The Best Way to Cope With Quarantine, Based on Your Enneagram Type

updated Jun 1, 2020
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If you asked me what I miss the most about life before coronavirus, here are a few of the things I’d tell you: Happy hours with friends. Trips to my favorite local boutique for home decor to spruce up my living room. Weekend getaways. Impromptu date nights when I really need a break from my kids. A pedicure (in an impractical neon color) after a long week.

But it’s not so much that I miss those actual activities as I’m pining for what they symbolize. I’m a Seven on the Enneagram, which means I highly value the ability to be impulsive, to make decisions that bring me joy, even if they seem petty or unwise, as a way to cope with stress. (And boy, am I stressed.) 

So instead of endlessly longing for what I can’t have, I’m finding ways to recreate the same feelings by buying myself treats online, ordering takeout a few times a week, and reaching out to long-distance friends for a much-needed FaceTime chat when I feel low. 

Grievances and coping strategies aren’t one size fits all. What we miss and how we deal with it varies based on our personalities. I surveyed 75 people to gain some insight about what each Enneagram type misses most and, more importantly, how each number is coping. Here’s what I learned about how each type deals with pandemic-level stress.

Credit: Apartment Therapy

One: The Reformer

At their core, Ones are responsible and practical with a strong moral compass. They thrive when they can improve things, and that includes improving themselves. Ones are orderly and organized, and at times, perfectionistic. They love routine because it serves their desire to be balanced and good.

What they miss and how they’re coping: 

I’m missing control. My tried and true ways of keeping my household taken care of are no longer applicable. Even buying groceries has been a struggle since we aren’t going to the stores and are depending on delivery and don’t know which things will be out of stock. Now that we are half-way through the Stay At Home order I’m looking to add more structure to my time, including getting the behind the scenes work done for a business to open when this is all over. For the first few weeks I would vaguely structure my days and just try to get one thing accomplished in the afternoons while my husband works from home. We’ve been also keeping regular meal times and bedtime routines. I walk my dog almost every day at the same time.” -Katie, 35, Kansas City

“As a 1, I want to fix everything in my life, and right now my life is in my house. It’s so hard for me to not see everything that could be better in my little world since we’re here ALL THE TIME.  I’ve actually been using this ‘extra time’ to practice being an anti-1, something my therapist has been encouraging me to do. I’ve been intentionally doing things that feel good or feel connective instead of tasks. For example, when I feel hot and bothered about the disorganization of my kitchen cabinets, I’ve been walking away from it and going on a long mid-day walk. Or when the sticky spots on the floor start to overwhelm me, I’ve been inviting the kids to join me in another room and play Uno.” -Elizabeth, 37

“Because I don’t like feeling like I’m not giving 100% to anything—my job, my kids, my husband, my friends—I’m waking up early to get some alone time before my family wakes up and the day starts.” -Jillian, 35

“It’s important for me to separate where I work and where I rest, but suddenly I do everything in one place, which is making rest a bit harder these days. I’m going on A LOT of walks and get outside as much as I can.” -Ashton, 25

Simply put I definitely miss the control I once had over my life. I miss being able to make plans, juggle a busy calendar, and connect with loved ones. It’s difficult for me to stay idle and perceive myself as ‘unproductive’ and being forced to do that has been challenging. I ordered some paint by numbers which have been a huge stress reliever. I also try to stick to a schedule—weekly virtual game nights or hangouts have been a life saver, as well as Saturday apartment clean sweeps.” -Marisa, 29

Credit: Apartment Therapy

Two: The Helper

Twos love to feel useful because they love to feel needed—so they spend their time and energy on empathy and generosity toward others. While Twos have a basic fear of being unwanted and unworthy, they also genuinely care about others’ well-being.

What they miss and how they’re coping:

I miss feeling useful, so I’m doing a lot of random acts of kindness, like buying someone flowers and leaving them on the porch, picking up groceries for a friend or safely sharing baked goods.” -Jess, 32

“The hardest part has been the pressure I put on myself to keep everyone cared for who I am in touch with and the inability I feel to help others cuz I’m stuck in my damn house. I’m doing some deep work on why I have these expectations for myself and learning that I am loved even when I can’t do as much. My value doesn’t come from that. I have been able to give myself so much journaling time and writing project time. (Also it helps that I know I’m actually HELPING by staying home.)” -Sara, 27

“I’m feeling like I’m doing a lot for everyone else, but am not really knowing how to communicate what I actually need in this season. Also, since I can’t necessarily be side by side helping others, I’ve had to be creative. I’ve been really enjoying sending cards and notes of encouragement to others. It feels good to (hopefully) help lighten their burdens with a surprise in the mail. I also have a little Etsy shop and my postcards have been taking off. I’ve found a lot of relief and joy in packaging those up, knowing something I’ve created is literally helping connect people in these strange times. On a practical note, we’ve designated Friday night as a date night where we get takeout and I don’t have to cook. It’s one less thing on my plate, which I look forward to every week.” -Jenna, 33

