Right now, social media has a flurry of interesting video posts of what people are doing during the COVID-19 self-isolation. Whether we're working from home or looking for ways to pass the time, it can be a bit of a challenge. For some, it's sparking ideas, creativity and innovation, and for others it feels more like an imposed prison of social disconnection. It appears this time of restriction is taking a toll on our overall wellbeing, causing exaggerated levels of discomfort and a polarisation of our introvert and extrovert tendencies.
So what does this mean and how can we adapt to the changes and the experience of self isolation?
If you are a natural introvert, you are probably loving this self-isolation from the rest of the world, and maybe right now you are in personal heaven. Finally, you have a legitimate reason to bunker down and do what you love doing, such as dreaming, creating, working on your projects and generally lapping up the opportunity to be in your own space and energy.
Unless of course you are now residing with a whole lot of ‘house-mates’ that are crowding out your perfect haven! If this is the case, a remedy of balanced timeout may be required to keep up your energy and your feeling of personal space. Why not agree on a period of time away from the family-zone to do your own thing. Create a place where you can be in your own bubble to fill your cup for a while. Perhaps you can make time to enjoy a long bath, watch a movie with headphones on, flick through Facebook or YouTube without feeling guilty, do some gardening, record your favourite dance moves in your bedroom, or chill for an hour of meditation to restore your energy. Taking time to tend to your needs is as important as spending time in close connection with others.
The extroverts out there - are you feeling the pain of being on your own? If you are longing for connection you may be running yourself ragged with multiple phone calls and Zoom meet-ups. It’s okay, do what you need to do to create a feeling of connection with others and the outer world again. It’s all about creating balance to restore your sense of inner equilibrium and harmony. We may not be able to meet our needs for in-person connection with our friends and colleagues, however there are opportunities to be more creative. I’m seeing a lot of hilarious & fun-loving videos on social media of cats, dogs, birds, and bunnies who are snuggling up with their owners to share the love and connection of physical contact.
With self-isolation many of us are being stretched beyond our usual comfort zone, which means making a greater effort to manage our emotions, our personal space, our mental wellbeing, and our physical activities. With routines and regular habits changing, we may be realising the need to be more consciously self-directed.
We can increase our sense of wellbeing through improved self-management and understanding what drives us to feel satisfied or fulfilled.
So, are you intrinsically or extrinsically motivated?
If we are primarily extrinsically motivated, we are likely to be driven by external cues and satisfied by rewards outside of ourself. For some, working from home may feel more of a struggle to be self-motivated. The external prompts of the daily routine of going to work and being accountable to colleagues may have been helpful to maintain focus and concentration for achieving tasks. In contrast, being in isolation from the community without the external cues and the rewards of social connection, may be causing some people to feel increased levels of stress or apathy. When we are primarily driven by our external world, there can be a tendency to rely on others or external circumstances to be the source of our happiness and sense of fulfilment. When the external world changes (as it is for all of us at the moment), we can be left feeling somewhat powerless and without control. It can be easy to slip into helplessness if we are externally motivated and we are not receiving what usually fills our cup of certainty and satisfaction.
When we are primarily intrinsically motivated, it means we are satisfied by internal rewards, or the ability to create our own happiness and sense of fulfilment. This may mean that when we are working from home we are self-driven, organised and focused on our daily work tasks. We can start and finish projects with relative ease, and our sense of satisfaction comes from what we do and produce of our own accord.
From a personal perspective, it also means we are able to create a sense of purpose and routine in our daily life. Simple self-management includes getting up at the same time each day, and committing to certain activities that make you feel good. Things like eating well and having an exercise routine in the home. These days there are increasingly more online yoga, fitness and dance workouts being offered, and even global meditation sessions. Ask yourself, how do you want to feel, and use your inner inspiration to be the driver to create activities that fill your cup. What do you love doing? Now is your time to empower yourself and create simple moments of pleasure and satisfaction, which lead to longer term fulfilment.
Let's keep in mind, that we are all extrinsically and intrinsically motivated at different times, and this is perfectly fine when we are balanced and stable in managing our wellbeing. However, learning to be self-driven and to strengthen our ability to self-manage, will ensure our longer term happiness.
What can also help in self-managing our life to best suit our wellbeing, is knowing our natural personality type. Our personality type is our natural way of being, which influences how we interact with the world and how we respond internally.
If you tend to be more of an introvert personality, you are likely to re-gain your energy and sense of wellbeing when you are in your own company. Periods of solitude, away from the draining energy of others, is where you feel safe and less pressure to respond, and where you can focus on meeting your own needs.
Someone with an an extrovert personality tends to feel renewed and inspired when they connect with other people and animals. It’s as if they get their battery recharged in social settings or when experiencing closer physical contact. When in isolation however, an extrovert who is lacking contact with others, will find themselves quickly losing energy and focus, and may even slip into bouts of sadness, anxiety or depression.
When we understand what drives us to meet our mental, emotional and physical needs, we can more confidently manage our time, energy and activities so we feel fulfilled and we can live with a sense of purpose.
Is it easier to maintain good mental health when we are self-aware. We are all different, and so what we need for our wellbeing is going to vary. When we know ourself well, we can consciously choose ways to proactively live a better life.
Spiritual Life Coach
Author - "The Power of Soul Loving - A Spiritual Guide to Love and Freedom"
Rebecca Gabrielle, author of "The Power of Soul Loving - a spiritual guide to love and freedom".
Rebecca Gabrielle has been able to see the magnificence and truth of people’s souls from an early age. With a background in psychology, counselling, life-coaching, spiritual development, and energy healing, Rebecca has fine-tuned her psychic and intuitive skills to connect with the Divine to receive and deliver messages of unconditional love. Through her writing, soul-coaching and card readings she assists people to reconnect with their true self so they can experience clarity, peace of mind, joy and passion for doing what they love.