The difference between being isolated by choice and by force

Many people are socially more isolated these days due to coronavirus. I’m no exception.

Is it easier for me because I’m an introvert and used to be alone most of the time? Yes and no. At first, I thought it’ll be pretty much the same. But it’s not. I finished exhausting psychotherapy recently and I was craving some alone time badly. But now I’m craving human contact as badly as I was craving being alone. Just at the right time, when we were told to stay away from each other as much as possible.

I’m not surprised at all. It’s the way our minds work. We tend to wish for what we can’t have, many times. Sounds familiar?

Thankfully, we have quite good technology that connects us to our loved ones when they’re not around. They’re always just a click or a phone call away. And we have the whole internet full of people to socialize as much as we want to.

This is all great, but nothing can replace human touch and physical presence. It just makes a difficult time a bit easier.
Here and now is all we have and it’s up to us to make the best out of it. Accepting this is not nearly as easy as it might sound. But it’s better than wishing and craving for something more than it’s available at the moment. Some dreaming is good though.

What about you, how do you cope with being isolated a bit more than usual?

Further reading:
Fixing The Issue Of Always Wanting What You Can’t Have
How to be happier with what you already have and stop wanting more
The Power of Acceptance: Stop Resisting and Find the Lesson
113 Fun activities to do at home with kids while self-isolating
Restricted movements and self-isolation
‘Pause, reflect and stay home’: how to look after yourself and others in self-isolation

24 thoughts on “The difference between being isolated by choice and by force

  1. Dwight Hyde Reply

    Iโ€™ve been calling my family members and checking on them plus texting friends and making sure they are okay.

    • ๐‘น๐’๐‘ฉ๐‘ฐ๐‘ต ๐ŸŒ‹ Reply

      Also the world will be quieter. I do feel for you though and many people who won’t know what’s coming. It will definitely be difficult for everybody, isolation is a killer.

      But, perhaps out of it some community spirit will arise, and maybe it won’t turn out to be as bad as it currently looks. One day at a time ๐Ÿ’™.

  2. Donovan Carper Reply

    Itโ€™s funny, Iโ€™m an introvert but I am surprised how quickly I feel lonely if the house is empty. Working in healthcare however I will have no shortage of human contact during this outbreak!!!!

      • Health Comes First!!! Blogger Reply

        I have been checking in with my elderly Mom a couple of times a day. I would like for her to be able to come to our house and hang out but I am worried we will by accident convey the virus although we don’t have the symptoms. We are staying at home by choice. She is staying at home. We have technology to keep us together

  3. stumblingfaith Reply

    After working with people all day I crave the solitude of my home. I don’t get to be isolated because I am a case manager for disabled children so right now my job is to keep all the parents calm while their children are home. I think it’s true though that nothing replaces physical presence and comforting touch <3

  4. David Lee Moser Reply

    I was talking with a friend about this same thing just this afternoon…we both tend to isolate during much of the day, but when it’s forced upon us with no options for anything else, it can become disconcerting. I usually go to the local cafe several times each week and during the pandemic, am having to stay put most of the time. It’s no longer an option since any food service businesses can only offer take-out. To make the problem even more pronounced in my life, I’ve also taken a hiatus from social media for the season of Lent. So at least until April 12th, I’ll have to do without that as well. I’ve even considered breaking that fast, but as of yet am standing strong. Thanks so much for sharing!

  5. juliadeniro Reply

    I’m an introvert. I haven’t had to stay in the house all the time yet, but that time may come. I’ve been talking to my parents on the phone.

  6. Natural Coach Reply

    Its an interesting question. Certainly there’s a difference (prison!)…and yesterday’s news in the UK that schools will close has come as an unwelcome shock to my daughters. Not only will they lose their social networks (virtual contact isn’t a long term substitute), I suspect the isolation will reinforce reliance on online communications, gaming, too much YouTube. My youngest is a dancer and all that – the practice, the group and team work, the exercise and its benefits – are not fully replaceable in isolation. There’s a lot for us to do as a family – and we are the lucky ones. Getting into nature daily is part of the remedy (, as is talking and listening to one another more often and more deeply than we normally would. Take care.

  7. morgueticiaatoms Reply

    I am an introvert and a homebody. I am happiest at home doing my own thing. But now that they could impose laws ;’forbidding’ me to leave my home, stripping me of my free will…my inner rebel has emerged and is railing against being told I can’t. Never mind I don’t particularly want to go out. Being told I can’t just triggers me.

    • mistera56789 Reply

      Ditto here. Being forced to do it hasn’t mattered at all. Strange, cause some things DO make a total difference when “forced to”. Writing, especially. I’m great with that….except when I’d have an assignment or column due

  8. Nat Reply

    It’s hard being home more often now. Sigh. I was just getting used to my schedule of rushing off to school almost every day and being in a different space/environment. Now it’s by force that I have nowhere to go because everything is closed and must adhere to “social distancing”, and that’s frustrating because I often liked going out on my own to a variety of places. I was already practicing social distancing before the coronavirus, lol, except it was for different reasons (anxiety, social awkwardness, being more of an introvert, liking my alone time, etc). Now it doesn’t feel that much different, except I have paranoia about being around people because I don’t want to potentially get sick.

  9. sundaydutro Reply

    Love this post. I agree: being told to do something removes it’s joy. I struggle with remembering this when trying to get my kids to do things; ha!

  10. The Quernal Reply

    I can truly relate to this. There have been times I could go on living alone, doing my work and in bliss. But this time it’s difficult a bit.

  11. authorwilliammangieri Reply

    I’ve been mostly isolated with my wife for over a month, except for 1-2 trips to the store per week, and a weekly trip to drop off supplies for someone who can’t do for themselves. I’ve been working from home the entire time (my wife is high-risk, so I had to protect her, but I’m blessed to have a job that allows that.)
    I’m pretty much a homebody, so it wouldn’t have been hard for me to choose this isolation without the virus to force the issue. And yet, you’re right – I miss being able to leave the house when I want to, and find myself thinking up more reasons to go out. I also resent “authorities” making arbitrary rules about what I’m “allowed” to do.
    We all want to be free.

  12. jenniferviola82 Reply

    I picked a project to do on my house. Since i have six autoimmune diseases those home DIYโ€™s take FOREVER. Thatโ€™s kind of helping. And i finally decided to unpack my books as part of that project. So itโ€™s giving myself a reward of sorts ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. heatherjo Reply

    This is easier for me than for most. Iโ€™m an introvert and a homebody. I enjoy the quiet time and being able to do my own thing. However, when I do feel lonely I FaceTime a friend or family member. Thereโ€™s been no shortage of Zoom parties, so itโ€™s easy to log on and participate. Also, reading calming literature like the Bible is very helpful. I recently read an article about dealing with isolation that had some good suggestions. Hereโ€™s a link:

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