Social Distancing and an Ocean of Emotions

Source: Reddit
Let's flatten the curve

We meet people, so many people every day even where there is no intention, we do. While traveling, in office, in public places, we meet people directly and indirectly. We meet people, affect them and vice versa happens too. 

In the time of COVID-19, the probability of getting infected by such exposure is thus maximum. If not controlled, the rise in cases can be exponential as per the studies and this may create havoc if not tackled well, right now. The graph is going up and thus the healthcare sector is coming under pressure. To avoid an overwhelming situation for them, it is required that we take and implement some changes. One basic thing in our hand is to practice hygiene and then, avoiding to mingle with people physically and visiting social places to minimize disease transmission, in short adopt Social Distancing. 

What Curve?

The number of COVID-19 cases over a period of time, its effect on health care system and consequently on the patients, that's the curve under subject. Here's a glimpse.

We have to see that we don't reach zone A. In fact we need to push more towards C not only to get cases under control but also to get the best of care for all the patients. So, that complete eradication of COVID-19 is possible. The disease will become dangerous if all will become sick at once which will leave our health care system overwhelmed. 

Not only on authorities and government, fighting Coronavirus also depends on us and we can do that by social distancing.

What is Social Distancing?

Social distancing is a set of "non-pharmaceutical" system for controlling infection which is intended to stop or slow down the spread of any contagious disease with the objective to reduce the probability of contact between persons carrying an infection, so as to minimize transmission of disease and ultimately, mortality.

To understand this fundamental of "Flattening the Curve" and "Social Distancing". including the questions "why is it required" and "how it will be effective" you should watch this interesting video by VOX.

Social Distancing and an Ocean of Emotions

People are getting overwhelmed by the term "social distancing" and experiencing a myriad of emotions. Instead of conquering them, they are drowning in their own Ocean of Emotions, the dominating ones being sadness and depression. 

"But why?", I thought and then I read, researched about it and now I know why it has such a huge affect on a person's well being.

Social Distancing associates with the words Isolation, Lock down, No socializing, No Partying and the likes of it. These words do have a psychological effect on people, specially on those who can't or don't know to function without people or it can even be that they don't know yet that they can function alone. 

Consider it as a mind game. Don't be overwhelmed, you are not lonely though you may just be alone. Remember the movie, Home Alone? Think on those lines. Be brave and fight it in your own unique, quirky way. There is a big difference between being alone and being lonely. According to me, depression and sadness is more because of latter. Life is not only about meeting people all the time and having fun only when in company. In fact, consider the present situation as blessing in disguise, indulge in some "me time". It gives one the opportunity to create a healthy bond with self, introspect, retrospect and even find new creative ways to lead life. 

[Read here: Traveling (or not) in the times of COVID-19?]

Stay away from crowd and when Kartik Aryan tells you to in his style, you ought to do it. Check here - #CoronaStopKaroNa My Appeal in my Style, it is downright hilarious and intelligent speech (he nailed it yet again ).

There is no dearth of things to do, you can indulge in a variety of activities while Social Distancing. Every cloud has a Silver Lining and I will cover that aspect in this post but before that I would like you to read something which is beyond Social Distancing. Here you go!

Getting over the psychology behind Social Distancing & entering the real world problems

Here I have discussed on three basic issues which are to do with the corporate world.

PC: The Jakarta Post
Closure of all educational establishments (schools, universities etc), gyms, museums, cultural and social centres, swimming pools and theatres. 
Students are being advised to stay at home. Whilst their parents are still going to office. Not all offices can give "work from home", not all sectors can work with that pattern, even with limited office visits visits, parents still have to go to office. Even while working from home they may not be able to give their undivided attention to the kids and with toddlers things can be pretty difficult.

If work from home is an option, great. If not? Then if you can afford to take leave, please take. But there are some people who can't, specially those whose family depends on their income with nothing to spare. While such people shall take every necessary precaution they can, one situation they can't avoid is their kid(s) home alone and if they are very young, the difficulty level is more. Leaving them in day care is also not a good idea amid COVID-19 and there enters, "neighbours".

There are still some people who are either freelancers or homemakers. If such people are in your neighbourhood, close to you and are trustworthy; why not initiate a group of such people in your society to take care of your kids while you're at work. It can be a paid thing  so that you don't feel guilty and your anxiety level will be negligible as well.

Additionally, for a little older children, they may get super bored at home and in absence of parents they can go out to play or their screen time might increase. So, first try to make them understand about the situation and ask them to indulge in indoor games. Challenge them into doing some creative thinking, innovate interesting indoor games or if they have to watch then it should be Natgeo, Animal Planet, Discovery. And whenever you are at home, play with them, engage them in healthy discussions.

PC: Microsoft

What Employers can do for their Employees specially where "work from home" is not feasible.

