Extroverts and Social Distancing

When people hear the words ‘extrovert’ and ‘introvert’ they typically associate it with ‘outgoing’ and ‘shy’. While these are characteristics of both extroverts and introverts, the definition is not so simple. In a basic definition, these two words describe how people obtain their energy. Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology, wrote a book Psychological Types back in the 1920’s thoroughly going through these ideas of personality*. Later, Katherine Cooks Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers created the MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) that categorized each person into 16 distinct personality types, based on preferences such as extroversion and introversion. They believed that everyone had qualities of both, but everyone had a higher preference to one. So, to simplify, extroverts, obtain energy from other people, and introverts, from alone time. I’ll break these down a bit further.

Extroverts*

Extroverts are energized by the world outside of themselves. They are typically more animated, enthusiastic, and talkative; often more assertive as well. When with other people, extroverts have energy, which is often why they become bubbly in social situations. Extroverts can be alone, and alone time I think, is important for everyone regardless of energy preference, but in times of being alone, the extrovert will typically have less energy than if they were around people.

Introverts*

The introvert is concerned with their inner world. They prefer self-reflection, and observation as oppose to social interactions. Introverts are typically more quiet, or reserved people. This doesn’t mean that introverts dislike social interaction, are scared of it, or shy away from it, it simply means social interactions are not their preference and can be quite draining for them. After a social situation, an introvert will need to recharge by having alone time.

Okay, so we’ve defined these two preferences, how does this fit into the world today? Social distancing is going to be, naturally, harder for the extrovert. If you think about it, their way of obtaining energy is from other people, and with social distancing, the extrovert will have less energy, and may even begin to feel moments of depression. The introvert, while social distancing won’t be necessarily “easy”- it won’t be difficult nor will it drain their energy levels as much.

I’m an extrovert, and social distancing, even not being able to go out and be around strangers, is hard. My energy levels are low, I yawn a whole lot, and even though I get a good night’s rest, I feel tired. This is a direct result of my preference in how I obtain energy. Typically, I could go for a walk and interact with people I meet there, go to grocery store and chat up someone in the aisle, and being with friends or family (all things an extrovert will gain energy from). Now, take all that away, and add the fear of social interaction, and this is now an extroverts nightmare. I have never been afraid of interaction, even with strangers, it’s always fun for me to talk to people I don’t know (of course in safe situations). I can’t count the number of people I have had in depth conversations with who I do not know their names, or anything about them besides that conversation. Recently, however, social interaction has almost become a fearful mentality. Don’t get too close to someone, don’t talk to someone because now you’re not 6ft away, careful when you touch things that other people touch, be mindful to distance yourself when walking past someone on the street or in a grocery aisle or you may get this horrible flu and pass it to vulnerable people. These thoughts, while they are important right now to slow the spread of flu transmission, they are very hard for an extrovert like myself.

I miss social interaction, and as a result I have less energy to do the things that I typically would do such as exercise, cook, or clean; I’m trying, but my personality does not boast well for social distancing. I know that I am not alone in this, there are LOTS of extroverts out there. Of the 16 Myers Briggs Personalities, 8 have extrovert as the dominant preference, and 52.3% of the population identifies with these 8 personality types*. That means just a little over half the population are extroverts, and social distancing will be difficult, especially for those extroverts who live alone.

To look at this in a different light, I wonder about the extroverts who, without a social distancing protocol, are lonely. Especially those most vulnerable such as elderly in care homes, parents whose children don’t live near them, or those with disability. The loneliness an extrovert can feel is immense, and I think it’s important to keep these people in our thoughts even without a pandemic. Introverts can experience loneliness too, as the Myers Briggs will indicate, everyone has both introversion and extroversion, but perhaps this is a time to think about how many people are lonely in day-to-day, normal, pre-covid life. I have wondered myself, once this pandemic is settled, if volunteering at care homes may be a way that I can reach out to those who are lonely. Things I have thought about before in my life, but feeling this distance myself has definitely put reality to the term “to walk in someone’s shoes”.

If you know an extrovert, check in on them. If you know an introvert who may be extra alone, check in on them. Heck, just check in on the people you love during this time especially. Reach out, offer some time, and don’t forget that all things pass.

-Katherine Hollingsworth, BA

*Work Cited
Carney, Sean; Parawan, Jenny; Wang, Carol. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Manual. Web. 7 April 2020.
<https://www.tolarisd.org/cms/lib3/TX01000982/Centricity/Domain/27/Myers%20Briggs%20Personality%20Test%20Manual.pdf >

Be Kind To Yourself

It is an uncertain time in the world right now, and the news is changing by the hour it seems. It is normal to have feelings of anxiousness and depression during a world-wide pandemic, but remember to be kind to yourself when you start to feel this way, and know that you are not alone in these feelings.

