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Some Psychological Impacts of Social Distancing

Some Psychological Impacts of Social Distancing

With more and more countries mandating social distancing to curb the spread of COVID-19, world as we know it has come to a standstill. Empty streets, vacant shopping malls and deserted public spaces; signify an eerie calm and quiet. For a species mentally wired to seek out social connection all this feels unnatural and strange.

So what are the psychological implications of prolonged social distancing? There are quite a few researches conducted on people living in confinements which give us some insight. These range from studies done on astronauts training for an isolated lifestyle in space to prisoners condemned to solitary confinement.

It is important to note that isolation and loneliness does not affect the human mind alone but manifests physiological changes as well. Some of these include changes in sleep patterns, negative impact on the immune system, endocrine and neuro-cognitive systems as well as changes in the metabolism.

Some psychological effects that social distancing can have on you may include the following:

1. Mounting sense of fear and anxiety

You may feel anxious and fearful of thinking about the future. You may be worried of contracting the virus or passing it on to someone, or you may be stressed over a lack of job security in the future owing to the looming recession. Most of our fears at these times are perpetuated due to the uncertainty of the time we are living in.

Try to shift your mind elsewhere when you catch yourself projecting a miserable future. Engage in your favorite hobbies, focus on the things you love, learn a new skill with all this time on your hand. You don’t have to have everything figured out. Let go for now and just go with the flow of things.

Also, check out How to Cope with the Emotional Effects of Social Distancing

2. Depression

Depression is going to be a probable consequence of loneliness and isolation. If you suffer from depression or any other psychological illness, make sure to take your medicine and keep in touch with your therapist or a trusted loved one through calls or social media. Take this time to indulge in self-care and self-love. Do the things that inspire joy, turn off the news and focus your energy on something productive.

3. Anger and Frustration

With major sports events and concerts cancelling in the wake of the pandemic, coffee shops, and restaurants closing their doors to customers, movie releases getting postponed indefinitely; it is likely you will feel anger and frustration. You may feel distressed that you are missing out on so much. When such feelings get intense remind yourself all this is temporary. Remember, this too shall pass.

No doubt social distancing will prove taxing on our emotional and mental well being in the long run. But it is important that we practice resilience and emerge from this stronger than before. Best way to use this time is to self-reflect and improve those aspects of ourselves in which we may be lagging behind.

Who knows, maybe we will find ourselves reminiscing about these days of idleness when we are thrust back into our hectic lives again.

Written by Farwa Batool

MSc Biotechnology.
Writer and a mom of two beautiful daughters.


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