It’s currently the Fall of 2023. However, for a moment, I want you to put yourself back in the mindset of 4 years ago. Fall of 2019. Where were you? What were you doing? What was going on in your life? Do you remember what you were planning? What did you imagine happening in the next 6-months? The next year?
Fast forward to early Spring of 2020. I’m guessing things looked almost nothing like the vision you had 6-months prior. Like millions, billions of other people, your life probably changed in ways you never thought possible.
Another COVID Blog…or, is it?
Yes, this is another blog post about COVID-19. Yes, it’s been almost 4-years since the global pandemic that rocked our world. But, I know that many of us are still living with the impacts of COVID every day. It’s no secret that people feel all sorts of different ways about COVID in today’s day and age. For the most part, the overt displays of hatred and vitriol are past us. But, there are still very polarized areas in the world where wearing a mask or asking to take an appointment virtually are seen as “extreme”. No matter where you fall on this spectrum, I believe that HSP women are still experiencing the impacts of COVID in unique ways. As a coach for sensitive introverted women, I have to acknowledge that some of the folks I serve in Florida and beyond are still having to cope with COVID anxiety and the fallout of this global pandemic.
Safety: a foundational human need, HSP or not.
Our lives may have gone back to normal in many ways, whatever “normal” means for you at this point. But, even subtle changes in our day-to-day routines and responsibilities can have lasting effects on HSP women. I’ve talked about the importance of routines, stability, and creature comforts before. This concept of creating stability for yourself as a sensitive introvert in the world might seem on the surface like a luxury. However, I will firmly argue that it is actually a need.
For highly sensitive people, (HSP), the fundamental feeling of safety has a lot of layers. Think back to what you know of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Safety is a foundational need. Just like eating, drinking, shelter, sexual release, etc. More on HSPs and sex next month, btw! I know safety goes far beyond having your preferred spot on a plane or bringing a more comfortable pillow case for your hotel room. For highly sensitive people, what might seem like a minor inconvenience, intrusion, or adjustment for some can feel earth-shattering or life-disrupting. Now, please hear me when I say that I know the loss of life and livelihood as a direct result of COVID-19 was huge. And, for many, still is. Honestly, that’s part of what I’m talking about. Those who lost people, places, and professions are absolutely a part of this narrative. Let me explain.
Loss of Life Due to COVID-19
I don’t know if we will ever have a fully accurate account of the deaths as a direct or indirect result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost everyone I know experienced a loss of life during this time. The waves of grief, guilt, and loneliness that still come over us are debilitating. When you feel everything as intensely as we do, a simple feeling of “I really miss my loved one” can derail the entire day. These feelings are wrapped up in sensory memories that often overcome our sensitive systems. Setting these feelings aside might work for a little while when they have to, but they will always resurface. As the anniversaries of significant events continue to occur, those feelings continue to wash over us. There are also anniversaries or memories of the experiences we believe we were meant to have that will never come to fruition. Those get to be grieved as well. The broken dreams. Those unfinished plans and promises.
Loss of Places and Spaces During COVID-19
The loss of places and spaces is another major category of grief and loss for us to consider. Many people’s lives were not just put on hold when the pandemic hit, but even physically upended. While a lot of folks were able to lock down and quarantine in place, some people had to move elsewhere due to a number of factors. I know many of my young adult and college-aged clients ended up going “back home” or living with their parents during 2020 and 2021. Individuals and families in major metropolitan areas sometimes chose to relocate for safety during that time. Others, using their newfound freedom to work remotely chose to move to an area where the cost of living is lower than where they started 2020. For HSP women, those daily disruptions happening before they were actually ready can cause increased anxiety and stress.
Additionally, some folks were forced to put vacations and travel plans on hold or cancel them altogether. As a Latina with family in Puerto Rico, I know I went an extra long time without seeing members of my family in 2020. Living in Florida, I also know many folks who had a magical Walt Disney World vacation planned that had to be postponed until it felt safer to attend these internally treasured theme parks. While certainly not as life-altering as the loss of life, the loss of places and spaces can have cascading effects on sensitive introverted people as well. Even the loss of private, solo space or a space to retreat when the entire family or roommates were home 24/7 can have a negative impact on the HSP nervous system. Even years later, it can feel like you need a permission slip to advocate for your needs for a change of scenery or return to a comfortable space to retreat when needed.
The Loss of Professions During COVID
The next category of loss I want to talk about is the loss of professions and livelihood. Again, I’m not sure this is something we even have accurate data to capture the scope of this issue. So many people around the world either lost or left their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. While they may have felt they were making a choice at the time, is it the choice they would have made in 2020 without COVID as the catalyst? This issue disproportionally impacted women who are often seen as the default caregivers for families in times of crisis. And, COVID-19 was absolutely a crisis. While many folks were able to work from home with the support and understanding of colleagues who were #allinthistogether, some individuals (especially front-line and essential workers) had to decide between their jobs and reliable, safe care for their family members. This doesn’t actually feel like a choice! A decision that a person can enter into weighing all possible options. So, I want to focus on the impact of this reality on sensitive, introverted women in the United States and beyond.
I know that sensitive introverts often have difficulty naming what they want and clearly communicating their needs. Time and time again, I have heard from HSP women that the choice was never really theirs. That these choices were made for them. So now, 3.5 years later, many people are still in the same circumstance they were forced into at the beginning of 2020. Maybe there hasn’t been a good time to revisit their career dreams. There hasn’t been a real opportunity. Or, it simply hasn’t been a household priority. It’s also important to note that while most of the daily impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us, some of our most vulnerable populations still live in fear of this virus. As caregivers for these individuals, many women still find themselves isolated. I want you to know that I see you. You still have options for community and connection. Perhaps that is how you found this blog!
COVID Conscious? Let’s Connect (Virtually)
As an HSP coach, I want to invite sensitive introverted (and COVID-conscious) women to connect. Because I serve folks virtually, I can see you wherever you are in the world. I have heard from multiple people that they appreciate that my coaching and counseling are still held totally virtually. So many people and places have shifted back to in-person offerings. I’m here for you! While I am physically located in Florida, I can have introvert-coaching clients all over the world. Throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Latin America, even the United Kingdom, and beyond. So, if you are looking for life coaching, confidence coaching, or connection to someone who “gets it”, I’m here for you. Let’s connect. I would love to hear from you. In the meantime, you can learn more about my radical introvert coaching program and how I love to encourage folks with this free, Radical Introvert Audio Training “How to Find Peace in This Fast-Paced World”.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Enid DeJesus is an introvert and HSP coach for women located in Florida, North Carolina, New York, and beyond. Enid knows how hard it is to try to live authentically and radically as yourself with the pressure of this chaotic world to conform. That’s why Enid created her coaching program to help liberate women from the pressure to be different. To support you in designing your life in a way that fits your nature.
If you’re interested in starting the radical introvert coaching program, wherever you are in the world, let’s talk!