How Was Your Pandemic?
Recognizing how social distancing impacts everyone differently.
I’ve heard this question a lot the last few weeks as things slowly return back to “normal.” One thing that I didn’t understand until a friend brought it up was the different experiences we had all had. You see, I was enjoying parts of the pandemic and feeling guilt around it. Speaking as someone that’s very introverted, having the ability to stay home, and be restricted in entertaining others was a breath of fresh air for me. My friend pointed out that she had been having a difficult time because she tends to be very extroverted and she recharges by having a lot of human interaction.
I realized the lack of empathy that was being shown to her by myself and did a quick self-reflection while we were on our phone call to ask her what ways I could help her feel more energized? To which she replied, you can just talk to me. The simplicity of a small interaction was interesting to me because while I did get joy out of speaking with a friend, it wasn’t necessary to recharge my own batteries. I’ve since had conversations with several friends about their experience with the lack of human interaction and physical connection through these last few months.
To my surprise, a lot of people said they were drained from the stress of missing physical human interaction and did not find this time relaxing. I’m so glad that I had a trusting person point out to me that everyone’s perceptions of this time are very different. As a therapist, we’re taught to see the world in multiple ways and while we do the absolute best we can, we are human at the end of the day, so sometimes the obvious can get away from us.
I want to acknowledge that this is absolutely a terribly sad and difficult time and these circumstances are far from ideal, while at the same time I want to give space to those who have been positively impacted and are feeling a bit guilty for enjoying this time to recharge alone. There is nothing wrong with either way of recharging your social battery, what’s important is recognizing and respecting that others may recharge theirs differently.