for them, and for yourself. Remember that it’s a trying time and we’re all just doing our best.
Panic #6: I have too much free time.
Well, actually: Lots of people need help right now. People with accessibility needs, parents struggling with childcare.
Free time can feel scary. This can be doubly true you have a mood or personality disorder, and it’s exacerbated during self-isolation. But if you are an extrovert trying to survive quarantine, free time doesn’t have to be scary!
If you function better with a schedule, then make one for yourself. Do you need accountability? Get your housemate onboard or schedule stuff with friends. If you’re new to working from home, start with these tips. Or if you’ve been laid off, schedule a couple hours each day toward looking for a job or skill building.
You can also start on projects that have been on your to do list for months. Tidy the desk, clear out that closet, mend that shirt, read that new book. Redesign your apartment. Or look for volunteer opportunities, whether virtual or close to home. Maybe you have elderly neighbors who need groceries delivered, or maybe someone with depression needs help meal planning with what’s in their cupboard.
Take care of your mental health, and take care of your community. A global pandemic is not the time to force yourself into intense productivity. Just because you’re an extrovert trying to survive quarantine doesn’t mean you should destroy yourself just to keep busy.
The world is going to look different when this is all over, and in some ways, that might be something to look forward to. Remember to be as generous as you can, with yourself and others. Who will you be when all this is over?