As the coronavirus pandemic impacts daily routines in every business across the country, one term that has become common to hear is “social distancing”. While you may hear a lot about social distancing, it can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference between social distancing and social isolation.
Social distancing is designed to help prevent the spread of a disease, such as the new coronavirus. The key concept with social distancing is to keep social contact and interactions at a distance. Because the COVID-19 virus can spread through exhaled air up to six feet, social distancing recommendations are to stay at least six feet apart from others who do not live with you. This will naturally involve having to avoid social activities that normally occur in groups and avoiding interacting with others in a way that could expose you to the virus.
Social isolation is cutting yourself off from any social interaction. Social isolation may be practiced by those who do not understand how to socially distance correctly, or by those who do not wish to interact with others. Social isolation is generally understood to be unhealthy, as interaction with others is a key part of good mental health.
A vital concept to staying healthy while practicing social distancing is to maintain a good social life, even while distancing yourself. There are many ways that you can do this, such as connecting with groups of people using digital innovations like Zoom. This time of national quarantine may also present an ideal opportunity to call friends or family that you do not get the chance to see often.
Another great way to avoid isolation is to take extra time with your close family that you live with and can still interact with. You can go outside for a walk, and do something to get out of the house. As long as you are six feet away from others and are not breaking any local laws, getting outside and being together with your close family is a great way to spend time with others.
You can also arrange to meet with friends and spend time together while ensuring that you are at least six feet apart the whole time. Some people will bring camp chairs and set them up six or more feet from others. While this will likely feel unnatural to be distanced while together, it does provide a way to continue to interact with others where this is legal.
Many people find that this time of social distancing can lead to isolation and loneliness. If you are finding that you feel lonely or isolated, an important first step is to reach out to someone. Calling to talk with someone close about how you are feeling will often help your loneliness.
At Transformations Treatment Center, we want to support people who are having any kind of emotional difficulty. If you are struggling with loneliness and need someone to talk to, our understanding team is always available to talk. Reach out to one of our caring team members to learn how we can help you.