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What is Social Distancing, and How Do We Practice It?

Right now, you can’t turn on your TV or read your Facebook feed without hearing about COVID-19 or the novel coronavirus. There’s a lot of information out there, and it’s not all true. For the most current coronavirus updates and evidence-based recommendations, there’s no better source than the World Health Organization. If you’re in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and your state government’s web site are also excellent resources. You’ll note a common theme as you read: the importance of maintaining appropriate “social distancing.” What is it, and how does it apply to the virus outbreak? Here, I’ll walk you through the basics of social distancing and recommend activities for this unprecedented phase of our lives.

The Life-Saving Practice Of Social Distancing

Social distancing is simply the act of maintaining a physical distance of six feet or more from other people during an outbreak or pandemic. Current recommendations and mandates include the closing of schools, offices, and stores, and the cancelation of large gatherings, like concerts and weddings. Experts also caution that you should maintain an appropriate distance when shopping at the supermarket or enjoying a walk outdoors. Overall, the advice is very straightforward: right now, if you don’t absolutely need to go out, stay home.

Surgeon General Social Distancing – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Why is social distancing so important? It’s one of the best ways to help “flatten the curve” or slow the transmission of COVID-19. Based on what we know about how this virus spreads, maintaining appropriate distance helps to save lives in at least two ways. It helps to prevent at-risk populations, like the elderly and people with underlying medical conditions, from contracting the virus. It also slows or limits the community spread of the virus so that medical facilities are less overwhelmed by new cases. It’s an indisputable fact that more people will become ill with coronavirus before the pandemic is over. But social distancing delays its spread so that hospitals have enough beds and mechanical ventilators for the patients requiring them. So stay at home! It’s never been easier to save the lives of your loved ones and neighbors.

Stay-Home Jobs: The New Normal

As one of the basic safety measures recommended by experts, many companies have asked their employees to work from home. It can be a real challenge if it’s not something you’re accustomed to. If you’ve found yourself working from your couch due to social distancing, here are a few tips for better productivity:

A man working at home practicing social distancing
Set Up A Home Office And Stick To Your Weekly Routines (Image Source: Shutterstock)
  • Stick to your normal weekday routine. As tempting as it may be to skip your morning workout and shower, you’ll find it easier to focus if you stick to your regular schedule.
  • Set up a “home office” where you can minimize distractions. Unless you’re one of those people who works well on the couch with the TV on, find a quiet corner. Set up your computer, phone, and whatever else you need in a place where you can work without interruption.
  • Take breaks if you need them. If you feel yourself getting restless, take a brief walk outdoors or engage in a few minutes of mindfulness-based stress reduction exercises. They can help reduce any anxiety you may be feeling and help you refocus on your work.

If you don’t have a work-from-home job right now but are in search of a new gig, there’s no time like the present. Currently, there are a number of professional opportunities that will allow you to maintain safe social distancing.

Fun Things To Do At Home

Right now, experts emphasize that staying at home is the best way to keep yourself and others safe. It’s okay to go for a walk, run, or hike, as long as you stay six feet away from anyone you may encounter. But there’s only so much jogging you can do in a given week, especially when the weather’s unpredictable. Here are a few ideas to keep you from becoming stir-crazy while you’re hanging out at home:

A man in headphones using laptop, looking at screen, making video call or watching webinar, writing notes.
Get Connected With Your Colleagues Through Videoconferencing (Image Source: Shutterstock)
  • Have a virtual happy hour with colleagues or friends. You can use remote conferencing software like Zoom or Google Hangouts to host a chat with your buddies. It’s a fun way to catch up without taking any health and safety risks. You might even make it a remote dinner date.
  • Get cooking. Now is a great time to try out new recipes, and you can get creative with the ingredients you have at home already. You might even dig out that Instant Pot pressure cooker you got as a holiday gift and give it a try. The possibilities are endless, especially if you start an online recipe exchange with friends. 
  • Start a new fitness regimen. Since gyms and other fitness centers are closed, now is a great time to try an online workout. Many virtual training platforms offer free trial periods for new users. You may want to sample a few before you commit—you’re most likely to stick to the one you think is fun! Bonus: if you’re feeling extra anxious, exercise is an excellent stress-buster.
  • Check out tons of free content that weren’t available before social distancing went into effect. You can stream music, TV shows, and films, and live performances or take a college course. Many schools are offering a diverse list of classes, including big-name research universities like Harvard and Yale.

We’re All In This Together

This is new territory for all of us. Humans are social creatures, and most of us aren’t accustomed to this level of isolation. No matter how good you are at occupying yourself while practicing social distancing, it can get lonely and boring. Just remember that, by following the current recommendations, you’re protecting yourself and your loved ones.

And don’t forget to be kind to yourself. If you don’t get as much work done as usual or find yourself nuking a few frozen dinners, it’s okay. These are strange times, and it’s normal to feel stressed and anxious. Now is a great time to virtually reach out to friends, family, and other sources of support. Please know that Team 1AND1 has your back in whatever way we can.

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