In an effort to "flatten the curve," we’ve received all kinds of instruction for living in a pandemic. Working from home is at an all-time high, we're all humming tunes while washing our hands, and we've been told to stay six feet away from people.
Let me be clear: all these ideas are great. I’m a little sad that it took a global pandemic to teach adults how to wash their hands, but at least we’re learning.
However, one of the travesties of our recent pandemic is that the six-foot rule got an early label that has the potential to be incredibly harmful to our culture and society; not to mention mental health as we forward.
The term? "Social Distancing."
Before you question my motives, let me qualify once more: I agree with the concept. I always believe it’s important for the strong and mighty to lay down their own self-determining mindset for the vulnerable.
However, when a simple six-foot rule got turned into a viral phrase (#socialdistancing), our distancing ended up more like isolation. I’m no marketing expert, but it’s unfortunate that this phrase went viral because it doesn’t tell us the actual picture of what needs to take place.
Physical Distancing > Social Distancing
We need physical distance right now, not social distance. And quite honestly, in times when anxiety, stress, and fear are high—we need more connection compared to less!
I realize this is increasingly difficult. With religious gatherings moving online, with schools moving towards digital learning, and with common gathering spaces like restaurants & our favorite microbreweries closing their taprooms, being in the same physical space as one another isn’t possible. (And have I mentioned, maybe not wise?)
But there are plenty of ways to stay connected without being physically close.
- Zoom, Google Hangouts, Facebook Messanger, and other digital platforms are essential for you to stay connected and in a relationship during this time. It might feel foreign at first, but I promise you that deep and meaningful conversations can happen online.
- Fort Collins has miles upon miles of bike trails. Call a few friends up and bike together— there's no need for physical contact... just don’t sneeze on one another.
- Go for a hike! With all the outdoor activities around that don’t require touching, kissing, and holding hands... enjoy the great spring weather on a nice hike on one of our amazing trails.
- Throw a neighborhood party! Get a fire pit, sit in different chairs at least six feet apart, and tell everyone to bring their own food & drinks. Even if we move towards a state-wide lockdown like California, we can still sit on the sidewalks and connect.
We are facing a serious pandemic; nobody doubts that. But we are facing all kinds of other health problems (loneliness, isolation, depression, etc.) if we don’t learn how to do ‘physical distancing’ compared to ‘social distancing’ that sometimes leads to isolation.
Part of ‘Loving FoCo’ is learning how to love at a distance, but maintaining connection.
Check out our post “Digital Happy Hour” for links and information about an up and coming virtual hang out happy hour!