Social distancing: how is it for you? 

 

It is more than three weeks since Boris Johnson imposed the government’s policy of social distancing which has changed our lives in previously unimaginable ways. With the novelty of being told to stay at home like a naughty schoolchild wearing off, and those unthumbed books that we thought would finally get to read remaining firmly ensconced on our shelves, we might be wondering …how am I are going to get through this?  

Amid the check-lists on how to stay happy and healthy; and of what to do and more often what not to do (pretty much everything!), we might forget that we are still all individuals with the same individual minds and bodies we had before we were all placed in lockdown. As such, we are all going to experience the coming months in markedly different ways.  

 

  • Finding the real you 

If you are a natural loner, you might find for the first time in years you are really craving other people’s company. Conversely the ‘party people’ around us might find they are actually bearing up pretty well spending more time alone.  

A crisis like this has an uncanny way of bringing out the true personality behind our social masks. For some it may be the first chance we’ve ever had to allow ourselves to simply do nothing, to read or listen to music just for the sheer enjoyment of it or to stare into space just for the hell of it.  

We can take solace from the fact that when this is all over and the world starts moving again, none of us will ever be the same people we were before and what we will have learned about ourselves will be invaluable in our lives ahead.  

 

  • Communicating via social distance 

Engaging with the outside world using digital platforms will affect different people in different ways. Some of us will be able to adjust to managing our relationships online very well and a Zoom or Houseparty ‘night in’ might be rejuvenating for us, but others may just feel fatigued by it all.  

If you fall into the latter category, accept that the online world for you can never replicate the real-world tactility of having real-life friends and relatives around. For those of you who actually enjoy dealing with people at the arm’s length of a computer screen and web cam, now’s the time to fill your boots! 
 

  • Keeping busy 

If you can still do your job from home throughout this crisis, then it will definitely help. The work plans, regular team meetings, emails etc will help to keep you buoyant. If your job is not something that can be replicated within your four walls, you might be more likely to experience feelings of alienation. And it is especially important during a period of crisis we do not become alienated.  

 

You could possibly use this period as a chance to develop a field of interest that you have not had a chance to explore before and something which can be readily accessed online. When everyone goes back to work in the real world, you will have another string or two to your bow.

 

  •  Take time to reflect 

For most of us this period is giving us more spare time.  Try and make time every day to reflect on the positive things.  Recognise your personal successes and the things you are grateful for, no matter how small.  
 

 

Social distancing: how is it for…

 

 …the elderly 

If you are unable to leave the house, it can leave you feeling very isolated and very lonely. This will be especially true for older people who will be less likely to have a strong circle of friends, acquaintances and work colleagues in the first place. And even if they do, being less tech savvy means during this period our elderly family members may not immediately be able to resort to online media to stay in touch with others.  

 

…the young  

It is important to remember that although they might not want to show it, many younger people are also feeling very lonely at the moment. Although they are more likely to know their way around the online world, nothing can compensate them for not having their friends around. For many the sudden shift from a life of noise, excitement, student parties and laughter to self-isolation might be really testing their resolve and self-resilience.  

 

For the rest of us

 

We might be struggling to simultaneously look out for both our elderly and younger family members. Feeling emotionally pulled in two different directions at once like this is likely to create quite a strain on those in the middle. Appreciating you are not invincible despite what those around you would like to believe is very important, as is ensuring that you consider your own particular needs at this time.