I swore to myself I wouldn’t post about the issue that the world is facing, but since there’s a ton of negativity going on about it, I figured I’d do a 180 with these posts and give some advice. In the event that this is read far in the future for whatever reason, I’m referring to the COVID-19 pandemic that has swept the world and consequently, my country of the United States. It’s been a crazy experience thus far for everyone, but especially those in health care that actually deal with it first hand, but also those that are either out of work or suspended until further notice due to isolation orders. No matter a person’s situation, they are affected by it in one way or another. Most states are ordering a stay of location, meaning it is strongly advised to stay home unless it is absolutely necessary. With all this, panic is rampant among the weak minded and paranoid, assuming that means they can never leave their home ever again. What follows is shortage of basic necessities in stores, like the treasured toilet paper. What this also means is people are being encouraged to stay in isolation until further notice, which results in some types of people to literally lose their minds. I’m going to go on a small tangent here, but will feed into my main post.
Extroverts and introverts are definitely handling this issue differently. There are lots of memes about how extroverts are going insane, while the introverts are going about their normal lives. I’m among the strong belief that people can’t be labeled with such strict rules, however the idea behind these memes have a point. There are a lot of people that have accepted their "extrovert" or "introvert" label and rarely allow themselves to venture into the other’s territory. I’m no psychologist, but it’s definitely something I have both observed, experienced, and researched a lot over the last few years. Introversion is usually seen as a bad thing in our society, which is absurd. I also think that people mistake anti-socialism for introversion, which is also not the same thing at all, and is very unfair to introverts. By the same token, extroverts get mistaken for eccentric and insane sometimes, which is just as unfair.
A lot of people will immediately label me as an introvert, most likely because if I’m in a new environment, I hold back a bit socially. That’s all well and good, but it really doesn’t take me long to venture out of that bubble. I actually am closer to being an ambivert, which is essentially a combination of both. I think ambiversion is learned. I think it’s accurate to say it’s balanced. This article explains it really well, and calls for people to think of these as a spectrum, not as strict labels. I truly believe that everyone should be constantly striving for the middle; for ambiversion. It’s something I’ve been working on since I was a kid, and still constantly. Why?
This is where it comes into the isolation order issue. Introverts are living their best life in this environment, yet extroverts are craving their social charges and attempting to get them by any means necessary (thank the Lord for technology). I think it would be healthy for everyone to chill out and focus on what things can be done to benefit you and maybe even your family during this forced isolation. I’m going to go through a few things I think could help and hopefully encourage some of you to do.
One thing that really bugs me about my generation, or maybe just our culture in general, is the lack of hobbies. It blows my mind how many people just don’t have any hobbies. They simply will watch TV in their free time or find some kind of way to hang out with people, but that’s it. Those things are fine, don’t get me wrong, especially the latter, but surely there are other things that interest you to try out. If you find yourself in that category, I highly recommend finding something you could spend time doing that you have fun with. For me, I feel like I almost have too many hobbies: writing music, digital art, drawing, web design, writing, reading, video games (and yes, video games are absolutely a hobby, feel free to debate me), and probably a few more I can’t think of. Maybe you like reading but never do it because you’ve always been distracted with other things, well here’s your chance! You don’t even have to leave your home to get most books nowadays if you have a phone or tablet. Apple is even giving away tons of books for free right now, for all ages. This is mostly meant for solo time, to focus on doing things yourself, however teaching kids to find their hobbies is essential as well, so if you have kids, then this could be a fun time for both you and them as you try different things. Crafts are a good go-to hobby for small kids to try first, however I encourage y’all to get creative and be mindful of your kids’ interests and talents to help decide.
This is a topic that many people have probably already discovered, because it’s what happens when any working adult has some time off. Household projects are a great thing to spend time on during this pandemic, simply because if they won’t get done now, when will they get done? Maybe that broken doorknob needs replaced, or the blinds that the pets destroyed over the last few months need replaced (not bitter here). Of course this could apply to non-household projects and maybe could mix with the hobby section a bit. A project I did recently was create a home server for a bunch of my movies, shows, and music. This isolation will last a good while, so you’d probably have plenty of time to knock out a project or two.
You are still allowed to go outdoors during the time this post was written. Even if it’s just taking a walk around your neighborhood or a nearby park. One of my favorite hobbies is hiking. Once it warms up a bit more, it’ll be a good time to go out and enjoy nature, which is essential if you spend the rest of your time in one place. If you don’t know of a good place to walk or hike, I recommend Map of Play or the Oh Ranger app, or even Yelp has parks listed. If you have kids and pets, this is important!
I know this entire post was about social distancing, and finding things to do alone and in isolation. However, technology allows us to be social even while in isolation. Chances are you already have a phone and probably some kind of social media account like Facebook. You can call people, or you can video chat with people on FaceTime/Skype/Google Hangouts/etc. Those can all be used with groups as well, although FaceTime can only be used with Apple devices, there are lots of ways you can do group video calls and socialize that way. Online games are also a really fun way to stay in touch. You can use the typical gaming consoles like Xbox and PlayStation, or you can find fun games on your mobile devices or even some streaming boxes like Apple TV and Fire TV have games you can play online or in the same room. Of course, you could still gather with a handful of friends/family occasionally, though they don’t recommend it for obvious reasons. Keeping the numbers low is the important part. Having a board game night on a Friday night is probably fine and would probably be super fun. Board games need to make a comeback, because me and my family have made it a monthly thing over the last year.
So hopefully that didn’t sound too preachy, but I just really want to encourage y’all to make the most of being isolated and either try new things or return to old things you have neglected. Being alone can be hard after awhile, but it’s good for everyone to focus on themselves a little bit, instead of seeking the attention and approval of others. Of course, the reverse is true as well. Find balance in the spectrum: ambiversion.