Roger Mallett [Staff Author]
When we feel lonely or overwhelmed by the situation we are in, we can easily fall into the trap of emotionally distancing ourselves from others. In this post, we will look at how you can avoid emotional distancing when socially distancing.
The effects of the coronavirus have been more far-reaching than most of us could ever have imagined. Fortunately, all of us can successfully help prevent the exponential spread of coronavirus. What we need to do is to reduce our social contact with others by practicing ‘social distancing’.
This means cutting down on all non-essential contact with others even if we are healthy ourselves. However, when we spend more time on our own or in close quarters with just one or two others, we can sometimes feel lonely.
What Is Social Distancing?
“Remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible” – Center for Disease Control
Social distancing refers to steps taken to reduce our social interactions with other people to stop the spread of infections. This usually involves curtailing all contact that is purely social and sometimes staying away from work and school even when healthy.
It means limiting face-to-face time with our loved ones and our friends if we do not live with these groups. It means doing this, even if we personally show no symptoms or are unlikely to suffer an extreme reaction to the coronavirus.
Coronavirus is highly contagious and an estimated 15% of cases will require hospital care, with a further 5% requiring ICU care. For this reason, social distancing is vital to stop the spread.
Social distancing can help hospitals with limited resources and prevent the speed of virus spread. Moreover, it can buy time for the global community to find vaccines, cures, and source vital equipment to help those who need it before more lives are unnecessarily lost.
Why Is Social Distancing Important?
The value of social distancing is shown most starkly in the contrasting death rates between South Korea and Italy which both saw 10 people killed by the coronavirus at about the same time.
With social distancing and an effective testing program in South Korea, under 100 people have died from coronavirus, compared to almost 5,000 deaths in Italy as of late March 2020. Ultimately, by practicing social distancing, you can save lives.
What Is Emotional Distancing?
Emotional distancing can occur if we live on our own, with friends, or with a partner. Typically, we can be drawn to isolate ourselves emotionally when overwhelmed by demands in a relationship or other stresses.
As the discussion above shows, we have a lot to be overwhelmed by at the moment. Moreover, practicing social distancing can lead to us feeling lonely because of our physical separation from others.