How to cope with staying at home during coronavirus, especially if you’re an extrovert

Photo by Jamie Haughton on Unsplash

Why some people won’t stay home despite COVID-19 social distancing and isolation rules. Here are 5 tips to help you overcome your desire to go out and socialise.

From young to old, many people just can’t stay home, even though they have been advised to do so. Coronavirus is rife in our cities and towns, but we are still finding sneaky excuses to go out, meet up with friends, or hit the shops for ‘essential’ unnecessary items. We aren’t alone. Millions of people right across the world right now are struggling to have self-control, resist temptation, and remain either at home or in their local suburb.

Socialising is part of human nature

Humans by nature are social creatures. We live in families, in communities, in societies – from birth we are taught how to socialise through talking, smiling, touching, hugging, connecting.

We develop friendships and connections that make us feel good. Meeting up with friends or family is an ideal opportunity to either talk about our worries or forget about them. It makes everything feel okay and normal.

For many people, social distancing feels unnatural and wrong. It makes them feel lonely and disconnected, and the risk of getting coronavirus is lower than the risk of having to come face-to-face with their unwanted feelings and uncomfortable emotions.

Five tips to help you overcome your desire to socialise

1. Know if you are an introvert or extrovert and understand what drives your actions

Different personality types will cope better with social distancing and the self-isolation rules. Introverts usually tend to enjoy spending time alone, at home or in a quiet space. Being away from people revitalizes introverts, so they tend to find that remaining at home is easier.

Extroverts are the complete opposite. They love being around people and feel energised spending time with those who make them laugh or who give them support.

Working out whether you are introverted or extroverted can help you be aware of why you feel the need to go out and socialise. Extroverts may need to be more aware!

Before you make plans to meet up with a friend, socialise, or go out for non-essential reasons, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Why do I need to go out? Is it essential?
  • What would happen if I didn’t go?
  • What are the risks to myself and others if I do go out?
  • How would I cope if I got infected and had to stay in hospital?

If you really can’t stop your desire to socialise, then ensure that your actions respect the health of your loved ones, other people in your local communities, and also your own health. 

The coronavirus is an opportunity for us to change our lifestyles and find new and novel ways to adapt to the change.

2. Develop new remote ways to connect with friends, family, and others

Self-isolation and social distancing don’t mean not socialising or avoiding friends and family. There are many ways that you can stay connected without having face-to-face contact. Meet up with your friends over Skype or have a virtual coffee with a family member who does not live with you. Try ringing your friends or family members more often to see if they are okay. The chances are that if you are lonely, others who you know may also be lonely. Discover new online interest groups to connect with. Consider doing some online volunteer work to help a cause that you are passionate about.

The Internet can bring the world to you, rather than you going to the world.

3. Reprogram your mind: you aren’t missing out, you are gaining

Often when we want something that we can’t have, we think that we are missing out. If our expectations can’t be met, then we need to consciously apply a new way of thinking. If we feel that staying at home is being enforced upon us, then we will be discontent and inclined to defy the rules so we can feel empowered. If, on the other hand, we feel that staying at home is a decision that we have made, then we will become more empowered to deal with the situation.

Our minds are very tricky. They will try to twist the facts and convince us that this situation is not good or that we deserve better or that no one else can tell us what to do or how to live our lives.

We need to be aware of what our mind is telling us and only listen to that inner voice of reason when it is acting in our best interests. How do we know when to believe it? Only you can tell. If the action is good for your wellbeing and the wellbeing of others, then it is likely to be honest and right. If the action is bad for your wellbeing and the wellbeing of others, then it is likely to be misleading and wrong.  

At first, it may appear that going out and meeting up with a friend is in your best interest because you believe that it enhances your wellbeing. But, will this be the case for your friend? And if you get sick and spread it to other friends, neighbours, and relatives, will it be a good decision for the wellbeing of others?  

4. Structure and routine lead to discipline

When we were young, our parents and schools helped us cope with change by providing structure and routine. For example, we might have gone to bed at the same time or had set start and finish times for school. As adults, we also thrive on having structure and rules, though it may not be as evident. If you are working from home or in self-isolation or choosing to stay at home, then consider planning your day and weeks. Being organised will help you feel in control and give you more disciple and inner strength.

Devise a timetable for yourself or your family with set times for waking up and going to bed; eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner; and exercising, meditating, reading, and relaxing. At first, it may seem too regimented, especially if you are unemployed or are taking leave from your job to stay home. But, in a few weeks’ time (or a few months’ time), you will notice and feel the benefits of having a routine. It will normalise your body clock, boost your immunity, and bring you peace of mind.    

5. Boost your spirit to gain psychological resilience

The stronger we are in our state of mind, the stronger others will be around us. When it seems like the whole world around us is closing down or falling apart, it forces us to look more within. We each need to make the effort to boost our spirits. Take time out to relax and chill out, turn off social media or the news for a while, listen to music, smile in the mirror, or do whatever it is you do that helps you find balance. Sometimes lifting up the spirits of others can make us feel good.

One of the most effective ways to gain psychological resilience is meditation. Meditation is an ancient science, and when it is done effectively, it can change the way the brain functions. We then become more aware of our emotions and thoughts, and adapt our responses to them, rather than unconsciously reacting to them. During this time of global health crisis, you can meditate for yourself as well as the entire creation. Dedicate this time for yourself as well as to all those who are suffering. Let us all live with faith, hope, and strength. Let us learn from this experience so we can change our personal and social lifestyles. Let us find more natural ways of living.

Copyright © James Golding and Leisa Golding 2020

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