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Mental Health

Tips From Your Friendly Neighborhood Uber-Extrovert

Disclaimer: I’m not trying to say I have it all that hard. None of my friends or loved ones have been infected with COVID-19, and I’m healthy. 

At the same time, I’ve got to say, my mental health is struggling, and for people like me, this is going to be a tough time to stay afloat. See, I’m the textbook definition of an extrovert. All of my energy comes from interactions, from going out and doing and, most importantly, talking. In person.

So, this serves as a bit of a problem. 

But, a week and a half into isolation, I’m doing surprisingly well, so I thought I’d share a couple of my favorite tips for any of the other struggling extroverts out there.

Get. Dressed.

Seriously. I know it’s tempting to stay in pajamas all day. And that’s fun – and perfectly fine in moderation! However, done every day, especially for extroverts, this will begin to take a toll on your mental health. Not saying you have to dress to the nines every morning! Just dress exactly how you would have on campus, or, better yet, choose outfits that make you excited to wear them because even the little things can serve as events to look forward to, in times like these!

Stay busy!

It’s easier said than done! Fortunately, my school work is keeping me active, almost to the point of exhaustion, but if you’re not as swamped as I am, pick up a hobby! Get into reading, knitting or possibly even running around your neighborhood, if that’s safe! A little bit of leisure time should be cherished, but an overwhelming amount of unoccupied free time can lead to bouts of depression for people like us. Get up, get going!

Text your friends.
Original illustration by Kristina Stapelfeld

You’re not being annoying, I promise. Even if you’re the one to reach out most of the time, staying in contact is integral to maintaining a sound mental state. Just a text every few days will do, and a phone call or Facetime will be just as important! Stay in touch; don’t forget your social life.

Make a routine!

Now, I’m not saying that you have to be as structured as you were at school (even though that’s exactly what I’m doing, haha). Creating a structure will allow a sense of familiarity in a really chaotic, uncomfortable time. Throw in some spontaneity, that’ll help, but having an order of operations will make this time easier to swallow.

Remember this isn’t it.

As much as the days are going to melt together and some days you’ll feel hollow inside, this isn’t going to be forever. And more importantly, don’t break and decide on a whim to go out with a group or have a party, even though it’s going to be painfully tempting. Be optimistic – in a couple of months, things will be the way they once were. You just have to get there!

Stay safe and healthy, but also make sure that you’re as happy as you can be right now.

Grace Yannotta

Chapel Hill '23

Grace Yannotta is a freshman at UNC, double majoring in English and History. She is a 2019 Best of the Net nominee and has work published or forthcoming in Parhelion Lit, Ghost City Press, Pider Mag, Rabid Oak, Mojave Heart Review, and Rise Up Review, among others. You can find her on Twitter @lgyanno.
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