With no definitive assurances that we are doing the right things, social distancing is proving to help quell the Covid-19 virus from getting even worse. It’s hard to continue to shop for groceries or take walks along the Bay where I live and stay 6 feet apart. More people are wearing masks now. The thing about masks is, you can’t see people’s smiles. When the restrictions first started, it seemed like we connected more through smiling and waving at each other from the appropriate distance. The tone has definitely become more somber. Many people talk only to people on their phones.
We as humans are social beings. The isolation you and others possibly feel is normal when you’ve been conditioned to at least shake hands, sometimes hug and have conversations in person only a few feet or inches apart. Being apart from loved family members is painful and hard for many to endure. The long term effects of isolation aren’t good – depression, panic attacks, anxiety and more. Connection is the antidote.
I suggest making a concerted effort to stay feeling connected to yourself and others a priority right now. Whether we are introverts and secretly enjoying being in our caves or extroverts who crave more action, staying aware of our own reactions and those of others can help us be vigilant to better mental health and ultimately longevity. The little things like face time, virtual happy hours and game playing connects us at deeper levels. Humor can set the tone and help us flood our brains with good chemicals that lift our own and others’ spirits.
Like many challenges, we don’t know when this period of isolation will end. If we can focus on making the present more palatable, the future will unfold as a better place. I’ve discovered that if I smile under the mask, it shows in my eyes.