Connection is everything…
I am a text book introvert. I always have been. When I was growing up I was trained on how to be a social butterfly, but I was always kind of awkward, even off beat. I had so many acquaintances, but very few close friends. I enjoyed being in my room by myself. Reading, cross stitching and doing homework were my favorite hobbies. I would have such anxiety in social situations, that I would say the most awkward things sometimes, in an effort to hide how nervous I was. I never quite understood what was “wrong” with me.
As an adult I began studying human behavior (not officially, just as a hobby… again, a little off beat 🤷🏼♀️). I ran across an article on introverts and extroverts and I became intrigued. There I was in black and white, an INTROVERT! It brought so much relief and normalcy to me. I wasn’t socially inept, I just needed more time alone to recharge than most of my friends. Once I began to adopt that rhythm into my life, I began experience less anxiety and more confidence.
Then Covid-19 (AKA (the Coronavirus) hit our country and brought along with it social distancing and self-quarantine. I thought those two things would come so naturally to me.
At first, they did. I was as happy as clam in my space with my people, but it wasn’t long until some yuck started creeping into my brain. At first it was so subtle that I barely noticed it. As the days carried on, writing and creating became less appealing as anxiety began to show up. I started eating poorly which led to feeling even more anxious. I also started spending more and more time on social media, which led to the destructive habit of comparison. You get the idea. In about a week’s time I hit a small wall.
When I come to a place like that, I like to reflect back on what led me there.
I firmly believe that it was the lack of connection.
Humans, even us introverted ones, are wired for connection. We need some kind of healthy form of it regularly. When cut off from it, bad things start to happen.
Now y’all don’t twist my words. I’m not criticizing social distancing. I’m simply saying that, just like in everything, there are some downsides to it. Does it have an effect on our physical health? Sure. But it also has an effect on our emotional and mental health, as well.
For example, I realize now that I was spending so much time on social media in an effort to manufacture a connection and eating out of frustration that I couldn’t. The anxiety was trying to alert me of some dangerously low levels of loneliness in an effort to compel me to seek out friendships.
And y’all, it took a minute, but I am definitely heeding that message.
During all of this, it is so important to make time for each other. We need to stop scrolling the news feeds and start reaching out to one another. We may not be able to do the things we once did, but we are smack dab in the middle of the digital age and can use it to our advantage. Have the coffee with a girlfriend, just use FaceTime to do it. Go “out” to lunch or dinner, but use Uber Eats and Zoom to make it happen. Book clubs can happen as can Bible studies, playdates, shopping trips and so many other things. You can even play games digitally. Just grab your favorite game, Zoom call a worthy opponent and let them tell you their next move. A friend of mine and her family played Bingo with her out of state family and friends via Zoom. They made their own cards and had a great time!!
So, spending time together may not be as accessible as it was a month ago, but it can happen! Get creative in connecting with your friends. Be intentional. After a challenging week last week, I am going to make it a point to step things up, for sure
Moral of the story? Connection is everything y’all! Take it from a bonafide introvert. We need each other, now more than ever!
P.S. If you are struggling and need help, please reach out to someone. Life is hard and times like this can make it even more so. Don’t struggle in silence. Your life matters. Your thoughts matter. Reach out to someone who can remind you of that.