I miss being able to hug and see people! I am ordering takeout and treats from my favorite small businesses, and doing (contact-free!) drop offs for friends.” -Hanna, 28

Credit: Apartment Therapy

Three: The Achiever

Threes feel most valuable, and most themselves, when they are accomplishing something. More image-conscious than other types, Achievers have a clear vision of success, and they’ll stop short of nothing to attain it. At their core, they are adaptive and effective, and they want to be affirmed because it makes them feel worthwhile.

What they miss and how they’re coping: 

The hardest part is being able to effectively get as many things done. My entire workflow has been altered with remote work and having the kids around. It’s also been a challenge not seeing friends as much and feeling the missed connections there. Also, feeling very cooped up in the house and antsy to get out and do something, but there is nothing to do! 

“The 3 in me really wants to accomplish something and feel that reward of achievement, but it’s hard in this season when there are a lot more barriers to being able to be successful in the workplace. To cope, I am developing new systems to help me stay organized and efficient at work. Also, since I don’t have a commute, I am trying to wake up earlier and spend my commute time doing yoga, reading and/or meditating, and doing things that make me feel productive.” -Kelsey, 32

My unique struggle with being an achiever in this time is that I have an inflated sense that everyone else is killing it and I’m not, and everyone else has opportunities I’m not getting. That’s normal for me, but it’s amplified during the pandemic. It’s hard to balance the need to achieve with the knowledge that this is a weird time, and the goals I set before might be realized differently in this new dynamic. It’s been helpful to keep up with routines I set before the pandemic, which helps me feel like I’m meeting goals. I’ve also increased the level of my workouts so there’s something to achieve, and it’s also a physical way to work out the struggles I’m experiencing.” -Sarah, 41

Credit: Apartment Therapy

Four: The Individualist

Creative and artistic, Individualists are the “poets” of the Enneagram. They aren’t afraid of their emotions, and they crave time to take care of their emotional needs. While Fours are like magnets to anything beautiful, they also have a tendency to withdraw from other people.

What they miss and how they’re coping: 

I miss being able to feel people’s emotions in face-to-face interaction. I’m introverted and don’t *need* a ton of social interaction, but something I do love is reading or sensing people’s energy and feelings in person so I can better determine how to be a helpful & caring friend. I also, of course, miss being able to take my kids places to burn their energy! I’ve gladly participated in a lot more phone calls, FaceTime conversations, and Zoom conference calls with friends & family. I, like many in my generation, typically avoid those things under most circumstances. But I now find myself looking forward to them (in moderation, of course).” -Jess, 30

“I miss the freedom of going to the grocery store without it being a big event; I miss eating in my favorite restaurants. I’m worried about the small business owners in my community and the economy in general. BUT, I am loving the cozy time at home and lack of obligations. In some ways, THIS IS MY TIME. I’m coping with lots of wine and takeout and obsessively cleaning and organizing my house.” -Caroline, 36, Dallas

“It’s so hard having my whole family home all the time. I’m never alone. It feels like I’m running out of air to breathe. I sometimes sit in my car in the driveway to work or read alone. And it’s not a perfect fix, but my noise-cancelling headphones have definitely seen a lot more action lately!” -Ashley, 30, St. Paul, MN

I am missing the ability to do work outside of my own home and get inspiration from the world around me. I’m also having trouble keeping on my schedule even though I write them out extra thoroughly because I’m not motivated in this space. As someone who likes alone time and creative free space, I am trying to relish in that time as much as I can. I also am musically inclined and try to make the mood in my space shift by playing different new music so I can re-focus.” -Grace, 18, Chicago

I’m tired of being stuck in the same routine with no variety. I’m finding myself planning for the future and daydreaming. I’m buying expensive artwork to feel excitement and going for a lot of walks and drives to change up scenery.” -Jess, 33, Minneapolis

I miss the freedom to come and go as I please, so I’m taking long walks, hiking, reading, listening to music, burning sage/incense/candles, diffusing oils, looking for beauty and goodness. Also, I am supporting small businesses by shopping online.” -Christy, 39

“In Spain we cannot go outside for walks or exercise, and we live in a small apartment with no private outdoor space. I am starting to feel like I’m losing vibrance and basic health because I can’t go outside, and this freaks me out. I also need time to myself that I don’t feel like I’m getting. I take long baths at weird times of day, read a lot, listen to podcasts and spend more time than normal in my bedroom and hanging out the window. I’ve also been cooking nice meals and trying to make things special and memorable in a positive way for my family.” -Rosalie, 35

Credit: Apartment Therapy

Five: The Investigator

Intellect is a core value for Fives, who love to learn and problem solve. They can be isolated and withdrawn, but only because of their tendency to get lost in their minds and figure life out. Their basic fear is to be useless, and their basic desire is to be competent.

