Thursday | 09 April | 2020
By Melodie Veldhuizen
This lockdown period might be something that introverts have been waiting for all their lives.
For extroverts who derive their energy from interaction with others, the isolation is a nightmare. It could even lead to depression and anxiety. Experts give advice on how to overcome loneliness during this difficult time.
Extroverts will grab any possible opportunity to see other people, even if they are total strangers.
– Reach out to those who have to work. When you have to go shopping or leave your home for whatever reason, give the cashier, the chemist, the petrol pump attendant and car guard a friendly greeting and enquire as to their welfare. Police officers, members of the army, emergency services personnel and medici are also unsure, afraid and tense. A friendly smile and word of encouragement can lighten their mood and make you feel better at the same time.
– Reach out to your neighbours. If you ordinarily only see one another in passing due to your busy schedule, take advantage of the opportunity, when you have to go out for whatever reason and you see your neighbours, to greet them should they also be outside, and enquire as to their welfare. However, maintain a safe distance.
Extroverts who thrive on physical touch and hugs, and who constantly want to be surrounded by people, may perhaps view the utilisation of technology as a second-best option, but now it is your protection against loneliness.
– Your cell phone and/or computer now is the only medium through which to contact your family and friends. Send text messages regularly, but to hear a loved one’s voice by way of a voice message or phone call is even better. With video-calls and Skype you can enter your friends’ and family’s living space virtually and see them, to combat the feeling of complete isolation. Also stay in contact via Facebook and Twitter. When chatting on social media, try to focus on the positive.
– Virtual contact. Arrange a virtual breakfast, lunch or drink after work via Skype with friends or family. This is an excellent substitute for hanging out in a restaurant, bar, or other visiting spot. Exercise with a friend by loading the same exercise, yoga or Pilates video and switching it on and exercising at the same time, each in their living space. You can even utilise Skype for more contact, after which you can chat per WhatsApp video or call, just as you would after a class.
– Online games. During isolation, after a few days there is little else to talk about but the awful situation in which the Coronavirus pandemic has plunged us. By playing a game with someone else, you have a communal aim and this gives the players something to talk about. It is healthy competition and also helps you to keep busy for a while and stay in contact with others.
– Organise a Netflix party to watch your favourite movies or series together with friends or family. Although it’s not quite the same as enjoying it on your couch, with a glass of wine and a snack in hand together with your friends, it’s far better than doing it all on your own. Afterwards you can share your thoughts about it with each other.
- Other ways of combating loneliness
You cannot indeterminately rely on others to keep you company. And you are not allowed to appear in public regularly. Consider one or more of the following to while away the time and make you forget your loneliness.
– Radio and television. If the silence becomes unbearable, listen to the radio and watch television. In this way you bring other voices as well as news from the outside world into your confined living space.
– A letter in the mail. Write a chatty letter to someone with whom you haven’t communicated in a long while. Perhaps to your grandchildren living overseas or anyone currently in the same boat as yourself. By the time the letter reaches the recipient, the Coronavirus pandemic will hopefully be something of the past, but for the moment it keeps you busy in a meaningful way.
Relax and do something for which you normally don’t have the time. Write a journal, read, listen to music, build a jigsaw puzzle, knit, do arts and crafts. Make a photo album for your grandchildren. Try out new recipes (even if you have to eat the dishes alone or perhaps freeze them until such time when you may once again invite guests for dinner). Clean every nook and cranny in your house, set the garage in order, or potter around in the garden. The possibilities are as vast as you will allow your personal preferences to make them.
Maintain a set routine if you have to work from home and have to report at the end of every day about completed tasks. If your occupation is of such a nature that you cannot work from home but you also may not go to your place of work, a set routine is essential. Otherwise it might feel as if every day is endless and you dawdle aimlessly through each day.
Your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing is important, especially now. Make sure you eat healthily, exercise regularly and get enough sleep. Also, don’t neglect your hygiene and general appearance – if you look good, you also feel better.
This is a difficult and strange situation for everyone. Stand strong and know, this too shall pass.
Introvert, Dear. https://introvertdear.com/news/extroverts-how-to-survive-social-distancing-according-to-an-introvert/
NBC News. https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/coronavirus-required-quarantines-social-distancing-aren-t-easy-when-you-ncna1157336
The Federalist. https://thefederalist.com/2020/03/20/an-extroverts-guide-to-the-wuhan-virus-quarantine/
* All information was correct at the time of publication.