The coronavirus pandemic that hit us this spring has changed our lives forever. So far, it has infected more than 3 million people worldwide and killed more than two hundred thousand victims. It has crashed major economies and forced ourselves to give up on our everyday life as we know it.
It has locked us up in our houses, making us hostages of our own every day, “survival” routines. It has forced us to face each day as another battle. To ignore other people and stay alone, no matter what.
It has practically put us in the same sinking ship. Or has it?
I say we stop with the generalizations once and for all.
Because, as much as this global quarantine feel distressing, it does not affect us all the same.
The truth is, not all of us experience it the same way. Yes, there are people who struggle to even get through the day, but there are also people who enjoy this period. People who thrive in isolation. People who respond to this whole panic in a completely different way. People who see this crisis as an opportunity for growth.
Let’s take introverts and extroverts for example.
It has been proven that extroverts thrive on the dopamine-charged good feelings they get when they socialize, while introverts thrive on exactly the opposite, spending more time alone. In fact, a recent study also confirmed that fact. In the study, both extroverts and introverts were asked to spend a whole week behaving extrovert-like (socializing, taking, etc). And while the extroverts experienced enhanced mood and positive feelings, the introverts reported that the entire experiment only made them feel exhausted and irritable.
Funnily enough, the social distancing rules that we are all instructed to follow right now are like a mirror image of the before mentioned. Right now, it is the extroverts that find it hard to adjust their sails to the current situation, while the introverts are having the time of their lives.
But it’s not just those two classifications. Let’s go a bit deeper. There are a lot of aspects of our personalities that might either help us or hinder us during these hard times.
For example, people who are organized and adaptable, will easily create a well-structured daily schedule and stick to it. Compassionate, polite, and cooperative people will enjoy spending time with their loved ones at home. Those who have a wild imagination and are curious about things will have no problem losing themselves in their favorite books, movies, series, and creative messes. However, those who are highly sensitive to internal and external stressors will most likely struggle to cope with their anxiety and depression during these challenging days.
Another research has also proven that people who are self-reliant, autonomous, emotionally stable, friendly, and patient have a better coping mechanism during these hard times. They respond to extreme isolation differently. The team of researchers has also concluded that sociable introverts – people who enjoy the company but do not crave social interaction to be happy – would absolutely enjoy capsule living.
Which brings us to the final conclusion… Being alone does not necessarily mean that a person is lonely. Experts are calling this a “loneliness epidemic”, but I couldn’t disagree more. The reality is, what a cloud is to someone, can be a silver lining to another person. The truth is, solitude can be just as therapeutic and comforting as emotional support. Some people go mad in quarantine and some manage to stay calm and organized, determined, patient, and most importantly, connected with themselves. Some are happy to be quarantined with their loved ones and some prefer to be completely isolated. Whatever their choice is, it’s what’s best for them.
Social isolation may sound scary, but there are people who thrive on it. Let’s salute them, for they are the ones who make this world a better place.