Psychologist shares how introverts and extroverts cope differently

Check in on your extroverts

Kelowna psychologist Ivan Trofimoff has shared his thoughts on how introverts and extroverts may be coping very differently with the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The idea of social distancing, quarantine and social isolation are easier for introverts to handle, says Trofimoff, but presents a difficult challenge for extroverts. 

"Recharging your personal energy for introverts is a lot easier with social distancing and isolation. They really get enlivened by this. They get time to be in small groups, or with their intimate partner and maybe their kids if they have any. They like reading, they like catching up on movies and tv shows, they catch up on sleep, they can do stuff like meditating or doing online courses, a lot of alone stuff that they thrive on.

"For extroverts, it's a lot more difficult to have social distancing and dealing with isolation, so extroverts who recharge their personal battery by being with others are going to feel cabin fever a lot more, and a lot sooner."

He suggests some of the things extroverts can do to make themselves feel less frustrated include keeping noise on around the house, participating in online gaming, and maintaining connections through social media.

Making a list of what you can do inside and what you can do outside can give you back some control, says Trofimoff, and it's okay to adapt those lists as things change. 

Getting fresh air is another good idea that will benefit both personality types, but extroverts are more likely to want to meet up with other people while doing so, and break regulations in place of connection. 

"You don’t have to go far to be outdoors, so if you like exercise, you can mountain bike, you can go on hikes, and most of the snow has melted at this elevation, so get some fresh air, just don’t do it in groups.

"Being outdoors on a bicycle, running, hiking, walking your dog is still possible, and that can make you less claustrophobic if you actually do go outside."

Trofimoff, who has worked as a psychologist for 25 years in four countries, says age can also be a significant factor in how we process and cope with the idea of social distancing. 

"The older you are, the more you can tolerate social distancing. When you get to social isolation in old age, that’s different, but we’re talking about children, teenagers and young adults ... they’re the ones who are hardest hit by this."

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