What they miss and how they’re coping: 

I miss being alone. Being home is fine, but everyone is also always home with me. To cope, I take a bath at the end of the day to relax and be quiet, send my kids out to play, read more fiction, and have dance parties in the kitchen when everyone’s had enough.” -April, 34, Houston

“The hardest thing has been our house having three kids and three adults and not being able to escape each other. I need a break. I wish I could go into the office and have someone watch my kids. Last Saturday, my husband watched the kids downstairs for four hours so I could be in my room and do whatever I wanted to for that period of time.” -Becky, 29

“No babysitters means no break from kids to go do things with my spouse or by myself (no alone time or uninterrupted time). We’re trying date nights at home post bedtime. We also asked the neighbor girl if she will hang in our yard and just monitor them while we take a walk, or my spouse stays home while I get out.” -Lydia, 33

“As a five, being trapped with other people is definitely a personal hell, no matter how much I love my family. Not being able to get away is what I miss most. I’m realizing how badly I, as a mother of small children, relied on excursions for “me” time. Irritability and sibling rivalry are at all-time highs. I spend most of the day refereeing and most of the night recovering, staying up extremely late just to be alone and not needed. The whole family misses the routine and schedule. I’m kind of treating it as a road trip or summer vacation. More indulgences like magazines and treats we don’t usually buy. I finally bought Spotify Premium to listen to music without ads. As a 5, I am allowing so much more screen time for my kids to keep them from squabbling and to give me a break so I can hide in my room away from everyone. I bought yet another bird feeder and more seed for birdwatching. We are also digging into the art supplies, games, and books I’ve been collecting for years.” -Caitlin, 32

“It hasn’t impacted the smaller things of my day—I’ve always been a stay-at-home kind of person and kept to myself; I’m a voracious reader and I love books. But even for me it’s very isolating. I miss my family (my mom is high risk) and friends, going to museums and coffee shops. I find myself daydreaming and reading more fantasy-genres that provide a means of escape. I was already reading that genre before COVID, but the temptation to “stay” in those worlds, and in my own mind, is stronger.” -Celinda, 30

Credit: Apartment Therapy

Six: The Loyalist

Sixes might come off as anxious, but their orientation toward security is a huge asset—anyone with this personality type is probably the most loyal and responsible person you know. Motivated by the desire to have their needs met, Sixes are always scheming ways to predict and prevent problems. 

What they miss and how they’re coping: 

“One of the hardest parts for me is not knowing what is expected from me with work and keeping in touch with family and friends. I’m grateful to be able to work from home during this time, but I’m constantly questioning if I’m doing enough or if I’m gonna be ‘caught’ for slacking off. I’ve been checking in with my supervisor and trying to have grace for myself. I’m reminding myself that I’m a hard worker under normal circumstances and this isn’t a normal time.” -Rachel, 26

“I am obsessed with having a plan and know what’s going to happen next. So, I need all the information. I have been checking the John Hopkins Coronavirus map everyday, 3-5 times a day at least. I’m also not watching what I eat as much as I normally would and working out way more. The more I move my body the less anxiety I have. Walks and workouts have been my best coping mechanisms. Also, wine.” -Brittany, 30

I am looking for answers. All the time. Anywhere. I watch CNN now, even though I have never watched it before. I love The Cuomo brothers—and the doctors.” -Carol, 60

“I don’t know what information to trust. I know some information is false or distorted, and I’m feeling overwhelmed with how much people disagree and have such polar opinions. I am feeling overly attached to my close tribe. Not really acting out as co-dependent, but just needing that ‘sense’ that I have a really close, trustworthy group. Also, I am reading a lot. Books feel safe.” -Chantel, 31

“As a 6, I am driven by the hustle and bustle of an office and in (small scale) crisis management and I have felt a lack of motivation with fewer opportunities to troubleshoot last minute challenges. Given that I thrive off of/am motivated by situations that other would characterize as “stressful” I’ve started outlining my daily tasks—with time limits—and then setting self timers. I’ve set up a game that gives me the boost I need to stay motivated.” -Whitney, 34

Credit: Apartment Therapy

Seven: The Enthusiast

Sevens are called the Enthusiast for a reason: They’re motivated by freedom and spontaneity, often as a way to cover up uncomfortable feelings. Excitable and vibrant, Sevens will do just about anything to feel content and satisfied.

