My partner and I are in self-isolation (soon to be quarantine when the UK catches up with the rest of the world) and so I thought that I’d share some lessons that we introverts have been practising for years to bring to you today.
Lesson One: Find a silent hobby.
Now, I know some of you will be rolling your eyes right now, but you can include headphones in this…just make sure they actually block the noise coming from them. Whilst you may enjoy scarring your ear-drums now, and want to spread your appreciation for hardcore Squirrel Rap with the rest of the house, believe me, it’ll get old. Fast.
You want to avoid conflict as much as possible at this time because you have nowhere to flee to. You can not storm out of the house and you can not just declare that everyone is a loser and flounce off into the distance for them not understanding the finer points of the skill behind [insert generic band number five here]. Believe me, when I say, I will likely love generic band number five, but not when blaring tinnily out of someone else’s headphones whilst they glare at me with the universal stare of ‘what are you gonna do about it, you pleb’.
Think of others, because those are the people that you’re going to be spending the next three months with.
A few ideas for ‘silent’ hobbies:
- Read any form of book (that doesn’t pay a tune when you open it).
- Puzzle games
- Computer Games (with headphones).
- Computer RPG’s (with headphones) – I would personally recommend all the Elder Scrolls games as they are nice and long and highly immersive (Morrowind has a fantastic story if you can push past the old-school combat mechanics.
- Write a book or keep a journal. You can even do this via the computer if you don’t use pen and paper like us old folks. *Wink*
- Make something. You can find so many creative ideas online, but you can also simply look around the house and see what you have right next to you.
- Clean – you know you want to…
Lesson Two: Make time to talk.
Actually talking to and then listening to the people you are in a house with is going to make such a difference to your quarantine experience, believe me.
Even if you don’t like them, make the effort. If someone wakes up pissy and starts sniping at everything anyone does, then ask them what’s really wrong. Find some common ground. Maybe even combine lesson one and two together and practice some techniques from Feeling Good – This is a book I would recommend to EVERYONE ON THE PLANET – and it even comes in audio form for us dyslexics too.
Keeping the peace will be important over the coming months, but so will be the support of those around you. The world is changing around us, and it’s likely going to be a permanent one, so practice patience, active listening and finding common ground because those are the things we will all need to get through this together.
Lesson Three: Find an online group/guild in a game that brings you joy.
I say this specifically because there are a lot of online groups out there that will look as if they will, but will eventually be a detriment to your mental health.
Online groups can be fantastic for people looking to connect over a shared interest, but make sure that the group is a healthy one.
Some of the warning signs to look out for include:
The Drama Llama
If the group leader doesn’t stamp down on these types of people quickly, run for the fucking hills. Trust me. It sounds like fun at the beginning – after all, there’s always something going on and it’s not my drama, so I can grab the popcorn and watch from the sidelines…until you comment. Then all that drama gets Lazer-focussed onto you…and then it’s all your problem and you weren’t even that invested, to begin with. It’s not worth it, trust me.
When I compare the joy I’ve felt being a part of drama-free online groups/guilds v drama-filled ones, it’s like night and day. Go drama-free EVERY TIME.
Politics and Religion
It’s a cliche, I know, but unless your group is all about those things, then don’t bring them up. You’ll quickly see how fast people polarise if you do and this is the opposite of what online groups/guilds are all about. We’re trying to bring people together, not push them apart.
The Generally Toxic Atmosphere
If you find people creating weird rules, strange posts or generally acting like self-entitled knob-rockets, then leave. Trust me. You don’t even need to make a fantastically poetic departing message saying how sorry you are to have to do this etc… no, just leave. Those people are crazy. Like, bat-shit-nutso type crazy and it’s highly likely that it’s run by someone who is in no way mentally stable. Get gone! There are plenty of other groups out there, and you can find happiness and harmony within them, trust me. If I have managed it, so can you.
Until then, I shall raise my glass to you all, and say stay happy and safe in these troubled times.
This will pass and we will get through it, together, from a safe distance *wink*.
So this is Sophie, signing out.