I am not looking forward to another month of social distancing (quarantine), or even another day.
How about you? How are you doing?
Are you sad, worried, afraid, or all of that, and more?
The whole idea of social distancing goes against human nature. We are wired to be touched from birth until the day we die. There is even a condition known as touch deprivation that can have serious and long-lasting negative effects on health.
But . . . for now . . . we must practice social distancing to protect ourselves and others from the virus, regardless of how much we hate it .
The lucky ones are people with families who have each other to fill the need for human touch, but many are alone and isolated. I happen to be one of those.
I’m surviving, but forced isolation is not fun!
I’m stuck on an emotional roller coaster ride from which I cannot escape. The uncertainty of how long the isolation will last intensifies my anxiety.
Sometimes I’m OK and can accept that this is a situation over which I have no control. I use my time productively to research and write; then, suddenly – I’m not OK. The walls close in and I wander through a quagmire of fear and doubt, wishing this would all go away. I question if I will make it through unscathed and worry about catching the virus and dying alone.
It’s a relief when I can shake the depression, pull myself together, and become productive again but, I know it’s only a matter of time until I fall into the worry pit for the umpteenth time.
Up and down – up and down – It is not a fun ride.
Have You Discovered the Gift?
During these long, uncertain days and possibly weeks or months ahead, I hope that all of you who are lucky enough to be confined with loved ones will realize that you have been given a wonderful gift – extended time with the most important people in your life.
I encourage you to use the time wisely.
It is the perfect opportunity to do things together that make everyone smile, to get to know each other in ways that your previously busy lives didn’t allow, to enjoy long quiet talks about hopes and dreams, to hold them close, and to let them know how grateful you are that you are together.
What About the Not so Fortunate?
Let’s get out of our heads by helping people who are alone. They may be family members (mom/dad, grandmother/grandfather, aunt/uncle, cousin), friend or work colleague, or neighbor.
We can’t visit physically, so it will require some creativity to findways to lessen their feelings of being cut off from the world. One thing we can do is to check-in every few days; let them know we are thinking about them.
Texting is better than no contact but, let’s be more personal – use facetime, or have a group gathering via ZOOM or SKYPE. Spend quality virtual time. Talk about anything and everything – laugh and have fun.
If they are on the same emotional roller coaster I am on, knowing that someone is there for them can be a critical factor in how they deal with this horrific challenge.
Social Distancing Is Not New!
As I thought about what to say in this post, it occurred to me that we have been practicing social distancing for some time without realizing it. The busyness epidemic, our obsession with technology, and the practice of communicating primarily through texting have separated us by choice. We have lost sight of the fact that we need human touch to remain mentally and physically at our best. Man (or woman) was not meant to be alone.
Realizing the deep-seated need for regular human connection and physical contact may be the silver lining in this terrible dark cloud that has descended on the world. It is a chance to open our eyes, minds, and hearts to each other again – to reach out physically – to hug and hold those we love – to get back in the habit of talking face-to-face with family, friends, and neighbors – to be kind, caring, and respectful toward others, and to come out of this darkness into a better world.
We can start today by holding close the loved ones in our homes and supporting those who are alone.
Social distancing may be required, but emotional distancing is not!
We have the power to make a difference in many lives by holding each other close.
Be safe – stay well!
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