The world is coming together in this beautiful, collaborative movement to #stayhome, and while this is a wonderful sense of community, it is hard to feel that when uncertainty is looming over everyone, in all corners of the world. While I myself struggle with these thoughts and feelings of nervousness and anxiety during these times, there are a few things that keep my days easier, and maybe these will help you too.

Gratitude

It’s hard, I understand, but there are so many things to be grateful for in this time. I like to remind myself of this when my thoughts begin to overwhelm me with everything that I am scared of. Some things I am grateful for today:
*I am thankful for the community that has come together to promote social distancing, and all the people who care greatly for the vulnerable populations.
*I am grateful for the healthcare workers who go to work everyday with the same anxieties that everyone else is feeling in this time of uncertainty.
*I am grateful for the supply chain that is keeping us fed in this time
*I am grateful that I have a roof over my head, and that I am still able to help others with virtual counselling.
*I am so thankful for the essential workers in my community who go to work each day during this uncertain time in history
*I am thankful that I have people who I can reach out to when I am feeling just a little too much of everything all at once.
*I am thankful for music, the internet, creativity, my family, my partner, and my cat who seems to only be worried that her food dish doesn’t remain empty for too long.

Sometimes reminding ourselves that we have much to be thankful for can help us transition from that feeling of panic, to a feeling of peace.

What are you grateful for at this time in your life?

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”

A.A. Milne

Journalling

I saw a post recently that a friend had shared to journal how we are feeling during this time of uncertainty. This is a unique time in history, and there will be moments that we forget, moments we perhaps want to forget, but still pieces of history that we can see and look back at.
Journalling isn’t just a great way to keep a record of the past, but is so helpful to look back at, and say one day “hey, I made it through that”. It’s often a reminder to me that moments do pass.

What does journalling look like for me?
*I usually start with the things I am thankful for
*Then I like to write down the things I am scared of or things I worry about
*After that, I like to remind myself what is in my control, and what isn’t.

In these times, anxiety and depression are bound to spike because the “what if’s” become plentiful and the weight of our own thoughts begin to encumber us. This is normal in these times, and for those who have struggled with anxiety or depression in the past, this can be an even more difficult time.

Sometimes, when I don’t know what to journal, I’ll start making lists:
“What makes me happy?”
“What worries me today?”
“What are my favourite memories?”
“What is my favourite food?”
“List your favourite apps”

When our own thought become heavy for us, writing it down moves it from our thoughts, to a piece of paper. It takes it from one place to another.

What would your journal look like if you got to decorate it with your favourite things?

“Your Journal is like your bestfriend, You don’t have to pretend with it, you can be honest and write exactly how you feel”

Bukola Ogunwale

Exercise

How lucky are we in this beautiful place, to be able to walk outside, smell the fresh air, and still maintain a distance from others? How blessed we are that we live in an area with natural resources that are not only beautiful, but plentiful.
I know it is hard to get up and move when our own thoughts are weighing us down. It’s so easy to sit on our phones and scroll for hours, looking up recent news, headlines, updates, and whatever else the internet has to offer that day. Exercise has lots of benefits that we know of, and a big one that can help in these uncertain times is endorphins. Endorphins make us feel good, and right now I think we all could allow ourselves to feel a little better.

*I like to stretch, and take deep breathes when I am feeling like I haven’t moved in awhile.
*I also like to put on some runners and get outside, soak up the sun (or the rain), and move my body. It always makes me feel better.
*Playing some music and moving around the house either dancing, or cleaning

What can you do in your day to get your body moving and release some endorphins?

“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.”

Elle Woods-Legally Blonde

Routine

Remember when you had a routine? You’d wake up, go to work, go to school, hit the gym, go shopping, head to bar, go see a movie; these are just some of the things that gave us a sense of structure in our lives that now seem to be disrupted.
While I am practicing social distancing, my routine is non-existent, but it sure feels good when I have one.
Some things that have helped me stay on routine is:
*Getting dressed and ready for the day after my cup of coffee. Trust me when I say pajamas are my favorite thing ever, but it feels like I have more structure in my life if I simply get ready for the day. Even though I won’t be seeing anyone, and I am not going out besides to walk, it makes me feel like I have a routine.
*Giving myself a game plan for the day the night before such as: Wake up, have coffee, get dressed, clean that drawer I’ve been looking at for months, read a few chapters of a book.
*Go outside every day, just one thing to always look forward to each day

Whatever your routine will look like set it up.

When I feel like I have tasks to do in a day, or a sense of schedule, it makes me feel a little bit better.

What sort of daily routine can you make for yourself that will help add structure to your day?

I’ve been singing Shakira songs in front of my bathroom mirror into my hairbrush forever. It’s like a daily routine.

