Is social distancing great or awful for your peace of mind?

by Caroline van Kimmenade


As a coach for Highly Sensitive People, I’ve been hearing two different reactions to social distancing:

1. It’s GREAT! Highly Sensitive People either tell me that because of social distancing, they have more space, they get to work from home, there’s less pressure, there’s more time to meditate. They’re loving the new quiet they’re having in their day to day.

2. It’s AWFUL! On the other hand, there are Highly Sensitive People who are feeling stuck at home. They’re getting cabin fever. They feel like they can never get away and there are too many people around, because they’re at home with their whole family (or their partner who is getting annoying to be around 24/7). Normally they would escape to work to have a bit of space, but now they can’t get away.

Which one of these two do you relate to?


The Yay or Nay of Social Distancing for HSPs


In short, social distancing can feel like a big “yay” or a big “nay” for HSPs, creating a meditative sanctuary or cutting off your escape routes.

Now, what’s interesting is that these experiences seem like polar opposites. One group loves the social distancing, and the other group hates it!

Yet even though these reactions seem miles apart, there’s actually something similar going on. That’s because in both these scenarios there is a strong reliance on circumstances to get the peace and the calm you need.

  • For those feeling claustrobic at home, the old pre-corona circumstances gave them a way out, an escape from an overwhelming home situation.
  • For those feeling free and calm at home during social-distancing, the current circumstances are giving them a way out of out-of-the-home overwhelm.

Now, if this is you and you feel like your routine is disrupted, for good or for bad, It’s worth looking at:

What are things that you can actively do to actually get that calm and that peace that you need in ALL scenarios?

So if you hate being stuck indoors, how can you create more peace and quiet while stuck at home? What can you do – apart from praying that you’ll be able to leave the house again soon? How can you make some changes that would make the current situation work?

Or, if you love social distancing, how can you replicate that peace once things go back to normal? What could you do then to create a healthy ongoing version of “social distancing”? In a way, social distancing is giving you a reason to opt out of everything right now. Yet, while that is possible for a short while, it’s not exactly a life philosophy. So once socialising picks back up again, what are the boundaries you could create to have more peace and time to yourself?


Highly Sensitive People tend to Avoid Conflict


Often what I see happening in the HSP community is that there’s a bit (understatement!) of an avoidance of conflict. An avoidance of conflict and of speaking up, of claiming what you need.

If you’ve been lucky and the pre-corona circumstances have always kind of given you the space that you needed, you might be feeling really frustrated and stuck right now. The current social-distancing is bringing all the conflicts you were avoiding to the fore.

This is the time to deal with those conflicts and sort them out for good! If you’re afraid to speak up or don’t know how to make changes, this is the time to learn.

On the other hand, if you’re normally unlucky, things feel much better now. You’ve suddenly experienced what it’s like to have all this space and to have all this time yourself and to have less people around. You’ve just had a tast of how much more pleasant life could be. You’re loving it.

If this is you, it’s worth looking at how can you start to create more of that peace once things start going back to normal again.


drawing of highly sensitive person claiming inner peace



Are You Taking Charge of Your Inner Peace?


In part – social distancing shows you where and how you’ve been relying on circumstances to bring you the peace you crave.

Social distancing also shows all of us that circumstances can (suddenly) change. That’s why it’s best to know how to create our own circumstances, instead of waiting for the stars to align! That means taking charge of your boundaries, instead of hoping to be given the space you need.

I know it can be tough to figure out how exactly to create more peace in your daily life. No worries! Set up a Clarity Call with me here if  you know it’s time for some consistent inner peace. We’ll make this experience of social distancing into a good thing, one way or the other.

Or go to the Happy Sensitive Library if you’re more of a self-study afficionado. In it you’ll find:

  • The Tension Tactics for HSPs Class – on how to deal with palpable tension in a room. This is especially helpful right now if you feel stuck at home with too many people 24/7, but also if you’re anxious about having to go back to the workplace soon.
  • There’s a recently added class on how to Avoid Overwhelm. In it I teach you a nerve-soothing system that you can adjust to make it fit perfectly for you unique circumstances. Also includes tips on how to apply this system to stress and fear about the pandemic.
  • A mind-set class on how to turn Lemons to Lemonade, with 7 steps to take what life throws at you and make it into something good.




Either way, whether social distancing feels like it’s ruining your life, or enhancing it, it’s worth looking at how you can take charge of your inner peace. That way, no matter what life throws at you, you’re o.k. (and if you have kids, you’ll be modeling to your kids that inner peace is something they have control over, not something they are at the mercy of)



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