Who doesn’t remember the Georgia Satellites song Keep Your Hands to Yourself? You know the lines, “My honey, my baby, don’t put my love upon no shelf. She said, “Don’t hand me no lines and keep your hands to yourself!” Now that this song is playing in your head and probably will all day, let’s talk about keeping your hands to yourself, by way of social distancing.
Over the past few weeks, we have all been immersed in a world health crisis that is demanding we take action and precaution. The Coronavirus pandemic is not only causing us health and economic concerns and perhaps long-standing social ones as well. We have been asked, and rightfully so, to distance ourselves from others to help alleviate the spread of the virus.
Johns Hopkins recommends these social distancing steps:
- Avoid crowds of people.
- Stay at least six feet away from others.
- Work from home instead of the office.
- Visit loved ones by electronic devices instead of in person.
- Cancel or postpone conferences and large meetings.
For more on these recommendations, you can visit the Johns Hopkins website here.
But what exactly is social distancing?
Social distancing, as defined by Wikipedia, is a set of infection control actions intended to stop or slow down the spread of a contagious disease. The definition also states that the objective is to reduce the probability of contact between persons carrying an infection, and others who are not infected, so as to minimize disease transmission. Preventing a deluge of infections keeps healthcare services from being overwhelmed and provides time for a vaccine/treatment to be developed.
What does this mean for our social lives?
Our social fabric is changing day by day as we physically distance ourselves from friends, co-workers, and loved ones. With schools closed and children at home, we have to deal with a whole new way of learning via online learning and working from home in isolation. We are avoiding people, our favorite public places and activities, and seemingly life in general, but there are many ways to minimize the negative effects of social distancing.
Small steps for better health
First and foremost, it is important to keep our minds healthy by eating well, exercising and remaining in contact with family and friends. Letting others know that you are there for them is a must! Maybe we can’t be there physically with them, but we can let them know we are thinking of them. We can keep our minds active by reading, playing cards, doing puzzles, learning a new language, and by other activities that help keep us functioning well!
Even though we are distancing, now is the time to be kind, think of others, and help make the world a better place.
Random acts of kindness by people all over the world are being shared on social media as COVID-19 progresses. We are seeing the best of people helping people. Hopefully these kind acts and benevolence becomes the new normal. It doesn’t take much to make someone else feel good or make a life better as we carry on.
The Coronavirus pandemic will pass; all pandemics have as history shows. And when we emerge, we will be stronger and hopefully in a better place than before. Things that we took for granted like shaking hands, attending sporting events, dinner with friends, or a simple conversation with neighbors, will be viewed in a different light.
We may have to Keep Our Hands to Ourselves for awhile, but that doesn’t mean it will be forever. We can still be social and keep our distance. We just have to do it prudently and with regard for others. Make no mistake; we will come away from this with a whole new understanding and appreciation of what it means to be social.