The Introvert’s Survival Guide for Pandemic Fatigue
It’s been six months—of uncertainty and so many unknowns, canceled vacations and plans, very limited options and things to look forward to, and missing family and friends. If you’re feeling a little (or a lot!) of pandemic fatigue, you’re not alone.
Especially if you’re an introvert.
At the beginning of the pandemic, a meme started circulating, telling introverts to check on their extroverted friends because they were not okay. But a recent study found that extroverts are actually handling this tough season better than introverts, by a slight margin.
Quarantine has offered introverts a reprieve from so many of the things that drain our energy: open-concept office environments, the stream of invitations from our extroverted friends (which often lead to an overloaded social calendar), and the frequent temptation to cancel those plans.
But living in a state of uncertainty for this long is not only unnatural, it’s also really, really hard, and the study found that the uncertainty of this pandemic may be taking a greater toll on introverts.
I’m navigating this right along with you, and I’ve been using six coping strategies to battle my own pandemic fatigue. Here are the first two.
Adjust Expectations & Practice Acceptance
My husband and I moved from LA to Georgia last November to be closer to both of our families. After living on the opposite side of the continent from my parents for the past 14 years, I was so excited to finally be a drive away instead of a flight away, and we were all looking forward to having them visit in April.
Despite the distance, my parents and I have seen each other every 3-4 months like clockwork for the past 10 years, and it never even crossed our minds that the Canadian/US border would ever shut down.
But that’s exactly what happened a month before their planned visit, and it’s been difficult for all of us, not knowing when we’ll be able to see each other again.
I’m sure you have a few stories about situations that are also weighing heavily on you and taking an emotional toll.
What I’m discovering is that practicing acceptance and realistically adjusting or letting go of our expectations is the only way to feel better. This isn’t easy or we’d all just naturally do it, and it takes intentionality and dedication.
A pandemic end date would help immensely, allowing us to adjust our expectations accordingly. But since this isn’t in the cards right now, take small steps toward releasing your expectations and accepting that this might be your reality until at least early 2021.
Focus on What You Can Control
Living in LA for 14 years really made me appreciate the weather variation we have in Georgia, especially this summer. I love it all—the wild thunderstorms, the heat lightening, the beautiful sun showers that pop up out of nowhere, the rainbows and prisms, and the puffiest white clouds against the bluest skies.
As I write this, I’m watching the pouring rain outside my window, with flashes of lightning and booming thunder, and it seems to me that this wild season we’re all trying to navigate is a little like Southern weather:
• Unpredictable and uncertain
• Constantly changing and often catching us off guard
• Sometimes beautiful and sometimes a little scary
• Always completely out of our control
What you focus on you feel, and if you’re focusing on all the things that are outside of your control during this pandemic, you’re likely feeling pretty overwhelmed, anxious, stressed, and maybe even a little fearful.
But if you begin paying attention to what you’re focusing on and keep your focus on what you can control, you’ll begin to feel better, and both your actions and your interactions will reflect this.
I encourage you to begin asking yourself these three questions whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious:
1. What am I focusing on?
2. Is this something outside of my control?
3. If so, what can I focus on instead that I can control?
Shifting your focus can have an immediate impact on the way you feel, allowing you to make better decisions and see opportunities you would have otherwise missed.
Read my new Survival Guide to discover all six of the strategies I’ve been using to fight pandemic fatigue, feel better, and create more joy.