Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? Or a mixture of both?! In my experience, the way we experience or try to cope with anxious feelings may be affected by which one you are (or how you identify).
When they’re experiencing anxiety, Introverts tend to go to their comfortable place – inwards. This can lead to excessive social isolation which can exacerbate the experience – negative self-talk, catastrophising and fear – all love a bit of dark isolation!
Extroverts tend to bury (or distract themselves from) these negative feelings in a whirl of social activity and interaction – their natural habitat! So, it’s important not to assume that, just because someone is the ‘life of the party’, they’re OK. This place can be as lonely as the social isolation.
Obviously, at the moment, we’re all spending more time alone or with only our immediate households for company, and I know some Extroverts who are struggling, having to face their anxious feelings for the first time – without their usual social camouflage.
As an Introvert who can give a pretty good approximation of an Extrovert, when required – lockdown has honestly been a blessing (I’m not belittling the terrible thing happening right now, but am talking just from my own very limited, and very privileged personal experience).
I have been able to go inwards and recharge, read loads of books, do loads of courses and get my plans straight for my business – without feeling like I should be doing anything else – cos there’s nothing else to do – nowhere to go!
But, as the world seems to be starting to open up again (is it too soon?), I can feel myself becoming uneasy once more.
I’ve become very comfortable in my home bubble (the glorious weather has helped!) – maybe too comfortable? And the thought of ‘getting out there’ (even the words sound threatening!) is sending cold shivers through my body.
For us Introverts, it’s important that we don’t shut down completely, so when things do go back to ‘normal’ (is that even a thing now?!) it’s not too much of a shock to the system.
For example, I’ve been avoiding lots of Zoom calls and Facetime meetups with family and friends because a) I’m afraid it will make me miss them more! Or b) It feels incomplete somehow – as if without the hug and the intimate connection it will feel superficial.
And it does, to an extent.
And yes, every time I Facetime with my brother and his family, I cry a bit afterwards. But honestly, even that limited contact is better than none at all.
So, try and stay in touch with the really important people. You have my permission (if you need it!) to say no to every Skype call or Zoom request [WARNING: adult language in linked video] for Friday G&T’s or rando Zoom House Parties – unless you want to (and have the energy to) go that is! In that case – you go, girl!
And in England you can actually go and see people (up to six, I think – check the guidance!) from Monday – outside and 2m apart, obviously. Wales and Scotland have different rules, so check those out too if you need to.
Start slow, maybe one visit a week, don’t overdo it and when you’ve had enough, go home. It’s not rude, it’s self-care.
This too shall pass.
Things are already starting to open up more and soon you’ll be back in your social saddle!
But it’s important to recognise where you might be using your amazing social skills and energy to cover up feelings of anxiety.
If this period of isolation has uncovered some things you didn’t realise were there, or that you were purposely not looking at, now could be a good time to recognise and honour those feelings before rushing to bury them again.
I know, I know, self-reflection is not really your thing, but some simple acknowledgement that you’re feeling a bit ‘iffy’ might be all it takes.
You don’t need to ‘stay’ iffy! Switch yourself to a more positive state when you feel ready by doing something you love (Facetime a friend or group of friends, organise a rando Zoom House Party, G&T Friday – don’t be upset if your Introvert friend declines, I gave her permission!), but at least take the time to acknowledge and name how you’re feeling first.
If you are feeling anxious, remember feelings are the result of beliefs being triggered by a thought.
Grab your journal and see if you can identify that initial thought.
Awareness is everything, so just check-in with yourself and see which thoughts are triggering which beliefs, which are resulting in this feeling.
If you’re feeling nervous about something, remember nerves are completely normal. Everyone feels nervous sometimes.
Everyone. Introvert or Extrovert.
So, give yourself a break and be kind.
If you’re still at that ‘butterflies’ stage, you might be able to flip the nerves to excitement.
Again, in your journal, list the things about the event or situation that you can get excited about – things you’re looking forward to (it’s unusual for us to do things that have no positives whatsoever… even if it’s just getting it out of the way, off your list and done!).
For example, you have a call with your boss on Friday afternoon. You have no idea what it’s about, but you’ve built it up in your head and you’re focusing on the negatives (unknown) and the butterflies are flapping!
Here’s your list…
1. I actually like my boss; it will be good to catch up
2. Maybe she needs my very specialist help with something – I love to help
3. Maybe it’s a pay rise!
4. After the meeting, the week is finished, and I can have a glass of wine/fancy mocktail in the sunshine
Tell your body and brain, you’re excited about the call for all these reasons.
Over and over if you have to – just don’t obsess.
There are loads of other things we can do, but this blog is already on its way to becoming a book!
So, come back soon, and in the meantime, catch up on social media for loads more tips and information about ways to start your ‘anxiety-free’ journey – whether you’re an Introvert or an Extrovert – locked down or fancy-free!
Hi there, my name’s Kathryn and I’m an Anxiety Release Coach at My Chakra Life.
My mission is to help women live anxiety-free; reconnecting with their inner light, so they can shine in their career or business with CONSCIOUS, CALM, CONFIDENCE.
Over the last ten years, I have honed and tweaked the tools and techniques which worked for me, into my three-stage Anxiety Release Process:
Why not join us in our Facebook Group – our community for creative women who want to learn how to live anxiety-free, reconnect with their inner-selves, and shine in their career or business with conscious, calm, confidence.
Or you can download my guide: ‘Journal your way to CONSCIOUS, CALM, CONFIDENT‘ to give you a little ‘Consciousness Jumpstart’!