Pandemic fatigue is real and it doesn’t affect only health workers.
Today, it’s nearly impossible to find a person who is not tired of social distancing. Whether you agree with your government’s strategy for handling the COVID-19 pandemic or not, it’s undeniable that living like this for months can be challenging for everyone.
But what about introverts? We must be better equipped for dealing with social isolation, aren’t we? Well, in general, we are, but it’s only a part of the story.
The Beginning of the Pandemic
In the spring of 2020, when the pandemic spread across Europe and North America and governments started to implement social distancing measures, I took it lightly.
Of course, I wasn’t happy about this global crisis, but I found it somehow ironic that the whole world was suddenly forced into adopting a lifestyle that was natural to a quiet loner such as I was.
It felt like eventually, all introverts got justified after years of being misfits and outsiders in the extroverted society.
Unlike extroverts, we didn’t really struggle with social distancing measures since many of us had already been living like this for years. Stay home? Most of the time! Keep your distance from other people? Absolutely! Avoid large social gatherings? Always!
But months passed, and the situation didn’t seem so ironic anymore. We all lost the normalcy of our lives and no longer had the freedoms and opportunities we had taken for granted before the pandemic started.
Yes, it’s true that as introverts, we had become friends with social isolation long before the COVID-19 era. We always know how to entertain ourselves without leaving the house. And we have fewer needs for social interaction than the rest.
But we too enjoy small get-togethers with our few friends and miss our nearest and dearest who live far away. We too long for the time when we could go out for dinner or watch the latest sci-fi movie in the cinema.
One Simple Cause of Pandemic Fatigue That Affects Both Introverts and Extroverts
But most importantly, every one of us is tired of social distancing and the pandemic situation for one simple reason – we want our future back. We all miss the privilege of making plans for our lives.
Under current circumstances, we have to postpone our plans. And I’m not talking just about our travel or leisure arrangements. I’m also talking about life goals and pursuits.
Whoever planned to chase their dream and start a business in the pre-pandemic world is no longer certain that this is achievable. Someone who was going to start a family and have a baby is no longer sure that now is the right moment.
In essence, we have put our personal lives on hold for an indefinite time. And this is one of the main causes of the so-called pandemic fatigue, which has affected people of all nations, ages, and personality types.
Human beings thrive when they can plan for their future and have a meaningful goal to pursue. When we have no other choice but to live in an atmosphere of global fear and uncertainty, our mental health suffers.
We feel confused and insecure; we realize how vulnerable and powerless we are. Currently, we don’t even have the power to decide on our own lives. We are no longer certain about our tomorrows and have no idea when we will take our normal lives back.
But there is more to the pandemic’s negative effects on our mental health – there is also a concept of pandemic depression.
I would say that this emotional state is very similar to the so-called Weltschmerz, which describes one’s pain caused by the world’s suffering and inability to change the situation.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that every sensitive individual, regardless of their occupation or personality type, is feeling frustrated and desperate right now.
Seeing other people suffering and sensing all this tension of fear, uncertainty, and panic in the air can be overwhelming for anyone, but especially for empaths or highly sensitive individuals. Not even mentioning the never-ending flow of negative news from our phone, computer, and TV screens.
Other factors that lead to pandemic depression are very similar to the causes of pandemic fatigue and include long-term social isolation, uncertainty about one’s future, and a lack of freedom.
Is There a Way to Cope with Pandemic Fatigue and Depression?
However, despite all this, let’s not lose hope in these challenging times. Let’s keep believing that a positive change will come soon. Till then, we will have to find ways to keep going and cope with our pandemic fatigue and depression.
As for me, I’ve found a curious remedy that works: I’ve noticed that reading dystopian books and watching gloomy movies and TV series helps relieve these emotional states.
Maybe it works because we find dystopian movies and novels as relatable as never before. Or because we feel relieved since the protagonists of those films and books are having an even harder time than we are.
Are you tired of social distancing too? How do you cope with pandemic fatigue and depression? Please share your opinion below.
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This Post Has 6 Comments
As an introvert myself, I can relate and experienced many similar feelings to those you expressed. Mine was slightly different in that, being an introvert I don’t have tons of friends so not being able to see people meant I was completely cut off from basically everybody. I’m single so there’s been no one to talk to or interact with regularly for the past 9 months.
I see people breaking with the restrictions, wearing masks under their noses (if they knew how really stupid this looks, would they still do it?) and standing much too close. Yes,I’m very sick of this pandemic and wish it would be over but with people not doing what they’re supposed to be doing (Thanksgiving and Christmas travel, anyone?) it will drag out longer. Even introverts are very tired of being quite this isolated.
I have always been very introverted, so yes, I’m taking the lockdown easily. But, what I don’t like is elected entities and unelected entities taking control ( or what control they have always had or believe they have; over others lives) Money, laws, morals, property ownership – including our own bodies, and other god given rights for survival are suddenly (or so it seems) to be in the hands of people that don’t even care if we have shelter, food, or clothing on our backs.
Medicine (including vaccines) should be a personal choice; with individual and tailored to protocols. We are not “In this Together”, we are very alone now. I cope by doing yoga, eating well, playing with my dog and taking secluded mountain trips to cabins and Hot Springs.
Totally agree, this is exactly what I find the most overwhelming too – the overall lack of control over my own life.
I had ambivalent feelings; at least everyone else was in the same boat. No sense of me being isolated,s o much since everyone else was. Also, it meant that my home environment was much quieter, no screaming kids in neighbouring gardens. Altho’ I can recognise that my absent-mindedness has increased substantially, and it takes more effort than ever to get any sense of organisation into my life.
Again I have no contact with family and my friends do not live locally, so I was more isolated at the same time. I relished the intitial peace and quiet on the roads as well. I am slightly anxious about things returning to normality since I have been getting used to not having to be in crowds and
am apprehensive how I will cope when I am. So, a mixed bag of feelings about this.
I practised much the same thing years ago by reading Russian novels1
I’m an “extrovert” and yet, behave more like an “introvert” so, I’m somewhat doing what I’d normally do and yet, knowing that should I want to be out, I can’t go does a number on my head and mind. My anxiety and depression are both sky high and I’m Fed UP with being in all of the time.
Though I don’t have many people in my life, I try to stay in, not have social gatherings of any kind, and I’m trying to learn new things all of the time. I really appreciate the idea of less happy people in movies and books but it’s really getting to me now, isolating.
I certainly WISH that people and even politicians who break the “rules” would STOP it and the news…I’ve turned off. I get what information I want then turn it over or even off. I’ve had enough of it all.
I DO try to remember that NONE of us have control over our “futures” even during non-pandemic times. I just wish that we had more knowledge about this stupid brainless virus. :). Again…it’s an attempt at “control” but I want it OVER now!