Social Distancing- A New Way Of Life


Caption: a sign promoting social distancing at a Trader Joes in Oak Park, IL. -wikicommons

Chiara Douglas, Reporter

As a result of the recent pandemic, social distancing has become a part of our daily routine. Covid-19 has spread across more than 180 countries, killing hundreds of innocent people a day. From standing in tiresome lines at the grocery store to avoiding major group events and milestones, social distancing, along with other regulations, has changed our ways of life. 

As we all know, social distancing is the act of staying six-feet apart from all around you. Wearing masks in public, self quarantining, online schooling, and more, have been implemented in hopes to avoid the spread of the Coronavirus. The avoidance of family and friends has had a great impact on individuals globally, and proves to have a negative influence. According to Madelyn Drohan, a junior at West Springfield High School, “not being able to be around my friends everyday has been hard, and it’s made me very lonely.” As these feelings and regulations seem to be universal, other mandatory rules continue to evolve depending on where you live and the number of cases of the virus in that area. Places like Italy were on lockdown, malls, theatres, and other large settings have been closed, and many countries have required residents to wear face masks when they leave their houses. In the US, by May, the number of deaths caused by the virus reached over 100,000, according John Hopkins Research Institute. Covid-19 has caused businesses to fall, groups like law-enforcement officers to limit the effectiveness of their jobs, healthcare workers to sacrifice their lives, and unemployment to reach record highs. 

Although many states and countries have started to open back up in phases, the mental damage that has developed within many remains. Throughout the pandemic, stress has overcome households throughout the world, and has become debilitating to health workers on the front-lines. Federal agency experts warn that a historic wave of depression, substance abuse, PTSD, and suicide rates will reign, as a result from lost friends and family, and a lack of social connection. As the mental-health system is underfunded, it is a great concern of many as to how the lack of support will affect communities nationwide. 

According to the tracking poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, it was found that 45 percent of adults believe that the pandemic is affecting their mental-health, and 19 percent of that population says it has had a major impact. These numbers are extremely high, although there is no surprise within the health community. There are many reasons for these anxieties, with social distancing being one of them. 

If you are feeling anxious or depressed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, there are many coping mechanisms you can try. Joshua Gordon, the director of the National Institute of Mental Health, suggested writing down your fears on a piece of paper, and mentally stepping away from it. On top of “mentally isolating” from your fears, you can communicate to another caring person, and decrease negative behaviors, such as excessive drinking and overeating. Overall, social distancing is affecting the mental and physical health of many… you are not alone.