I feel like during this pandemic, I’m the only one of my friends still social distancing and taking other precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19. All my friends went to a fancy summer camp this summer, and it left me feeling lonely. I was just wondering if anyone is still being careful and social distancing like me. –Lilli (BlueWillow)
To answer your question, yes. I am still being super careful and social distancing, and I’m not the only one either! I completely understand what you’re feeling though, and I certainly have felt the exact same thing. I have some friends who have gone on trips, and I have friends who have been able to hug each other. That latter one is particularly hard for me personally to cope with, but I know that we are doing the right thing, and so I can stick it out.
Now let me be clear–our friends are not necessarily bad people for not being careful with this! A person can have a heart of gold and make a mistake, or even several mistakes. And yes, those mistakes can sometimes affect countless other lives (which is why I strongly urge you to do what I do and make it clear to your friends why you’re distancing, in the hopes that they will come to realize what they’re doing is not a smart decision), but that does not automatically make them selfish people. It’s a poor choice with bad consequences, and certainly there are many people who are not distancing and are also not good people, but that doesn’t mean that not distancing=bad selfish person. So as I take this chance to not only offer advice on getting through this, but also to reaffirm that you and your family are making the right choice in distancing, please don’t get mad at me for attacking your friends ;) (And in fact, the same goes for anyone reading this who is not still distancing, although of course in some parts of the world it's actually pretty safe now)
So, why am I so very certain that you’re making the right choice in staying distanced? Well there are actually a whole myriad of reasons! I don’t want to turn this into a lecture or anything, but there’s a lot of research and science out there that is showing not only how bad the situation is now, but also how much we *can* do to improve it. Any graph showing daily positive covid tests reveals exactly how the states and countries with the most physical distancing/mask wearing have way fewer cases than the places where everything has opened back up without precautions.
Is it fun? Absolutely not. Is it hard? Oh yeah! Will it take a while? Unfortunately yes. But is it worth it? Well, from the perspective of your own health, absolutely! From a public health perspective, also absolutely! And the interesting part is that even from an economic perspective, it IS worth it! That one is often overlooked by some people, but here’s the thing: If physical distancing can help us get rid of the virus, and get to the point where it is truly safe to open up, that’s going to help the economy far faster and better than just throwing caution to the winds and reopening before we’re ready. Taking this virus seriously and taking precautions are things that I believe are absolutely necessary to pretty much any future dreams any of us have.
OK, and now for some tips to get through this without seeing your friends, and particularly for when you have friends who are doing things that you’re not.
- As detailed above, hold fast to the faith that you’re doing the right thing! You are your biggest help at staying sane through this all, so just keep reminding yourself why you’re keeping yourself isolated...No, you’re not just a super anti-social person who can’t stand to get less than 10 feet away from anyone. You’re trying to protect yourself, your family, your country, and your world!
- Stay in touch virtually. Depending on what type of devices you and your friends have, this could be a little easier said than done, but given that you’re a member here on NMG, I know you at least have internet access xD. So, whether it’s via email, text, physical mail, phone, video chat, or anything else, check in on your friends regularly, and try to make time to chat. It can never be the same as in person, but it can still be very fun and fulfilling! Particularly video chats or even hanging out outdoors and socially distanced (I of course don’t know what the situation is like by you, but you could talk to your parents and find out what they’re comfortable with and feels safe) can feel *almost* normal. You can talk, laugh, and even watch a movie or play games together! I have a whole list of games that can be played over zoom (or other platforms), so if you or anyone else reading this is interested, shoot me a PM and I’ll send you some ideas!
- Find other things to make this time special for you. So you couldn’t go to camp...I know exactly what that feels like and I’m sorry you missed out on such an amazing memory making experience, I didn’t go to anything I normally do during the summer, and it’s definitely hard :(. However, there are a lot of other cool things we can be doing now! I know the summer is ending soon so we may be moving past virtual camp season now, but there are still all sorts of cool online classes being offered that you could look into with your parents, and there have also been various old concerts and plays that have been streamed during this time–unfortunately as more places open up these types of things will be harder to find, but they’re still out there! This could also be a chance for you to pick up a new hobby or devote more time to an old one...I’ve been pretty busy these last several weeks, but earlier on in quarantine I was doing some more composing and photography, and it was such a small thing but it really made me feel better and enjoy myself
- Talk to others who are distancing. This one is really beneficial, particularly when a lot of your friends aren’t being as careful as you are. Find someone else who is also being more careful, and talk about it! Chances are that you know someone irl who is also still distancing (even if you were never very close before), so if you do, reach out to them and let them know they’re not alone! You can also ask people what they’ve been up to lately, in order to find out if they’ve also been careful. If where you live there aren’t really others being careful though, or if it just happens that no one you know is...you’ve got NMG! Although we have members from various locations and backgrounds, there are still a number of people other than you and I who are still physical distancing! In fact, maybe anyone distancing could comment as such below? Just to create a sort of mini community who will have each other’s backs and can all relate in this specific situation of still physical distancing :D
- Know that we will get through this! I know that I can’t give you an end date, or promise that it will be soon, but we will have to get through this eventually, and even if everything won’t go back to “normal” right away, there will come a day when you can go to camps and school, hug your friends (I’m living for this one ;’3 I just need my hugs!), and not worry that by doing so you’re endangering yourself or others. That day WILL come, so just hang in there <3
- Last but certainly not least, understand that you’re 100% allowed to be having a hard time during this. I want you to be happy, we all do! but any sadness and loneliness is totally valid. We’re living through a truly hard time for so many people, and you are one of those people too. So please, take care of your emotions! They are valid, to be expected, and need to be treated as such. If you need to cry sometimes, cry! If you need to rant on NMG, do it! That's what GiO is for, and we're all here for you. If you need a day of snuggling up in a blanket and reading, just to help stabilize your emotions, do it! This has and will continue to be hard for us all on many different levels, and we need to accept that fact before we can move on and try to make it easier.
I hope some of this helps a bit, and if there’s ever anything else I can do to help, please feel free to ask, either in the comments or via PM! I know what this is like, you're not alone in distancing, and I’m here to help in any way I can. <3
Related Blog Posts:
Dealing With Social Isolation (By Me)
Staying Connected In Quarantine (By Paige)
Summer Social Distancing Fun (By Alex)
Feeling Energetic And Well During Quarantine (By Emily)