Hi, I’m Maria, and I’m an extrovert. Which means quarantine sucks.
As an extrovert, I get my energy from social interaction. I thrive in social settings, I have multiple groups of friends, I’m loud (and a wee bit obnoxious), and I don’t really enjoy a lot of alone time. Not because I don’t like myself or anything like that, but because I genuinely enjoy being around other people. If I see a gap in my calendar, I always have to fill it. Scrolling back to early March, in 2020 BC (Before COVID), I had coffee dates, birthday parties, brunches, dance classes, and various other events mapped out well into May.
And it’s not just social interaction I’m missing out on. I’m one of the million Canadians who lost their jobs in March due to COVID-19, and yesterday marked one month since I’ve worked. I’ve never been unemployed before, and while I’ve been enjoying the chance to binge-watch Schitt’s Creek on Netflix, I’m going slightly out of my mind with boredom. My social media time has skyrocketed and I’m on my third cycle of deep cleaning the house.
To make matters worse, I lost my grandmother at the end of March (unrelated to the virus) and COVID dictated how we could grieve. We broke a few social distancing rules to see family (but obeyed provincial legislation – I see you Big Brother) and I snuck in a visit with a friend or two, but all my usual distractions were gone. As an extrovert, I usually deal with difficult situations and stress by giving myself a break from thinking about them; I go out with friends, have a fun time, and draw strength from the happier things in my life. But now, I don’t have work to focus on and I can’t really see my friends; I’ve had to restructure all my usual coping mechanisms.
So what does that mean? Well, for one, I’m learning to enjoy all the downtime. I’m rediscovering old hobbies, like cooking and baking. I’ve been making elaborate dinners (stuffed pork roast anyone?) and trying out recipes I’ve had saved on my phone for years. I’ve even started doing bake swaps with friends.
I’m also working out every day, mostly because I don’t have an excuse not to anymore. I take online dance classes, do home workouts, or I take Rocket for a long walk. I think I’ll even try going for a hike this week. Checking physical activity off my list each day makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, plus the endorphins do all that good stuff to your brain.
I’ve also started volunteering at a doggy daycare, helping one of my old bosses. It supports a local business, and who can be sad when they’re in a room full of dogs? It gets me out of the house, and it gives me a purpose again, something I’ve been missing.
And of course, I’m still talking to my friends. We video chat and watch shows together, or play drinking games through group chats. We send snaps, tag social media posts, and check in on each other through text. Remember just because we’re social distancing, doesn’t mean we have to be emotionally distant (barf).
Gross inspirational sayings aside, I’m managing through all the stress and emotions of this quarantine by learning new things about myself. And watching copious amounts of Schitt’s Creek.