Disclaimer: this blog is in no way intended to diminish the severity of our current global pandemic of the Covid-19, neither is it an epiphany to rebel or protest against the shelter-in-place mandate issued by governmental officials. Instead, this is a conversation starter for those willing to explore the many possibilities.

 

6 FEET AWAY: that’s the minimum distance the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a person should separate themselves from one another to lessen the chance of contracting the Covid-19 virus (Coronavirus). Terms such as “Social Distancing” and  “Self Isolation” have been broadcasted as precautionary measures we should take to protect ourselves. Although these recommendations are in the best interest of our physical well-being, our mental and emotional health is severely in danger. Granted, neglecting to distance ourselves from others puts us at a high risk of being infected. But, has anyone considered that the very “saving grace” from the virus actually makes us equally deadly to ourselves?

 

We can think of social isolation like solitary confinement and how it’s portrayed in movies. The longer the person remained alone in their cell, the more reclusive and paranoid they became. Being mandated to isolate ourselves at home is no different. Without socially connecting to others on a regular basis, the brain’s functionality changes with time. What was initially scheduled to last two weeks, has now forced us to stay-at-home for two months and counting. Dr. Zlatin Ivanov, a New York-based psychiatrist said, ” the longer period of isolation, the more likely it becomes for the individual to show signs of anxiety, loneliness, depression and other mental afflictions.” So in this case, not all things heal with time. 

 

Truth be told, this pandemic has only illuminated the epidemic our world has been experiencing for several years now. Perhaps, even the real reason Covid-19 spread so vastly among the U.S. was due to the unpronounced epidemic of loneliness, not preexisting health conditions. Loneliness is  “the perceived sense of social isolation, or the feeling of disconnectedness from others .” 

Are you beginning to see the connection?

A recent Cigna survey shows that “More than three in five adult Americans reported feeling lonely.” Another study shows that loneliness increases earlier death by 26 percent and social isolation by 29 percent. This would provide an explanation for the rapid decline of those who were deemed “healthy”. 

So why suggest a preventative action that’s detrimental to our health? 

My response is simply that people are oblivious to the epidemic of loneliness. But, it’s not so easy to gauge. See, we occupy our time attending various social functions and operating within our daily lives so much so that it overshadows the state of our internal well-being. For some of us, we’ve grown accustomed to functioning on auto-pilot and just going through the motions. But now that everything in the world has come to a halt, we are confined to our home, confronted with the loneliness we’ve hid for so long. 

 

From my perspective, social distancing looks like this:

 

 

There’s plenty of literature to support this notion beyond this blog. However, I simply wanted to present you with a visual of the potential decline of we could experience the longer we practice social distancing. However you choose to view this, what lies six feet away can lay you six feet under if we aren’t careful. We all need social connectedness to get through this pandemic. Don’t allow distance to determine your death.Though we can’t physically engage, there’s still ways to engage from a distance. Sign up for emails, to receive my next blog on the top 10 ways to engage with others while in social isolation.