We are certainly living through interesting times.

With COVID19 we have become familiarized with long lines at grocery stores, social distancing (6 feet people, 6 feet!), and hoarding of toilet paper along with hand sanitizer.  If you live in the San Francisco, Bay Area then you may also be living through a ‘Shelter in Place (SIP)’ where you are not supposed to leave the home in order to stop the spread of the Coronavirus.  This can feel overwhelming for most people, and Introverts in particular might be having a lot of conflicting emotions.

“How can I feel so content when so many people are struggling right now?”

Introvert and Coronavirus

Conflicting Emotions for Introverts

An Introvert might initially feel content to have some time at home to read, catch up on TV, watch movies, and cook.  However, that might come with some guilt.  “How can I feel so content when so many people are struggling right now?”  It’s important to recognize that people can feel multiple things at once.  You can feel content, guilty, frustrated, gratitude, scared and anxious… maybe all in the space of an hour!

 

Sharing Space with Family – EVERYDAY – Ugh

Another experience introverts might be dealing with is having to share space with people you’re not accustomed to sharing with.  Your partner might be working from home.  Your kids might be home due to a school shutdown as well.  It’s important to carve out some time and space to take care of your own needs just as you take care of others’.  That will look different for each person.

It might mean meditating in a corner, or taking the dog for a walk (remember to stay at least 6 feet away from people you encounter on the street!), or reading a book… or simply going on Reddit and catching up on the latest memes.

 

So Many Possibilities – Where Should I Start?

What happens if you find yourself home alone and have so many possibilities that it feels overwhelming?  “I can finally do all these things I wanted to do, but which one?!?”  Start with the one that will provide you with the most fulfillment and emotional nourishment.

That might mean cooking or baking for loved ones or for an elderly neighbor.  It could also be creating a piece of art that people can connect to during this difficult time.  Maybe what will really help your state of mind right now is to finally play the latest video games that you haven’t had the time to play, or read that book that has been collecting dust.

The important thing is to pick something, focus on it, and avoid the temptation to monitor the news constantly. Easier said than done, I know… especially when the news is changing and so important.

Tend to Yourself and Those You Love

Lastly, even though introverts tend to re-charge their batteries with alone time, don’t forget to tend to your relationships.  Reach out to loved ones to check in on their physical and emotional states while also letting them know how you are doing.  Utilizing this SIP in a way that nourishes you will help you withstand the difficult times we are in.

 

About the Author

Simran Bhatia is an Associate Marriage & Family Therapist (AMFT) at Well Clinic in San Francisco. In his words, “It all starts with being heard. Expressing ourselves and really feeling understood”

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