The extent to which you are feeling happy with life under lockdown will partly be determined by whether you are an introvert or an extrovert. Other factors will obviously play a role but personality traits will affect your response both now and when the lockdown begins to loosen.

Whereas extroverts tend to be outgoing and sociable, finding themselves energised by the company of others, introverts enjoy time spent on their own or with just small groups of other people.

Extroverts are stimulated by all forms of social interaction while introverts gather strength from quieter and more solitary pass-times. Introverts are not totally averse to socialising, but will need to retreat from company to reenergize and recourperate.

It is generally felt that the likeable, friendly though sometimes overbearing extrovert is more valued by society due to his or her outgoing and convivial nature. Many of the norms of work and social life tend to favour the extrovert.

In recent times however there have been attempts to challenge this view and to sing the praises of introverts who can often be thoughtful, creative, spiritual and highly intelligent.

One of the most notable examples is the book Quiet, by Susan Cain who writes:

Extroversion is an enormously appealing personality style, but we’ve turned it into an oppressive standard to which most of us feel we must conform.

A quick google search for examples of famous introverts provides an impressive list of names which includes: Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, JK Rowling, Meryl Streep and Barack Obama.

It is not surprising that the new work practices and social restrictions created by the lockdown are much more suited to the temperament of the introvert rather than the extravert, a subject which is explored in a newspaper article headed ‘For Introverts, lockdown is a chance to play to our strengths’.

The way we live now has split us in two,’ writes Jess Denham. ‘For introverts, it’s largely business as usual. But for my more extroverted friends, who are clamouring for Zoom calls to fill the gaping hole the pub has left in their lives, it’s a deeply testing time’.

A close and valued friend of Michaela’s who recently suffered a family bereavement was brave enough to agree to be interviewed for a podcast named My Condolences.

The podcast aims to explore people’s experiences of loss and Kate, herself a counsellor, was asked to reflect upon her grief journey so far.

If you have endured the loss of a loved one, you may well relate to much of what Kate has to say, particularly in relation to the reaction of others when someone we love dies. Kate describes feeling surprised and let down by the way some friends responded.

This is sadly, a common theme which clients raise during the therapy process. Many people find that even close friends can avoid contact after a bereavement as they simply don’t know what to say. Other clients talk about some of the insensitive things people say, in an attempt to make them ‘feel better’.

Kate has been courageous enough to share some of her experience of losing her beloved Step-Mum, Sue, in the podcast. Kate wanted to help raise awareness of what most people need when they are grieving - simply to be allowed to feel their grief, to be listened to and to know that people care.

You can hear Kate’s moving story by clicking the link below:

Kate Shares Her Experience of Loss on the My Condolences podcast

If you’d like to explore some practical tips for dealing with anxiety, try the NHS Every Mind Matters website. It provides step by step instructions on techniques which can alleviate an anxious frame of mind. There are also short videos which focus on helpful ways to challenge anxious thoughts & reframe them in a more positive, constructive way.

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