Taylor Swift

Get Creative

Humans all over the world have one very amazing thing in common: we create. That creativity, however it is expressed, is a part of being human. Creativity doesn’t necessarily mean to make something wonderful and / or useful, rather, it is an expression of being a human.
*I love to paint, or attempt a new craft when I am feeling creative. I like to knit or crochet, sometimes it doesn’t amount to anything but practicing stitches, but I do it and it feels like I’m utilizing my creative self.
*Baking or cooking, I LOVE to bake or to cook and I always get creative. Even if I’m following a recipe exactly, I still feel like I’m creating something (and when the creating means baked goods in my tummy, I’m extra excited).

Incorporating some creativity into my day helps me release those feelings of worry and panic that come and go in a time of pandemic.

What can you do to nurture your creative side?

Be Kind To Yourself

These are times of great uncertainty, and for many who struggle with mental health, this time in the world is a catalyst to already overwhelming feelings of nervousness or anxiety. I sometimes think about how lucky I am in many ways, and I begin to ponder all the people who are not as privileged as me in the sense of having a safe home, or food in the fridge, and I feel a sense of guilt. It is important to remember that self-love is just as important as loving others.
But be kind to yourself, be grateful for who you are an all the things you bring to the world.
Some ways I have been practicing self-love is:
*Limiting my screen time: I can get caught up in all the news and for some people, this is fine, but for me it can sometimes become overwhelming, so I limit myself to the news and check in twice a day.
*Yoga; stretching and deep breathes make me feel a little more loved.
*Cooking a delicious dinner; I feel more self-love when I make sure I am eating something that is comforting and nutritious.
*A big bowl of popcorn and some peppermint tea while watching a Netflix repeat.
*Catching up with friends and family through video chat, texts, or phone calls
*Have a good cry. Yep, sometimes I just let myself cry it out and give myself that time to feel. It is normal to feel scared, sad, nervous, or just emotional during times of uncertainty. And crying can be the best way to show yourself it is okay to express that.

What can you do to be kind to yourself today?

“You must be very polite with yourself when you are learning something new”

Elizabeth Gilbert

I hope everyone is staying safe and well during this time. If even one of these tidbits of advice rang true for you, I am happy that you found this to read.

“I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.”

Oscar Wilde

Katherine Hollingsworth, BA
*these thoughts are my own and do not necessarily reflect Reach Out’s thoughts, opinions, or viewpoints. This is not a professional advice piece, it is a personal blog entry by myself as the life coach here at Reach Out.

COVID-19 Update

In light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, we would like to assure our clients that we take priority in the cleanliness of our facility, and regularly disinfect our facility, including our bathroom, and fixtures. We are aware of this pandemic and it’s risks with face to face counselling. If you are feeling ill: coughing, sneezing, running nose, please call us to reschedule your appointment as soon as you are symptomatic. If you have been travelling over seas, please inform us of your travel prior to your appointment to ensure the safety of our staff and clients.

The Holidays and Mental Health

Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year.  The air is crisp, Starbucks has all the holiday drinks out, Hallmark Christmas movies are plenty, family gatherings increase, and I get to see my niece and nephew brighten with thoughts of cookies, presents, and Santa Claus.  However, the holidays also come with financial stress, burden, crowded stores, and for many, loneliness. While I am grateful for this special time with my family and loved ones, I am also aware that for many the holidays come with immense stress and confusion. Here are some thoughts for mental health this holiday season.

Mindfulness

As the year comes to a close, it is often a time for reflection on times cherished, and moments that would rather be forgotten. It’s always wonderful to reflect and learn from the past, but it is also important to keep the mind in the present moment.  Enjoy the day given, look at the changing scenery of nature, the way the world moves at a different pace during these times.  Sometimes, this time of year has me thinking about the months to come, the credit card statement that is sure to come soon, and all the stresses of the holiday (more on this later). When my mind begins to race with thoughts of tomorrow, I like to come back to the present and take in the moments I will only have once.  Remaining mindful during the holidays is my first tip for the season!

 

Gift Giving

It’s easy to get caught up in the consumerism of the holidays. As someone whose love language is definitely gift giving, I find it hard to maintain realistic budgets for this time of year.  The little things add up, and while it gives me great joy in buying gifts for my loved ones, everyone has a different approach to the tradition of gift giving.  As I see the hustle and bustle of the holidays around me, I try to remain aware of my personal limitations, and the limitations of others.  While reciprocity is still a major part of human culture, extending beyond your means can cause undue stress. I like to be aware that time is one of the most precious gifts to give someone.  If you think about it, time is irreplaceable, it is yours to choose who you give that gift to. If financial stress haunts you this time of year, remember that giving some of your time is a wonderful gift for someone to receive.  Pair your time with a tea, coffee, card, craft, or a glass of wine! Or, take a stroll down a lit lane, free skating downtown, or any of the events that happen this time of year.  Perhaps offer uninterrupted time, and truly focus your energy on the person(s) in front of you; listen to what they have to share, and offer some of your thoughts. And if in-person time giving is not attainable, thankfully we live in a day and age where connecting with people is easier than ever.  Giving your time will cost no money, but it is truly an amazing gift!

