How introverts and extroverts are handling the pandemic

June 11, 2020 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Minds

Is being an introvert or an extrovert influencing how you are handling this pandemic?

Introverts tend to be energized by time alone, while extroverts draw their energy from the outside world: the people, places and things around them.

At the start of the pandemic and subsequent stay-at-home order, many believed introverts would fare better than their extroverted friends who thrive on social interaction. “Introverts, check on your extroverted friends. They are not OK,” quickly became a popular social media meme at the start of the pandemic.

But a recent study suggests the opposite, according to a Forbes article. The study, conducted by Virginia-based research consultancy, Greater Divide, surveyed 1,000 American adults and found that those who scored higher on the measure of extroversion were less likely to be experiencing mental health issues due to stay-at-home or quarantine measures.

Some experts contribute the surprising results to extroversion being associated with more positive emotions, optimism and resiliency, while introversion has been linked to more nervousness and fear. The uncertainty of this pandemic may be more difficult for introverts.

While the study suggests that extroverts may be handling the pandemic better than expected, it does not mean they are immune to anxiety or stress from the stay-at-home order. Both personality traits have faced mental health challenges during the quarantine and are stressed in their own ways.

Here are a few ways for both personality traits to better cope during COVID-19:

  • Use technology to connect with friends. For extroverts, making use of social media networks or setting up a virtual game night or friends’ night out could be their lifeblood. While introverts tend to thrive in solitude or quiet times, it is important that they stay in touch with family and friends as well. Technology can help introverts and extroverts make those connections while physical distancing. While a virtual meeting with several people might work well for extroverts, connecting with close friends through one-on-one video chats might prove easier for introverts.

  • Structure your days. With many entertainment venues and events closed, introverts and extroverts are likely adjusting to a lighter schedule. Use your downtime to pursue things of interest to you — maybe it’s a new hobby, trying a new recipe or learning a new language. Keeping busy can provide you with a sense of purpose and improve your outlook.

  • Get outside. While we still need to be physically distant, there is no restriction on getting outdoors for a walk, bike ride or just to work in a garden. A bit of sunshine and time outdoors can do a lot to boost your mood.

  • Make the most of face-to-face time. From big social gatherings to quick interactions with the bank clerk, we are missing this face-to-face time. For introverts and extroverts, finding new ways to make personal connections can help deal with the isolation. Make family breakfast a time to gather or schedule family game nights and other special time together at home.

Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, social distancing from friends and family has likely presented some mental health challenges. Finding ways to connect with others can help with stress, depression and anxiety during the pandemic. Make sure you check in with yourself regularly and reach out for help if you need it.

If you or a member of your family would benefit from working with a therapist, please contact Linden Oaks Behavioral Health at 630-305-5027 for a free behavioral health assessment.

For updates on our planning and response efforts as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19, please check EEHealth.org/coronavirus.

Get more information about coronavirus from Healthy Driven Chicago.

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