Is this pandemic worse for extroverts than for introverts?

Mental Health

Q: And what can each personality type do to stay mentally healthy right now?

A: The emotional toll of the pandemic has been tough on both extroverts and introverts.

Research tells us taking a growth-mindset approach to personality is the healthiest way to stay flexible, and that communication about your socio-emotional needs is more important than ever right now.

Psychologist Carl Jung coined the terms “introvert” and “extrovert” and a century later, the rest of us use these words pretty liberally: Introverts are restored by a night alone at home, extroverts are replenished by a big party. While most people are “ambiverts” – we like a mix of alone-time and social-time – the pandemic has turned life upside down for all of us.

➡️ Extroverts are struggling

There aren’t as many opportunities to get energy from being in a crowd, to walk down a work corridor and get a few opinions on your new idea or to anticipate and dress up for the hottest ticket in town. And all this time alone means looking inward, which can bring up challenging emotions for folks who prefer to be busy rather than reflective.

➡️ Introverts are struggling, too.

Research suggests that pandemic isn’t the boom for introverts we’d expect. There are more interruptions, there is no quiet time with families working and schooling under the same roof and life seems much less predictable. And because many introverts have a smaller social network, isolation can be a real issue.

➡️ What works for YOU?

Let go of the idea of fixed personality traits, and instead think clearly about what has (and hasn’t) worked for you so far. Then, put it into action by communicating and takes steps toward a better strategy for the coming months.

💡 When communicating for work, do you prefer email or phone calls? Slack chat or an email message? Tell your colleagues what is feeling right for you, and act on that.

💡 When relaxing, do you prefer to curl up alone and watch Bridgerton, or do outdoor walking cocktails with friends? Make a date (with yourself or others!) to do that this week.

💡 When exercising, do you stay motivated by getting in the zone on your own, or being egged on by others in a real-time virtual race? Research some of the various apps, outdoor and online options to choose physical activity that’s right for you.

We’re all an experiment of one, and it’s lifelong research. Now is a great time to look back—and look forward—for strategies that work for you.

With love,
Dr. Whelan and Those Nerdy Girls

An overview, with statistics, of extroverts, introverts and ambiverts

Research on introverts struggling during the pandemic

More on work and personality types during COVID

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