Your personality vs COVID lockdown experience – they are connected
It might be just me, I’ve often wondered if your personality and your COVID lockdown experience are connected – they are.
I did some investigating.
As we all know, there are two very common traits of personality often spoken about. Those of you who are introverts and those who are extroverts.
Most of the time you will lean to one side of the fence, however there can be exceptions to the rule.
Here is a brief explanation of the differences..
Often characterised by quieter individuals, who prefer smaller groups of people. They are more thoughtful, processing information for long periods of time before speaking about it. You can be easily overstimulated and this can be the reason many of you seek out smaller groups of people.
Introverts enjoy their own space and actually need their own space in order to almost recover from the socialising that may have happened.
Energised by this time alone. You can also be understood as controlled and careful, but are easily withdrawn in stressful situations.
On the opposite side of the fence, extroverts are more outgoing, optimistic and tend to be more sociable. You will quite often enjoy large social gatherings and can be seen as the social butterfly. They draw their energy from the outside world.
Previous studies have shown that coping behaviours are related to personality traits such as introversion and extroversion.
You will tend to gravitate towards environments that suit you, it doesn’t change in situations of high stress and uncertainty, such as COVID lockdown.
These types of environments could encourage you to develop more of what first led you there. Introverts in lockdown may discover they like their own company more than others.
What we expected to happen in lockdown did not go down exactly as the research predicted.
Our cultural evolution happens at a much higher speed than our biological evolution. It gives way for adaptation in the face of stress.
Stress in the evolutionary view puts whatever a person values at risk or under threat. That could be anything from physical places or things, conditions of life to personal qualities or other assets. Coping is therefore the effort to prevent or diminish that threat or loss and to reduce the stress it’s causing.
It’s important to understand those little details in order to see the bigger picture – why we have not responded the way our research predicted.
What we expected to happen in COVID lockdown
With this understanding, you would expect that extroverts would be the biggest suffered in COVID lockdowns.
If you are one of these people. Your social expectations are diminished, you are seemingly cut off from the world. Unable to gather in large groups, expected to internalise your stress where there are no other members of your household. While introverts could retreat back to their houses and cope in the peace and quiet of their own spaces.
What actually happened in COVID lockdown
There are conscious and unconscious coping responses to stress, which believe it or not, can change over time. There have already been some early studies to suggest that extroverts are not having as much trouble as first thought.
But why? I hear you ask..
It could be because of their natural tendency to think positively.
With both traits experiencing their own mental health challenges, people are dealing with and reacting to the stress in different ways. The positive of our cultural impacts growing at a much larger pace has meant that we have technology on our side. The use of technology to connect has lessened the impact on extroverts. Allowing introverts to log off and recover from the social strain.
It have also allowed extroverts to gain more time to be present, make the most of time outside and structured days.
These moments are giving extroverts the ability to lean closer to the introverted side of the fence.
It has taken time to get to a place of acceptance. As a society we place value on social skills more than of the skills of solitude [something that is slowly changing]. So we need to give each other time to get back to our ‘new normal’ outside of lockdowns.