An extrovert in Amsterdam: survival suggestions for expats in the coronavirus-era

When you do a Google search on the word “extrovert,” it gives you “an outgoing, socially confident person.” If you resonate even a bit with that, you probably faced challenges at some point in dealing with the lockdown of the Netherlands in 2020 — a challenge that will continue for the time being.

I am not saying that introverts don’t feel any issues, but let’s be honest this year has been comparatively more intense for the ones who love being social.

We homo sapiens have evolved gracefully and can’t easily let a virus break Charles Darwin’s popular concept of the survival of the fittest. Great job in handling the lockdowns/quarantines/isolations so far!

As the vaccine becomes available, it may be prioritized for certain groups before it’s available for general public. So until then, we got to do what we got to do! Follow rules, wear masks and keep safe.

Clearly, there was not much “out” for the outgoing ones last year. Being an extrovert located in Amsterdam myself, I figured I would offer some suggestions for other like-minded expats living in the Netherlands.

Move it, move it!

Yes, you may have heard this many times that staying active helps. I am sure many of you could adapt your workouts during last year, but I am here to remind you that you need to keep moving.

woman-kneeling-to-tie-running-shoe
Just keep swimming, just keep swimming — or y’know, moving. Image: Tirachard Kumtanom/Pexels.

Personally, I have been able to avoid gyms last year and still keep up with fitness. I plan to continue the same regime this year as it gives me more control over my fitness and easy on that wallet too. How?

Home workouts

They may sound boring to read but trust me it gets fun. And it’s mostly free. I suggest to find a good training video or a challenge, so you can stay disciplined throughout and make sure you finish it. You can also mix and match your workouts to keep yourself motivated. Never done kickboxing before? Now’s your chance! How’s your flexibility holding up? Try some complex yoga poses.

If you’re extra motivated you could also workout in Dutch! Lookup Dutch gym gurus on youtube and work on both that banging bod and your Nederlands!

Go for a run

Ain’t no better feeling than the one you get after you have completed a run. Running is a great exercise and is also safe. Depending on your running experience, you may want to explore running techniques to keep yourself focused. E.g. simply learning to run, improving heart rates or speeds.

What’s great about running in the Netherlands is that almost everything is flat — no steep hills to stop you from completing that 5k. This is great for beginners and who knows, you may end up signing on for an actual (and not the virtual) marathon in 2021! — all going well, of course.

Take yourself for a walk

Simple, fuss free and soothing. Just plug in your earphones and move — but beware of the cyclists! If you like to make your walks more motivating, set up tiny goals for your walk. Maybe consider walking to and from that florist and bringing home flowers OR walking to different coffee places so you get to try nice coffees on the go.

Find something interesting and just explore

Most of the time, extroverts are so busy socializing that we may not remember to explore a new hobby. Pro tip: we all have had that introvert friend who simply prefers staying in vs. going clubbing — it’s probably time to seek his/her suggestions. Who knows, you may unveil a hidden talent and this could become an amazing year to look back on.

Give bird spotting a try from your kitchen window! Or if you’re sick of looking out the window, fill it with plants — they become great company after some time. Especially when a lot of that time is spent alone. Looking to expand your mind? Brush up on some fun Dutch history or, even better — write for the crew here at DutchReview!

Photo-of-painting-equiptment-hobby
You may surprise yourself. Image: Sarah Brown/Unsplash.

Connect with the world

Let me tell you this, there are more people impacted by the isolation than you can think. Some may not even bring it up to you, maybe they don’t want to impose anything on you or don’t know you too well or just don’t want to sound weak.

So go through that contact list, and simply send a “hey” to your childhood buddy with whom you lost touch for no reason. There is nothing more to lose here anyway, is there?

Stay positive and be kind to yourself

The over-dramatic plot line that was 2020 has been an intense year for each and every one of us in the Netherlands, irrespective of being introvert or extrovert. Make sure you plan that well deserved break — which your mind needs.

Photo-be-kindd-to-yourself-mental-health-netherlands
Image: Emma Simpson/Unsplash.

Try planning to see your family (if rules permit!), working on those new year resolutions, or simply doing nothing! Pamper your mind and body, so you could reboot yourself for when things turn for the better!

What is that hobby which helped you get through corona times? Tell us in comments below.

Feature Image: Chait Goli/Pexels.

Swati Manocha
Swati Manocha
Born in India and moved to the Netherlands about 9 years ago for her Masters. Swati has travelled extensively in past years, experiencing various cultures. Recently turned into a coffee enthusiast, she is passionate about exploring different things (fitness, food, whiskeys, hikes & more). She's an extrovert who is trying to adopt and enjoy the new ways of living (during covid era).

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