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We’re over a week into social distancing and — let’s be honest — it has been a challenge. Whether you’re an introvert, extrovert or somewhere in between, your work life, home life and even spiritual life are likely completely disrupted.

For many extroverts, the shutdown of events and activities can be extremely discouraging. And while introverts may be comfortable being alone, that doesn’t mean they prefer isolation.

Our team is blessed to have a great mix and a wide variety of personalities that contribute to our work of unleashing the Gospel. So we tapped a resident extrovert and introvert to share their top three tips for surviving social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Extrovert tips from Emily Mentock, director of creative and marketing services

My pre-coronavirus social life: plans 6 nights a week, mostly in public spaces, always looking to make new friends.

Current situation: I haven’t left the house in a week, and I think I’m driving my introverted husband crazy.

For extroverts like me who thrive in crowds and on a full schedule, the era of social distancing has been a struggle, to say the least. I’m lucky that I’ve had a lot of work to keep me busy, but having things to do is not the same thing as getting to do the things that bring you the most joy.

I’ve had to get creative about renewing my energy since my go-to activities (bars, sporting events, concerts, eating out, and even bible study) have been canceled, and don’t seem to be coming back any time soon.

Here are my best tips, developed over the past week, for fellow-extroverts trying their best to survive social distancing.

Participate in a movement or challenge (or start one!)

The opposite of feeling isolated is realizing that you are a part of something bigger than yourself. Tuning into live-streamed Mass on Facebook has felt surprisingly communal, as has taking up Archbishop’s invitation to recommit ourselves to Mary by praying the Memorare every day. Plus, I’ve loved participating in a few fun social media challenges that have sprung up as a result of social distancing. The possibilities are endless, but here are a few ideas for where to start:

Distance ≠ no connection

Social distancing means physical distance, not shutting ourselves off from the world! In fact, the world’s social life might depend more than ever on extroverts taking the initiative to keep everyone connected. Here’s what that might look like:

  • Normally too caught up in a busy schedule to call your grandma or aunt? Now is the perfect time to catch up with everyone, and check-in with them.
  • Put your willingness to talk to strangers to good use by volunteering to call vulnerable elderly neighbors and members of your parish community.
  • Schedule a “community dinner” with friends or family on Zoom or Google Hangouts.

Use this time to get better at embracing the silence

I have always struggled with quiet prayer. Silence is hard for me, and meditation nearly impossible. But I know that finding this quiet time to listen to God is a really important part of a healthy spiritual life. If there was ever a time to get better at quiet prayer, it is now. God is calling us to draw near to him during this time, so I’ve committed to finally work on getting comfortable with silence and improving my tolerance for quiet contemplation.

For me, that means longer and more intentional prayer before bed — truly trying to give legitimate time to offer up my day and being open to what God is putting on my heart. But here are some other ideas:

  • Explore the concept of “spiritual closeness” that Archbishop Vigneron has invited us to during this time of social distancing.
  • Pray the Liturgy of the Hours (still kind of social since every religious community across the world does this daily).
  • Try the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises or other forms of meditative prayer.

Introvert tips from Dan Meloy, staff writer for Detroit Catholic

One week into the coronavirus quarantine and this introvert still has it together —well, mostly. Let’s start first with a pretext, I find the terms “introvert” and “extrovert” to be overused since I don’t think any person is just one exclusively. But as someone who enjoys reading, small gatherings and is known to stay silent during dreaded “ice breakers,” I will classify myself as an introvert. With that said, living in an apartment by myself as the world around me is on lockdown is anything but a paradise.

Here are three tips to my fellow “introverts” on how to stay calm and sane during the quarantine.

Try to keep a set schedule and space for work

As everyone adjusts to remote working, a few tricks I’ve picked up in my career as a writer have helped me sort out when I’m “on the clock” and when I’m “at home.” Dividing work and home life when you’re at home is essential to maintaining a healthy balance, especially when you’re by yourself.

  • The temptation is to wear sweats every day and just work from bed, but I highly encourage getting dressed every day and working from a designated area.
  •  When I’m at my kitchen table, I’m “at work,” available on all channels and dedicating my time to thinking about work. 
  • When 5pm rolls around I move to the couch, unplug from work communication channels and live on my own time. 

Be intentional about reaching out

When social outings in public aren’t possible, reaching out to friends and family becomes all the more critical. The key is to create moments of true, authentic connection with the people in your life, a must for any introvert who values closeness in relationships.

  • Make a point about dedicating time in the day to reach out to people with a text or call, even if you don’t have anything to say, just say you’re thinking about them.
  • Since the quarantine has started, I have made a habit of starting games of “Words with Friends” with friends. It provides a much-needed break from work and creates a more personal connection with your friends through a shared experience.
  • Using video chats for “happy hour” and dinner with friends is also a good habit to start.

Go outside and share your experiences

Social spacing and “Stay at Home” orders don’t mean locking yourself in your home – unless you are showing symptoms or have been diagnosed. People are still allowed to – and are even encouraged – to go outside and enjoy the outdoors. 

  • Currently, golf courses, local and state parks are still open. Feel free to snap a few pictures along the way as a way of sharing your experience with others. 
  • If a church is in your neighborhood, maybe walk by and say a quick prayer. Our parish campuses are still holy ground. 
  • A short walk around the block will do wonders for your mental health. If you are working from home, feel free to take a run for your lunch break. (I promise your afternoon will be more productive and you will be mentally sharp.)

Being away from family and close friends is really hard for me and any of my fellow introverts. But through the grace of God, we can and will see out this pestilence. Most of the time we will spend in the foreseeable future will be alone, but it doesn’t have to be lonely. Stay safe, and I know that I, this introverted, “please get me away from this giant party,” writer is with you all the way. Courage.