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With the recent COVID-19 pandemic upon the world, you’ve most likely heard the word ‘social distancing’ floating around social media. Whether its the closure of malls and restaurants, work-from-home declared by most offices, or the cancellation of many events around the globe, all of these are attempts at social distancing. So, what exactly is social distancing and why is it so strongly urged by governments and organisations? Let’s find out.
What is Social Distancing?
Social distancing is an effort taken by citizens across the world to slow the spread of viruses, in this case, the COVID-19 coronavirus. Every time people meet or interact physically, they exchange germs or microbes, which then spread to other people they meet along the way, etc., which is how viral infections spread. Social distancing means stepping out only when needed and within reason, including for work, hanging out, or more. When people isolate themselves at home, they stay safe from being infected. One person practising social distancing can save himself, but an entire society practising it can stop the virus altogether. Let’s see why this is so important.
Benefits of Social Distancing
Social distancing benefits not just yourself but the community. Here is why it is so necessary during a pandemic.
1. Keeps People Safe
The first and most obvious benefit of social distancing is that you remain safe, and in turn, protect the people around. What’s even more important to know is that some people are more susceptible to certain viruses. In the case of COVID-19, they are the elderly or people with respiratory ailments. Hence, even if you do not fall into the high-risk bracket, you could still pick up and carry the virus, passing it on to someone who may get seriously affected. By practising social distancing, you take accountability for those around you as well.
2. Slows and Stops the Spread of Viruses
Of course, there are many factors that stop viruses from spreading, but the key to stopping it is first to slow it down. When people don’t interact with each other, the spread of the virus is cut off down the entire line. Once all the infected people are quarantined and healed, the spread of the virus officially stops, which is essentially the best way to end a pandemic of this kind.
3. Reduces the Burden on the Healthcare Industry
Each country’s healthcare system has its limitations and can only handle so many cases at a time. Not to forget, the doctors, nurses and staff putting their lives at risk every day to treat patients. By keeping yourself and the others around you safe, you help reduce some of the burden that the healthcare industry would face. This way, the affected people can heal and the virus can be stopped faster.
Other Benefits of Social Distancing
The previous benefits are the basic goals of social distancing, but here are some benefits that are a definite bonus.
1. More Me-Time
You won’t even realise how much me-time you were missing out on because of your hectic lifestyle. When you’re saving time by not travelling to and from work or going out as often, you’re giving time to the person who needs it the most, YOURSELF! So, indulge in some pamper sessions, whether that includes a nice, warm foot soak, a good book, a hot cup of coffee, or just good ol’ sleep.
2. More Savings
No daily transport costs, no eating out, no drinks, and you’ll be surprised at how much money you end up saving. Of course, this also depends on your lifestyle, so try and limit ordering in while you’re stuck at home.
3. Bonding Time
Social distancing gives you more time to spend with your family at home. So you can catch up with your partner, kids or in-laws and talk about what you’ve missed out on these few months. Don’t forget to check out some fun activities to do with the family while stuck at home.
4. Get Things Done
We’ve all got that long to-do list of things we’ve been wanting to do since months, whether its chores at home, a good book to read, or a new hobby to learn. Well, here’s your chance to actually tick some things off that list.
Social Distancing Rules to Follow
Of course, there are some precautions you have to take, but social distancing doesn’t mean you have to isolate yourself from the world. Here are some social distancing rules for you to follow.
1. Avoid Play Dates or House Parties as Much as Possible
This goes without saying. Even though playdates and house parties take place at home, they usually involve someone having to travel. So, to avoid them catching any viruses while travelling and later transferring them to your family, try and reduce the frequency of playdates and house parties. And when you can’t, make sure your friends and family take precautions while travelling and wash their hands as soon as they enter the house.
2. Go for a Walk/ Run Outside, But Avoid Crowded Areas
You can go for a walk or run outdoors if you feel the need to, but avoid going to a crowded area. Make sure you keep at least a 6-metre distance from others and go during a time when its less likely to be crowded outside.
3. Be Selective
Keep your circle small while social distancing, which includes not attending any gatherings of more than ten people and, of course, being selective about who those people are. Making prudent choices will help keep you and your family safe during this time.
4. Stock Up on Groceries
Of course, this doesn’t mean stocking up like the apocalypse is coming, but buy a considerable number of groceries at a time, so your frequency of going out to shop is reduced. Keep some snacks or pre-packaged food like chips, popcorn, baby food, cereal, etc., to munch on as well, just in case.
5. Make Full Use of the Internet
Whether you’re working or talking to your friends, the internet allows you to do it all within the comfort of your home. You can even take up a hobby online, talk to your friends or have dinner with them on a video call, or continue a book club or kitty-party online. There’s a lot you can do, so explore-explore.
Social distancing is the most important now when the pandemic can still be brought under control. So, ask for a work-from-home shift, limit your outside interactions, and spend some time relaxing at home with your family, until its finally safe to go outside!