Okay, all my introverted parents out there…
Who is having a hard time with quarantine?
Are you craving some alone time?
Needing a little break from the chatter?
Feeling tired of being touched?
Or is it just me?
I’m a major introvert, so if you have been feeling any of the above things, know that I can totally relate. My kiddos are 5 and 3 and want to constantly be attached to me. That can be really, really draining if you identify as an introvert.
Extroverts might be having a hard time with this quarantine too. They’re probably missing going out and having regular social time. Facetime might not be enough for them. The only social time extroverted parents are getting is likely their spouse and kids.
Don’t worry! In this post, I will give some tips to help both types of parents feel less anxiety during this stressful time.
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Also, I am not a doctor or mental health professional. Just someone who has lived with anxiety for many years who is passionate about sharing her experiences and tips for success. If you are in crisis call your doctor, then click here for some good mental health resources.
Classic introvert traits
According to Very Well Mind, “People who are introverted tend to be inward turning, or focused more on internal thoughts, feelings and moods rather than seeking out external stimulation.”
They also list 8 signs that you might be an introvert if you aren’t sure where you fall.
- Being around lots of people drains your energy.
- You enjoy solitude.
- You have a small group of close friends.
- People would describe you as quiet, and hard to get to know.
- You get overstimulated easily.
- You are very self-aware.
- You like to learn by watching.
- You are drawn to jobs that involve independence.
Many introverts also find that they take on the emotions of others they spend time with. It begins to influence their own mood, and they need lots of space to recover. This is called being an empath.
I myself am an introverted empath. Being around people, even those I love very much, is incredibly draining. I pick up on a lot of toxic energy and find it hard to put up emotional boundaries. I have to unfollow a lot of people on social media because it gets to be “too much.” (For reference, I am a 4w5 on the Enneagram.)
Does that sound like you? Let me know in the comments!
Classic extrovert traits
On the other hand, extroverts love social time! Healthline says: “Extroverts are often described as the life of the party. Their outgoing, vibrant nature draws people to them, and they have a hard time turning away the attention. They thrive off the interaction.”
Think you might be an extrovert? Here are some things to look out for:
- You enjoy social settings.
- You don’t like or need alone time.
- You thrive around people.
- You’re friends with many people.
- You prefer to talk out problems or questions.
- You aren’t afraid of risk.
- You’re flexible.
My husband is an extrovert. Here is what he had to say about being an extrovert during quarantine:
“I really miss being able to hang out with friends at a restaurant or bar. It helps me be less stressed to change up my environment. After a while, I start to annoy people in the house because I’m constantly looking for interaction.”Mr. Diffusing the Tension
(For Enneagram nerds like me, he is a 3.)
Are you an extrovert? Tell me more about you in the comments!
Introvert vs extrovert- Parenting troubles
There are different pitfalls for both sorts of parents. An introverted parent likely experiences the following issues during quarantine:
- Needs way more alone time than normal
- Feel “touched out” at the end of the day
- Has trouble multitasking, and gets easily overwhelmed
- Needs peace and quiet after a bunch of chatter from kids
- Enjoys doing housework while the kids play more
- Throws their child at their spouse when they’re done working
Extroverts might be dealing with the following:
- Incessantly seeks feedback or approval
- Text blasts friends nonstop
- Posts more than normal on social media
- Seeks out activities that involve chatting virtually with friends
- Says the phrase, “Do you have a minute to talk?”
- Sometimes crippling loneliness
Tips to cope for an introvert parent
You are going to need tons of extra care in this season. I have had to do all of the following to be able to cope with this quarantine. (When is this going to end, anyway?) Check out these tips and let me know which one you plan to try first!
Daily self care
This really needs to be a priority. I’ve had to speak up for myself and explain to my extroverted, social butterfly husband that being around the kids all day is super draining. I need some time to just process, and enjoy the quiet.
If self care is new for you, you can try the following:
- Spend 15 minutes walking around the neighborhood alone.
- Give the kids to your partner for the evening, and take a bath.
- Start a new book in a series you like.
- Finally finish that season of TV you started ages ago.
You might need to spend some time reminding yourself that this is only temporary. Life will not be this way forever. You will be able to go back to your introverted ways soon enough.
For now, things are going to be a little different. You’re going to be in close quarters with the people you live with. Kids might be more on edge, or clingier, due to the change in routine.
Hang in there. Samwise Gamgee said, “But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.”
Start a journal
Journaling is a really effective method of self care. It helps you to process negative feelings and figure out a lot of things you might be wrestling with.
Here are some ideas for things you can journal about if you’re struggling. Extroverts might need this too!
- Gratitude list
- Positive affirmations
- Your perfect day
- Negative thoughts and their positive counter-statements
- What you love about yourself
Ask your partner for help
I told my husband point blank, “These kids make me crazy. HELP.” Sometimes, your partner isn’t always aware of how you’re feeling unless you explicitly tell them. No one’s perfect, even my awesome husband. They might innocently assume if you don’t say anything, things are fine.
This is why it’s so important tell them what you need, as specifically as possible. For example, “I need you to put the kids to bed 3 nights a week so that I can have some uninterrupted quiet time.”
Seek joy in the little things
I know it sounds hard, but try to see the joy. Enjoy your little ones’ giggles. Take a whiff of their freshly washed hair when you snuggle. Watch them sit in the corner reading together. It’s so cliche, but although these times are challenging, there might be things you miss about them when they’re gone.
Tips to cope for an extrovert parent
Are you bursting at the seams with the desire to ROAM?
You need to explore.
You need to hug. To chew the fat. To toss your head back in laughter at your friend’s stupid joke.
It makes you feel empty inside when you can’t spend time with friends and family. If this sounds like you, check out the following tips for making it through quarantine.
Schedule regular Facetimes calls
I know it’s not the same, but hey, it’s something! It’s a way to talk, and joke, and interact with loved ones, during times when physically being together isn’t possible. Facetime, Zoom, and Skype are all free options for connecting virtually that are pretty easy to use.
Turn that once a month guy’s night into a virtual bar crawl! Sometime soon you will be back to your favorite haunts.
Just like introverts, extroverts need to readjust some expectations, especially if they live in a house with an introvert. Not every has the same needs. Both types of people need to be aware of these in stressful times.
Take up a new hobby
It might help you get out some mental energy to take up a new hobby. Better still, if you can involve a partner or child. You could look up some resources for learning a new language, or take up watercolors.
Using water colors as an example, you could both copy the same reference image and then have your kids judge which one they think is better. Making it as fun as possible should satisfy most extroverts, at least temporarily.
Join a Facebook group
There are a lot of online communities with regular engagement where you can meet new people that have the same interests as you. You don’t have to exchange IRL details if you don’t feel comfortable. But these groups often have daily posts where you can share ideas, and memes, and things going on in your life.
Learn to enjoy time with YOU
Believe it or not, it is possible to enjoy spending time alone. Take it from an introvert, there is nothing like setting up a comfy little sitting spot with a fluffy blanket, your favorite snack, and a Netflix series you’ve never watched.
Allow yourself to get lost in it. Over time, the characters might begin to feel like old friends.
We can all get through this.
This has been a really hard season. Whether you are super outgoing, or more introverted, I’m honestly not sure which one has it harder right now. I think that might depend on the person. But whatever your struggles might be, there are things you can do to survive.
Here is one of my favorite quotes to leave you with:
“I have seen many storms in my life. Most storms have caught me by surprise, so I had to learn very quickly to look further and understand that I am not capable of controlling the weather, to exercise the art of patience and to respect the fury of nature.” ~Paulo Coelho