Social Distancing: The Whole is Greater Than the Individual - nCenter

Social Distancing: The Whole is Greater Than the Individual

Human beings, by nature, are social animals. Therefore, the notion of social-distancing sounds much easier to do in theory than in practice. In the process of trying to establish a “new normal,” (e.g. at-home exercise regimens, waking up and going to bed at a decent hour, wondering how you ever managed to resist those snacks in the cupboard, etc.) it can be easy to fall prey to the “I am the exception” mindset.

All of a sudden, it is no longer acceptable to go to the store because you were struck with an insatiable ice cream craving…or is it?Surely, a quick trip—there and back in a flash—would be harmless. However, the answer is a resounding and irrevocable no according to Rachel Miller’s article “The Answer to All of Your Social Distancing Loopholes is No”.  It is possible, with that quick trip, that one in two people could be asymptomatic carriers for COVID-19, unknowingly infecting those around them. When all is said and done, one cannot be absolutely positive that he/she is not carrying the virus asymptomatically. Therefore, it is more important now more than ever before to accept the personal burden that comes with staying at home for an indefinite period of time, not only for your own personal safety, but also for the well-being of your community as a whole.

One can take solace in the fact that this is not a permanent situation, but everyone can agree that it is a difficult one. Feelings of anxiety, anger, and frustration are completely normal and should not be ignored. Acknowledge the fact that your life has taken an unexpected turn and has halted through no fault of your own. Above all, be patient with yourself. We are all going through the same thing, and making sacrifices for strangers as well as loved ones. Miller points out that sacrifice is hard, and with it comes feelings of grief and loss which we will try to quell by finding “loopholes” in this crisis, but they are not the solution. Right now, the only answer is to give yourself a bit of tough love on those bad days when you try to think of exceptions to the rule, and instead, pick up a good book or learn a crafty new hobby and know that the rest of the world has stopped with you. 

Shera Wanner, budding pathologist at University of Washington Medical School