As the coronavirus pandemic continues to restrict our world, there has never been a better time to be a natural-born introvert. Over the course of my healing journey, I have learned to expand beyond my introverted ways and tap into my extroverted side, but now I am finding myself (along with the rest of the world) pulling back the social reins and rediscovering the power again in solitary activities. For centuries, extroverts have ruled the United States, but now it is time for introverts to step up and share their gifts. It is time for everyone to virtually gather and put together their own survival kits to weather the storm of social distancing.
Pictured above, I have my own personal social distancing survival kit. Starting from the left, I have my two most practical and important tools: gloves and a mask. I try my best on a daily basis to stay at least six feet away from other people (not an easy task for a natural-born hugger!), but in situations where quarters may be close, I take precaution. Every time I go to the grocery store or pop into a gas station, I make sure to bring my gloves and mask, just in case. Other than those situations, I rarely use these items because I spend most of my pandemic days in the woods or at home enjoying my introverted activities.
Moving to the right inside my survival kit, I have my "armor" and "uniform". I have always enjoyed wearing practical clothes with a purpose rather than for style, and so, two of my social distancing staples are my Project Positive People tank tops and my camouflage baseball hat. Times are tough, so why not dress the part and feel tough? It's not easy staying positive in a world that grows smaller with restrictions and scarier with each passing day, which is why I consider myself and my fellow positive people warriors. We have all earned our army green and black stripes. Despite the drastic changes, we're still working hard every day to heal the world and buy groceries.
Pictured below my no doubt Lara-Croft-inspired-uniform, I have my three ingestible essentials: Emergen-C, Chamomile tea, and cacao powder. As often as I can, I try to get all my immune-boosting nutrients from real food, but having Emergen-C on hand never hurts. I've also been drinking a lot of chamomile tea, especially before bed, to try to ease my anxious mind. When my life first started becoming drastically affected by this pandemic (loss of income, less time with friends, more time on my phone, etc.), I admittedly started falling back into some of my old unhealthy habits, such as drinking, mindless eating, and staying up late. As a way to help calm my brain and ease back into a regular sleep cycle, I've swapped alcohol for tea and started reading before bed instead of watching videos on my phone. On afternoons when I do want to feel energized and have some clean indoor fun, I reach for my third ingestible essential and make myself a cup of cacao with honey and cayenne pepper. While sipping cacao, I like to put on music and dance around the house. Solo dance parties are a wonderful way to connect with your body, work out any tension, and simply have fun! Social distancing doesn't have to be as grim as it sounds. It's important to laugh and enjoy yourself during these strange times.
Speaking of laughter, my fourth and not-nearly-as-important ingestible essential are mints. These really don't need to be in my survival kit at all, especially with the whole six-feet-away rule, but I carry them with me anyway because of my ceaseless devotion to Dunkin Donuts. Despite my loss of income and despite my personal reduction in caffeine, I still find myself in the Dunkin Donuts drive-through every afternoon right around 1 p.m. Maybe I go purely because it is one of the only non-essential establishments still open or maybe I go simply to keep some sort of routine. Whatever the reason, I do not judge. As a lifelong introvert, I've learned over the years to accept myself and all my quirks. There is no way to enjoy time alone if you don't love yourself fully, and so, in an effort to keep the peace in my self-loving relationship, I give in to that one unnecessary habit that makes me smile every day.
Moving to the right of my survival suitcase, I have all my introvert goodies. I call these items "my goodies" because they light up my creative, love-to-be-alone-in-my-own-little-fantasy-world heart. As a kid, I used to spend hours by myself painting, drawing, writing, making PowerPoints (yes, I was sort of a nerd), and anything else I could wrap my overactive, creative mind around. As I grew older, people started asking me how I found the time to acquire all these talents and work on all these skills. The more I spoke with people, the more I realized how oddly comfortable I was being alone. While others filled the spaces in between with television and distractions, I filled it with art and creativity. As a kid, I didn't feel a need to escape or hide from myself--I thrived in my own world. Now as an adult, I still thrive on creativity but I also occasionally fall into the trenches of TV and fillers, which is why "my goodies" are my most vital tools. They are what keep me happy, connected, and sane. Art, journaling, and reading ground me. Everybody needs their own grounding tools during this social distancing time. We all need less walls and screens and more canvases and blank pages. A busy, stressed mind does not need more input--it needs a place to spill and play.
And last, but certainly not least, I always pack a good book in my survival kit (a pretty damn good book, if I do say so myself *wink*). As with everything, the release of my memoir has been put off a few more weeks because of the coronavirus, but it will be out by May. I will let everyone know when it is available for purchase online. In the meantime, stay safe, stay positive as always, and feel free to share your social distancing survival kit tools. During this rise of introversion, we all, more than ever, need each other.