Social distancing is the practice of keeping a safe distance away from others (minimum 6 feet). To do this, we all need to avoid public gatherings and public transportation. It also means only going out when it is absolutely necessary.
While this is a necessity to keep COVID-19 in check, it does present challenges. Typical reactions include anxiety, worry, and fear about your own health, the safety of loved ones, and the future of our country and the world.
Fortunately, there are ways you can manage fears and care for you and others while social distancing.
Choose Reliable Information Sources
Don’t Dwell on the News
Many media outlets thrive on sensationalism. They may broadcast or publish worse case scenarios, conspiracy theories, or total inaccuracies instead of facts and practical, science-based recommendations.
Misinformation is so pervasive that The World Health Organization created a website just to bust Coronavirus myths.
Certainly, you need to stay on top of what’s happening, but don’t watch the news 24/7. It will negatively affect you and your loved ones.
The best way to beat a virus is to stop transmission. If everyone stays home as much as possible, the virus has nowhere to go.
Local, state, and national officials may be able to arrange grocery and medication deliveries if you are elderly or you have underlying health issues. Others can try to order delivery, but be prepared for waits. Some items may be out of stock, too.
If you need to go out ensure it is only for groceries, medications, or medical reasons. That’s it. No hanging out at the park, beach, or at someone else’s house.
Hygiene, Hygiene, Hygiene
Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, is the number one recommendation to prevent the spread of the disease. You should also wash up after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water isn’t available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
The CDC recommends every person over the age of two should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public. Surfaces in the home should be cleaned AND disinfected frequently, but especially after visiting public places.
Social distancing isn’t something people do normally, so you will need to stay alert. People may not be aware they’re violating your personal space, but that doesn’t mean you should react with anger if they do.
Lineups are the new norm and people are anxious and fearful already. If someone comes too close to you, politely ask them to step back. Most people will do so right away. If the person reacts negatively, chances are they will still step away if you remain calm.
Anxiety, depression, stress, loneliness, and boredom are very real effects of isolation. Talk to loved ones on the phone or via the internet frequently. We’re all in this together and sharing your experiences can often lighten the burden.
SAMHSA also offers a help line for referrals if you need to talk to a professional. Your doctor may also be available through a video conferencing call.
Keep Things in Perspective
Yes, this is a major worldwide event, but it will end. Practice social distancing, wash your hands often and clean and sterilize your home. They’re the best ways to stay healthy so we can end this lockdown.