Surviving Coronavirus as an Extrovert
I am an acupuncturist in Portland, Oregon. My clinic has been closed for a week and a half so far, and it feels like it’s been a month.
Like many of you, I am an extrovert. I scored 97% extrovert on the Myers-Briggs test. If I don’t interact with at least one human by noon, I find myself dipping into despair and lethargy. Before this Stay Home, Stay Safe order, every day my extrovert needs had been met by walking into my clinic and interacting with all of my patients and my wonderful assistant. All of that is now gone.
Originally I was excited about this down time. My life is so, so very busy. I rush around all day in my busy clinic, then I rush home to my family so that we can get dinner on the table and get kids to soccer practice, then I rush through the rest of the evening until I climb into bed. So I thought that I would take advantage of this time to do all the things that I never have the time to do.
I’ll finally get that online class made that I’ve been working on for years. I’ll get all my business systems organized. I’ll have such a strong social media presence and I’ll establish a true community on FB and Instagram. I’ll pick up a hobby. I’ll read. I’ll work out regularly. I’ll support my kids in learning incredible things during our homeschool sessions. I’m going to crush this quarantine!
Instead, I’ve been hit by multiple waves of depression. I honestly thought anxiety would be the problem because that’s always been my go-to in times of uncertainty. But the real struggle has been dealing with the I-can’t-get-out-of-my-pajamas-and-what-is-the-point-anyway feelings.
The feelings of depression that social isolation has brought with it have surprised me, and it has made it difficult to get started on any of those things I was so excited to accomplish. I find myself tired even though I’m sleeping 8 hours each night. I find myself lacking the motivation to begin projects. I get overwhelmed by the prospect of doing even basic things.
But enough is enough. I do not want to look back on this time as the Dark Days of Isolation.
I deserve better, and so do you. So here is my basic list of how Extroverts (or anyone frankly) can improve their mental health during the time of Coronavirus while staying safe:
- Focus on simple routines. I don’t love routine, but have realized how completely ungrounded I am without them. So do the basics. Every day, wake up and GET DRESSED. Make your bed. Make a nutritious breakfast. Ideally, you’d also carve out some space for meditation right now, or journalling which is basically a form of movement meditation IMO. Basic routines. K.I.S.S.
- Move your body. Few things can bring one out of depression quicker than doing some sort of physical activity. Go for a walk. Take advantage of one of the many many many online yoga classes currently being offered. Jump rope. Have sex (you’re both at home, right??). Get your blood pumping every single day.
- Get together a Zoom happy hour. It can just be you and one other person. Or it can be you and 12 people you went to elementary school with. Keep up with social interactions because (especially if you are an extrovert) you NEED them.
- Make a list. Feeling overwhelmed? Sit down and dump all of that overwhelm out of your brain. You can literally set a timer for 10 minutes and just write until your brain is empty. Then look at the list and pick one thing to do.
- Do something that has a clear end. One of the best ways out of depression and anxiety is to take action. And I find that the best action to take is something that has a clear start and finish — like baking something, or weeding the garden, or cleaning the bathroom. Something that won’t take too long and that will give you a boost at the end because now. it. is. done. The feeling of accomplishment may be enough to propel you forward into some bigger tasks.
- Laugh. The old adage that Laughter is the Best Medicine has merit (although obviously it should not replace your medication should you need it). Social media is full of pitfalls on a normal day, so be aware of what you are consuming. But my goodness — the Coronavirus has really brought some creativity and amazing humor into the world as well. Pay attention to the funny memes and videos that are being shared. Watch some of those standup specials that are on Netflix. You have time.
- Focus on gratitude. Now is a great time to start a new habit of listing daily gratitudes. Start and end your day by naming 3 things you are grateful for. You can write them down, say them out loud, or just think them while you lie in bed. It switches your focus and can make a huge difference in they way that you show up in your day.
Let me know what you are doing today to support your mental health. Shoot me an email, hit up my FB or Instagram — I’m here for you. If you want extra support, head over to my schedule and make an appointment for a video session — I can get you herbs, supplements, ear seeds, and all kinds of personalized support to help you through this. We’re all in this together <3