How to social distance: an introvert’s guide

Lismery Luna, Copy Editor

Right now, everyone is required to stay at home and implement social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. What is social distancing you ask?

According to John Hopkins Medicine, social distancing “is deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness.”

People are required to stay at least six feet away from each other when they go out and to avoid large crowds. People should also disinfect and clean hard surfaces, rooms, cars and wash hands for at least 20 seconds after coming back inside the house.

However, in taking all these safety measures, it’s hard to stay inside all day without anything to do, especially as college students and adults who are used to being on the move constantly.

As an introvert, I could spend every day inside, watching Amazon Prime series or binge-watching “Criminal Minds.” For me, the couch is my best friend and my bed might be the love of my life.

However, for everyone else, it’s a different story. People aren’t used to be cooped up inside for hours at a time or they need to figure out their new living dynamics with family or partners.

Tensions run high and being inside like this can make people feel like, “what else is there to do besides schoolwork?” So, here are some ways to social distance safely while completing your course work or remote work at home.

Stay Away from Social Media (for a bit)

I know everyone is plugged into their phones every day. Social media connects us to the outside world and allows us to express how we feel about virtually anything that’s on our minds.

However, it can also bring up feelings of anxiety and stress, especially seeing your favorite influencers and people you follow talk about the pandemic constantly.

So, a solution is to stay off these sites for a few hours. Twitter is a prime example. Scrolling through my feed, I’m informed on updates of how many cases are in the tri-state area, other people who have been affected by this virus and how everyone else has dealt with this quarantine so far.

It’s nice because I feel connected to other people and I, like other students, are in the same situation. We’re not alone. But being on these sites all day at home can make you more anxious and stressed about this pandemic.

Try to only log on when you wake up to check in on what you missed and again a few hours before going to bed. This will help slowly ease those feelings of anxiety because you’re only catching up on what’s going on instead of putting all your attention on this.

Read books

Reading is a great way to relax and go into someone’s world for a bit. Take some books you have put away (I know they’re in your room right now) and pick about five to 10 books you haven’t read from that pile before.

So many of us go into our local bookstore or stores like Walgreens, CVS, Kmart or other retail stores and shuffle through their book selection. If you do, make sure to disinfect each item (and wipe down your groceries when you get home.) Look through your book collection and see which novels you haven’t read before.

I’m a book lover and have piles of books I haven’t touched because, well, I’m super busy with work and school, like other college students and adults in the United States. Right now is the perfect time to get back into those books you’ve wanted to read because now, you’re not busy anymore and have that quality time most people have wanted for a while.

Start watching your favorite series on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc.

This is another great way to keep yourself busy because you can sit down after remote work or school and put on your favorite shows and start watching. You can re-watch “Gossip Girl” for the third time or log on to your favorite streaming site and see what new shows or series have come out.

These streaming platforms have new shows and series coming out virtually every day in the past few months. Go on Google and search for new shows based on the genre you like to watch.

I’m a fan of true crime and mysteries. And there are a few new series that have premiered like “Hunters” on Amazon Prime and “Briarpatch” on USA network. People can also catch up on hit shows like “Chicago Med,” “Chicago PD” or the last season of “Law and Order: SVU.”

Netflix has also come out with a new feature called Watch Party, so pick a show, get some friends together (virtually) and have a party.

Video Call Friends and Family 

Right now, it’s easy to feel like you’re alone in the world or hole yourself up in your room under the blankets and only come out for food and water.

To combat those feelings, text and call your friends at least once or twice a day. Try to set up facetime calls or use platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams to see all your friends, who may not have FaceTime but you want to see them.

Zoom is great because you can invite a bunch of people and have dinner with them or have happy hour (if you’re 21+) or just catch up with your friends from work or college, especially if you haven’t physically seen them in a while.

Trust me, I love my alone time as much as the next girl, but I also need to have contact with other people because I’m human. For those out there who are thinking, “but I love being alone and this quarantine is a dream,” it may feel that way for you, but others crave physical contact and human interactions. So, Zoom your friends to curb those angsty thoughts to go outside and be around other people.

Write and Journal every day

Writing down your thoughts in a journal allows you to express your emotions and how you think in a way that you might now feel comfortable talking to your family members or friends about.

Buy a journal or take some scrap paper and a pen. Start writing, right before going to bed at night and right after you wake up. Order one online that’s cheap and has lined pages — it makes it easier to write out your thoughts and feelings.

This will help you express and reflect on what your feelings are and your reflections about this time. It would be nice to look back on and see what you thought or felt during this time in the future.

Journaling is also a great way to decorate and put your creative skills to use because you can design your journal in whichever way you want and think about what kinds of pens, washi tape, stencils, book clips or other decorative art you want to include inside it.

It’s OK if you wake one some days you’re upset. Or other days you feel fine. Those feelings are normal and valid. Some days, I wake up and think when is this going to be over? Why is it happening? Will we ever go outside again?

But then other days, I wake up and I feel fine. This is a transitory time, so please, don’t ignore how you feel or shove it down. Cry if you want to cry. Do some yoga, exercise, take deep breaths.

Remember to keep busy and follow the CDC guidelines for social distancing.

If you are in an unproductive learning environment or need someone to talk to about your situation, the Counseling, Health, and Wellness Center is available for all students at 973.720.2257.