What they miss and how they’re coping:

The hardest thing for me has been missing fun for myself and my kids. I’ve been starting a ton of fun projects, like tie-dying clothes and painting my house.” -Maria, 34, St. Paul, MN

I’m missing bike rides to concerts and coffee shops and the farmers market. I’m burning lots of candles and incense, baking outside in the sun, crafting amazing meals, and doing loads of reading and writing.” -Daje, 26, Knoxville, TN

“As an Enneagram 7 I am finding it frustrating right now having all these ideas for projects and not being able to act on them. For example, I had an idea for a small business right before the virus hit but am no longer able to explore it further at the moment. I am finding ways to be creative and come up with projects based on what I have. For example, cooking, baking, the other day I created a stamp using cardboard and straws and used it with my paints to make a cool print that’s now hanging in my living room!” -Jillian, 28

“As a 7 I LOVE looking forward to things. I love going out to dinner with girlfriends and finding random dates I can finagle out of my husband. I love surprising my kids with random weekend adventures. None of that is happening. It’s all just the same. We are ordering lots of fun takeout options and learning how to make exciting new dinners. I have probably ordered myself something online 5+ times a week. We also got a puppy, and I am drinking way more wine than I ever have in my life.” -Danielle, 32

Credit: Apartment Therapy

Eight: The Challenger

Call the Eight a pillar of strength. The Challenger might appear bossy, but that’s just one part of their complex, independent personality. Eights are driven by a desire to be in control, so a lot of their behavior revolves around preventing being controlled by others. 

What they miss and how they’re coping: 

“I work from home and really enjoy being by myself while my family is at work and school. Now I’m never alone. I really miss being alone. I’m using schedules, order, and routine to cope. We’re trying to keep bed times the same, morning routines as normal, get dressed every day, and stay busy during the week. Weekends still feel special, because of this (no schedules! No one has to change out of pajamas!) and the long week days don’t feel so never-ending.” -Mary, 38 

“The most challenging thing about this Covid-19 season is simply not knowing how long it will last. I don’t mind the changes it necessitates, but not knowing how long it will be makes it extremely challenging to know how to approach the day to day. Should I settle in and make plans to embrace this season? Or will it be over soon and I should just wait it out. It also makes it challenging when you’re leading others who are looking for answers, when you don’t know what is coming. I’m doing my best to simply be present in the day to day, and be at rest releasing the desire to be in control and in this case, ‘in the know.’” -Katie, 30

“I am missing the opportunity to research, chase, and get large contracts. I am still working, but large projects are on hold. I am spending time doing a ton of inner work and therapy so I am ready to launch and conquer.” -Angel, 42

“The fact that the best thing to do is nothing is hard for me as an Enneagram 8. I crave control, so I am even more scrupulously managing our finances and trying to keep a routine, particularly working out more to have a place to put my energy. I am also trying to take action in supporting small businesses and making donations to feel like I am contributing.” -Jessi, 29

“I am having a hard time finding ways to put all my energy to use! I am so used to being active daily at my job, juggling numerous responsibilities, talking to hundreds of people a day some days,  and just ultimately utilizing brain space and physical energy in so many ways. Not having those outlets makes it all just sit in my body unless I find new ways to get it out of me. If I don’t find ways to deal with this pent up energy I get very fidgety, anxious, controlling, and ultimately can’t focus on anything. I go on walks daily, and I make sure I am actually tired at the end. I’ve been cleaning everything in sight, and have been offering to do little projects around the house/property for my landlord. For example, I’m going to take on gardening and yard work for now and I’m actually excited about it! I’m also starting to paint again! My mom and I also figured out how to sew masks, so we’ve been working on that for family and friends.” -Danielle, 32

Credit: Apartment Therapy

Nine: The Peacemaker

Harmonious and conflict-averse, Nines would rather keep quiet when offended than stir up an argument. They typically go with the flow and resist thoughts or feelings that could be upsetting, both of which are motivated by an inner fear of loss and rejection. 

What they miss and how they’re coping:

I’m missing the peace and quiet I used to have in my everyday life. So I’m driving around in my car alone very frequently, running quick errands alone, and going to bed very early (to be alone).” -Moriah, 34, Minneapolis

“Mostly, I’m struggling with uncertainty about the future and making decisions about when to go out and how to be safe when I do. I’m coping by cocooning with my family, sleeping and checking out more, and doing what I can to protect my own health.” -Becca, 39, Minneapolis

“It’s difficult being home with others all the time—feeling like my space is not a calm and happy place anymore. I’m having a daily quiet time by myself in my room with candles lit and a sound machine turned on.” -Anna, 31, Minneapolis