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Meeting Social Needs When Social Distancing is Important

Updated: Apr 3, 2020

As soon as the world knew about the pandemic covid-19, the term social distancing has become an equally familiar term. It just means isolating yourself and avoiding close physical contact from people because you don’t know if you have interacted with invisible carriers of the disease and become a carrier yourself. The idea is, we can stop the spread of the virus if enough of us practice social distancing, together with good personal hygiene. Social distancing will also buy time for the medical frontliners to treat those who already have the virus and not have more people come in and overwhelm hospital capacity.

It’s ironic that just when we most need physical connection, it is the same thing that we are forbidden to do. Social distancing won’t be easy for social creatures like us who are hard-wired to connect and can be devastating especially to those with depression, the sick and the lonely. But it is during this global crisis when we can make the most of other alternatives.

We can stay connected virtually like playing online games, video, audio or text chat through our mobile phones or computers. Or we can take this opportunity to reconnect and be really present with our kids and other family members without technology. We can also turn off our tech gadgets and do activities together like what we used to when we were kids - watch films, play board games or card games, charades, make a billy cart...These activities will not only be enjoyable but they can also rebuild and strengthen your bond as a family.

Social distancing does not have to mean that we totally remove emotional connection. It just means that emotional connection, in the meantime, has to be in a different but necessary form. After this pandemic is over, which hopefully will be soon with everyone’s sacrifice and cooperation, then those long-awaited hugs and handshakes will mean so much more.

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