One Introvert’s Social Distancing Experience

Social distancing has been awesome for me.

Not because of the terrible pandemic. Or the mass panic that has caused people to hoard items like toilet paper (which I don’t understand because it’s not *that* type of disease. Seriously, I don’t get it. As soon as Costco gets in a shipment of toilet paper, it’s gone again in like 10 minutes.)

But I digress.

Social distancing has been awesome because I have felt more creative and more mentally energized than I have since at least 1999.

Let me back-up a bit.

I am an introvert.

Shocking, I know.

Don’t get me wrong. I like people. (Sometimes.)

And I even like to be around people. (Sometimes.)

Wall*e recharging

Generally, I prefer intimate social gatherings instead of anonymous throngs. Don’t misunderstand. I do not fear crowds. I just don’t like them. Nor am I socially awkward. I have often been mistaken as an extrovert because I am rather outgoing. But I am an introvert because after being around people for a while, I become mentally exhausted. And when I become mentally exhausted, I need to go away to recharge.

Like Wall*e.

Take my typically work week. Even though I have less than 10 co-workers in my immediate office, I am mentally tired at the end of the day. Just being around people, no matter the interaction, mentally drains me.

Compound that by a 5-day work week and let’s just say by Friday, my brain is slush. For me, a two-day weekend is barely sufficient time to recharge. A three-day holiday weekend does work better for recharging, but that’s providing I don’t have plans. (Not that I don’t love hanging out with my friends, but it reduces my recharge time.)

And let’s not get started on the joke that is the American idea of vacation time.

Needless to say, this experience has made me realize that I have had a mental energy deficit. For years. But I really didn’t get that until social distancing started.

For two weeks now, I’ve been teleworking. I traditionally not been a huge fan of teleworking because I believe in keeping my home a work-free environment. Home is my sanctuary where I recharge and rest. But social distancing has required some compromises.

On top of telework, nothing is open except for “essential” businesses (grocery stores, pharmacies) and all events were cancelled or rescheduled, including Emerald City Comic Con.

So there’s no where to go. No plans to be made. And no one to go with anyway because everyone is staying home.

The overall affect from social distancing—my brain is on fire!

I have found I have way more mental energy. I am no longer mentally exhausted at the end of a “work day” because my “work day” involves going from my bedroom to my desk that’s in my dining room. Because I haven’t had to be around other people, I haven’t been mentally drained.

My brain feels like it’s on overdrive. Words have been pouring out of me. This is my 6th blog post in two weeks. That’s more posts in two weeks than I did in the last 3 months.

And why?

All because of social distancing.

Not forced to be around people for 8+ hours five days a week has given this writer more energy to write because I actually have the stamina to think of ideas and topics to write. And when I’m not writing, I’m reading or putting together a jigsaw puzzle or taking photos or coming up with new plans. Heck, I’ve even cooked (which if you know me, you know I never cook). Why? Mainly because I’m too mentally tired when I get home to think about a recipe to make.

Social distancing has spurred my creativity. I have not been bored at all.

If you follow me Instagram, then you've seen some of my Adventures in Teleworking mini-stories.

When all this craziness is over and we slowly return to pre-pandemic routines, like physically going to work, I admit I will be dispirited. Not because the pandemic is over. But because I will once again be running a mental energy deficit. And this time, I’ll know it.

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