Navigating “Social Distancing” (March 2020)

COVID-19 is obviously terrifying. 

There are endless unanswered questions. In the attempt to keep the virus from rapidly spreading, the CDC has encouraged us all to practice “social distancing.” This means limiting our social interaction by staying home and not going to see people. What a heartbreaking time for this madness! We have all just arrived home for spring break, the first thing we want to do is see our family and friends. We all have mental lists of our favorite hometown restaurants, movie theaters, and shops. Now, many of those locations are closed down, leaving us inside our homes alone. This is the worst time for so-called social distancing. However, our safety and the safety of others should certainly be the priority. 

So, I guess my question is: how do we stay connected while social distancing?

My immediate thought is to Facetime and call everyone! Keep up the communication as much as possible. Call your friends who live across the country or one street over…it doesn’t matter. It is especially imperative to call older relatives who were expecting a spring break visit. It may not be quite as wonderful as seeing your grandparents, best friend, coworker etc in person, but it is so much better than nothing.

The second less obvious thing I thought of is to walk outside. If the condition in your area is really severe, this might mean going into your front lawn. However, if you are able, take a walk around your neighborhood. Simply, wave to someone passing by in their car or walking outside. This may seem extremely odd, but that brief interaction with a neighbor, aquantaintance, or stranger is meaningful. Getting outside is positively impactful for one’s mental health regardless, so if this is a possibility for you, take it. 

If going outside is not an option for you, challenge your immediate family to a round of competitive board games. My mom and I are Jenga fans, but it can be anything. Watching a movie with a sibling may seem like nothing, but that is a meaningful connection with another human being that is so necessary right now. 

We are never alone in scary times like these. Reach out to everyone and make meaningful connections. Use technology and social media as a tool when face to face communication is not an option. 

Love is boundless and can exceed “social distancing.” So, please keep connecting with those you love and who love you. 

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