  • Screening everyone at the gates itself with Infra-red thermometer. Each and every employee and even visitors shall be checked before allowing them entrance. 
  • Urge employees to restrict online shopping giving office address.
  • Alcohol based hand rub to be provided at every contact point.
  • Bio-metric shall be stopped and i-cards shall be activated to allow entry in the office.
  • Interactive posters with latest updates shall be circulated online and also be put on bulletin boards.
  • COVID-19 policing can be started by picking a few volunteers among employees who can keep a check on situation in the company and report. They can also keep a watch on if employees are following dos and don'ts or not and can urge such people to follow the code.
  • Travel across cities can be banned for some time and video/tele-conferencing shall be promoted.
  • The seating arrangements can be made in a way that employees are always more than one metre apart from each other. This can be achieved by making 50% employees-working on any day, alternate day working, flexi-working hours etc.
  • Since there is scarcity of masks and sanitizers in pharmacies, company can assist there employees by arranging and distributing the same among them.
  • The staff members like, office boys, security personnel shall be made aware about COVID-19 and shall be trained on what precautions they need to take and how they need to work.
PC: Business2Community
What Employees can do to make it easy for their Employer in this tough time.

  • Cooperate with the Company's dos and don'ts which are in fact in place to keep employees safe and healthy.
  • As soon as you reach office, without touching anything run to washroom and wash your hands with soap. 
  • Avoid scheduling any meetings. Go digital, meet over Skype or any other media possible.
  • If work from home is not possible, take leave voluntarily. Specially when you have to travel a long way to work. You have to avoid crowd at all cost.
  • Avoid shaking hands.
  • Follow good hygiene and take all precautions.
How can you kill boredom, a by-product of Social Distancing?

As you have already seen in the video shared above, Social Distancing has proven to be very effective. With increase in mobility, increases the contact and with increase in contact, the probability of getting infection also increases specially when it is a disease like COVID-19 which is highly contagious. As per present situation, the next 10 days are very crucial.


By Social Distancing one can decrease the chances of both getting the disease and spreading it.

Social Distancing, make the most of it. Here is what you can do:

  • Introspect, Retrospect, Clear your mind - How often do you get time for self? The answer is sure, "Never". So, what are you waiting for? Indulge in deep cleansing of your mind, soul and thoughts.
  • If you are a traveller, don't lose heart - Document your past travel escapades. Write, make a journal. Once that's done, make future plans,  make travel goals, prepare travel itineraries, research about a new place to explore.
  • Learn a new Language - Coma esta usted, amigo? Just learn a new language guys. Download "Duolingo" on your mobile. Easy peasy.
  • Binge watch on Netflix or Amazon Prime - They have so many amazing TV shows and movies. My favorites are: 2 Broke Girls, Suits, NCIS, White Collar, Castle, Mom, Manifest, Young Sheldon, The Family Man, Hanna, Just Add Magic, Jack Ryan, Our Planet, Friends etc. (For more suggestions, write to me. You can share your list as well, in the comments section). Watch Christmas-y, happy movies on Netflix, there are so many them. 

Why not make a pact with close group of friends, say, up to 5
Enlist movies/TV shows, watch one (movie/episode) per day
Discuss by the EOD. Would be fun!

  • Clean your Wardrobe - This is the time to throw away what you don't need and indulge in some spring cleaning.
  • Clean your room or indulge in some DIY room makeover - There are so many videos available for upgrading your room from what it is now to a little more quirky and happening one. Try.
  • Talk to your friends often - Video call or just chat, make the most of this time to reconnect with the forgotten ones.
  • Spend time with family - In this age and time, family has become stranger then the ones you meet in office. Spend time with parents, siblings, kids and spouse. 
  • Play games or create some - Go back to 90s ways of enjoying life. Reconnect with your kids. Play with them.
  • Learn a new musical instrument or cook with kids or plant a tree.
  • Take care of self - Personal care takes a back seat with hectic work schedule. Try some things from your grand mother's tales on personal care. Make herbal products at home using daily essentials. Detox. You will definitely feel rejuvenated.
  • Distract - This is my personal favorite. When the problem is such that the solution is far from possible or if finding one is not in your hands, the stress can increase manifold. In such cases, the solution is to "distract" yourself. Find such an indulging activity that stress doesn't touch you. Listen to music or make some, dance your heart out or learn some new moves, indulge in art and craft or engage in any of the above mentioned activities. Just distract yourself. 
  • THINK - This is very important and now you have got a lot of time to do some constructive thinking. Make use of the situation and devise ideas for your betterment, your family's, society, culture, environment and country. How you can make a difference, what you can do to stand out, what changes you can bring in your life to make India better in every aspect. Think about it.
What after the pandemia is over?

The loss of own life cannot be experienced by ourselves but it is our family and friends who have to bear the pain of such loss and live with it. The survivors have to deal with mental agony and the scar the time leaves. Can we get rid of it? How? I asked myself.

Are we headed towards a mental health crisis once the dust settles? How big is the burden of the loss of life, psych, peace and calm? 