Boundaries

Boundaries are not the easiest things to place in general, little-lone during the holidays, but they are incredibly important! Maintaining boundaries is as easy as accepting and embracing your needs.

There Are More Than One Way To Do Things

Some families celebrate Christmas for the birth of Christ, others for family time, gift giving, great food, and some for all of the above or none of the above.  The point is, there are a million ways to celebrate the holidays and I think it is important to remember that for various reasons. It can be difficult to not compare your holiday to others, but I think it is important to accept that everyone chooses holiday time differently.  Yes, it can be heartbreaking as a parent to not be able to spoil your kids like some parents are able to do, but there is more than one way to express your affections to your child.  The holiday season is rooted in deep familial and cultural tradition, and regardless of how that expression is put forth: mounds of presents, small gifts, big turkey dinners, take-out meals; I believe there is value in it all.

 

It can be tough when the holidays approach and you feel lonely. Some people are experiencing this season without a parent, child, or loved one.  Others may be experiencing hunger, or grief.  Oftentimes this reality sinks deep into my heart and consumes my thoughts.  And so, I end this post with a thought to share: give generously with smiles, offer kindness to retail staff, and patience to servers. Accept your limitations and boundaries. Understand that everyone carries something this time of year, and a simple act of kindness can go along away.

 

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!

Katherine Hollingsworth, BA

 

 

 

Mindfulness

I’m sure we’ve all heard the term ‘mindfulness’, but what exactly does that mean?  In my simplest understanding, mindfulness is being in the present moment.  Mindfulness has a positive effect on our lives, especially when it comes to lowering stress and anxiety.  It makes sense; if our focus is on the present moment, there is no energy to focus on the past or the future.  One of my favourite quotes for understanding the concept of mindfulness is from Lao Tzu (a Chinese philosopher; founder of Taoism)

“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present” 

Makes sense right? I always think that when I am not presently in the present, I am giving up today for tomorrow or yesterday; I’m giving my time to another place in history.  So, how can mindfulness be put into action?

Here are some tips to get you started on mindfulness:

Make a morning routine to express gratitude for the day.  It doesn’t have to be long, even waking up 15 minutes early to write down all the things you are grateful for can help shift your mind to the present moment. 

Morning routines are actually super cool! Once you get into the habit of spending some time with yourself before the busyness of the day begins, that habit can truly shift your life in a positive way.  *Stay tuned I feel this can be a separate post all together!

Notice your surroundings

What do you see right in this moment?  Are you at a desk, sitting on the couch, laying in bed, what is around you that you didn’t take note of?

Focus on your senses

What do you feel, see, taste, hear, smell?  What do your fingers feel, do you hear the buzzing of the refrigerator, what are you sensing all around you? An approach to this is to go from your toes to the top of your head, and just taking note of yourself in the moment.

Do one thing at a time

This one might seem hard, but in today’s world we are always doing more than one thing at a time.  We are having dinner but watching TV, we are with our friends, but we’re on our phone, we are walking in nature, but we are taking selfies, snapchats, and instagraming etc., etc., when we focus on what we are doing, and truly put our mind to the present moment, we are being mindful! How cool!

Ditch the phone

Okay, okay, this one is hard I get it. But try even for an hour, put the phone on airplane mode and enjoy where you are.  Your phone directly removes you from the present moment.  Instead of enjoying dinner with your friends / family / loved one(s), you are taking those moments and offering them to a different space.  It’s a tough one to master, but it can be done! My favourite times to ditch the phone is when I have a relaxing bath, read a book, practice guitar, paint, or bake! It takes some time to not think about the phone, waiting patiently in the other room for some attention, but it feels refreshing when I am able to do something without the distraction of my phone.

When you start to wander to the past or jump ahead to the future, refocus on your senses, your surroundings, and what you are currently doing.

Your mind will wander away from the present, and that’s ok! Don’t get upset with yourself, or think that your thoughts aren’t “normal”! It takes a lot of practice to master mindfulness, and even the best of the best have minds that wander.  Just take note of it, “oh that was a thought for the future, I acknowledge it and refocus on the present”.

These are just some of the ways that I found helpful when I started living a mindful life.  There are LOTS of different ways that mindfulness can be practiced, it may take time to find the one that works best for you, but I assure you, it is a really amazing place to be in 🙂

 

From my humble experience,

Katherine, BA

Welcome To Our Blog!

Hi everyone!

Welcome to Reach Out’s Blog! Here you will find some pretty cool information about mental health, fun articles, book reviews, and other information that may be useful / interesting.