The very last thing we need right now is to socially distance. Humans are by nature social creatures, living in social groups and working together as far back in human history as we can trace. We need support. We need to stay active and engaged. We need to remember we’re in this together. And we need to remember that social isolation is a huge contributor to mental and physical health problems of all kinds.
So let’s start a movement. If you hear people talking about socially distancing, remind them of the difference. Physically distancing = protecting our health and our community. Socially distancing = loneliness, isolation, illness, and despair.
Another one in case you are not convinced.
Although there’s been no time to study the effects of social distancing related specifically to the coronavirus, we know a great deal about the impact of social isolation on mental and physical health. It’s often experienced as highly stressful, and the stress can become toxic. Isolation, particularly when it causes loneliness, increases the risk of anxiety and depression. Social isolation has the equivalent adverse impact on physical health to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. It’s a greater threat to health than obesity, and is linked to an increased risk of a wide variety of health problems. In an interesting study highly relevant to our current situation, students who reported higher levels of loneliness responded less powerfully to flu vaccinations. Kenneth E. Miller Ph.D., Psychology Today