Although the feeling of losing a loved one and even any other kind of anguish cannot be justified in any way, I can only say that time is the biggest healer along with the people we have in our life. We need the will power, hope, optimism and ways to keep ourselves together to overcome such suffering. We need to analyse, why is this happening, what we can do about it and how we can build a better society post pandemic. We have to kick start somewhere

T'is the time demanding "Survival of the Fittest".
Don't give in the situation. FIGHT.

I also reached out to some of my friends from different work domain, cultural background and places to understand what they think about it and here is what they had to say. 

Sherna JayMumbaikar turned Hyderabadi | Maniac Editor & Thought Evangelist

Change adoption is a big challenge in itself. Being forced to suddenly adapt into a more limited lifestyle only to work back to the grind afterwards may sound taxing at first but is definitely possible. What me must ensure in this time of crisis is to avoid breaking down, quash social anxiety, help our near-dear ones and build a better co-operative and kind environment than the usual competitive rat race lifestyle. Eat healthy, nurture your creative side, be the calm you envision. 

Ashwin Doke | Mumbai | Sports Enthusiast

So this is like when you reboot your laptop or restart your phone and it's fast again.

With free time at your hand now, think and analyse your life. You will realize there were so many wasteful activities you had taken up and that how you can be more effective and efficient with your efforts and time. Plan and Implement.

Sonia Gad | Goa | Boss Lady and Freelance Engineer

Consider this as a warning from nature. We shouldn't wait till things are out of our hands to take actions on them like global warming. If this virus situation was accepted by authorities even about a month back, it might have not spread so much. The loss will be there definitely and its burden will be on the entire humanity but with time we will get over it and I hope in a positive way. Humility, Love and Care shall win. Tend to the needy and get over your immaturity.

On a lighter note there may be a baby in your family 9 months down the line. Watch Out.

Sengsri | Tura (Meghalaya) | Quirky Thinker

The moment I heard about the 100 years theory I was like "Wow! This is like mother earth has a REFRESH button and it gets reset every 100 years". Mama Earth knows how to take care of herself. It also teaches us every time that we need to take care of her and its time that we learn this big time.

I also couldn't help but think of Thanos from Avengers Infinity Wars, who had the ultimate power to wipe out half the population of earth just by snapping his fingers. In our Coronavirus War, the virus is spreading with the snap of fingers but each of us have a bigger super power i.e. wash our hands more often to save the human race. Else it will be like that song of Katrina Kaif, Zara zara touch me touch me touch me, zara zara kill me kill me kill me 😂

Ujwala | Charlotte (North Carolina) | Full Stack Developer

It is time to reevaluate the definitions of necessity and luxury.

Things you thought you could keep doing anytime or were always interested in might suddenly become overbearing after a few times of repetition whilst you practice Social Distancing. It is time you understand the value of the life and people you are sharing it with, importance of friends, even of the talkative bunch who will suddenly become an asset in your life.

Larger picture here is probably the fact that all of us at some point of time may experience mental breakdown or even have to consciously re-evaluate our choices. I hope going through this phase makes us more empathetic towards people. But an important question remains, "Can we solve everyone’s problem?" Maybe not. "Can we solve our own problems?" Maybe yes or no. Adapting will take a while, as it must because we have had a very long time to get conditioned to the way we behave today. Now, it has to be done one chip at a time, though it may not necessarily change everything around us but may likely add to (or take away from) who we were and this is where I’m hoping that eventually, crisis pushes us all towards a better understanding of each other and ourselves.

Nivedita | Bangalore | Doctor Saab

As a doctor, we're pretty much doing the same thing in this time as we were before but as far as lock down is concerned, it is a very surreal experience for the people in general and when it eventually ends there will be a lot of things we need to come to terms with. Probably a lot of existential questions like "what is it that we're doing with our lives? Is work really that important or if our current relationships are worth the effort?" It sure will cause a bit of confusion. Specially in a country like ours where the majority of the population has to go back to work for their daily wage. The mental toll that's gonna take? Huge! 

But let me move away from my usual cynical self and say that there is some hope for the future, there always is! Its like "Thanos in action". But people did get back to sanity after Thanos and it was through building bonds and being there for each other, wasn't it? <Never thought that would be my source of inspiration but hope comes from mysterious places :)> Well, we all should take notes from there about how to handle the situation, the paranoia, the losses, the guilt of surviving and life after. Maybe this is a reminder that we are all humans and that nobody is above the other.

To add, Social distancing doesn't mean that we distance ourselves from each other mentally and emotionally, instead use this time to build bridges and get back to old friendships. Use the technology we have always used to build huge forts around us but now to get back to humanity and to build human relationships. Maybe we could start a helpline for people to just talk or maybe go back to making pen friends.

- - - - - - - - - -

I hope this post helps you understand the gravity of the present situation, need of Social Distancing including its pros and cons and how it has a catalytic effect on your thinking process, do think about "What's Next" scenarios, positively. 

May we use this COVID-19 crisis to bring about fundamental changes and advance towards the development of society, climate change model, economy, health care, digitization across various platforms and last but not the least our sensibility and logicalness.

Be Well!

Yours Truly,
Me and My Suitcase


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