What Are the Psychological Impacts of Social Distancing?

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COVID-19 has done what even two world wars could not do. It has postponed the Olympics, shut down public transport, libraries, schools, colleges, universities, workplaces, almost everything you thought couldn’t ever be closed. People have to stay at their homes unless and until it is an absolute emergency. It is not easy to isolate oneself, but difficult times demand desperate measures. But, social distancing has its impacts, and they can be daunting. Some of them are:

Fear and Anxiety:

Photo of Man Leaning on Wooden Table

We do not know when this will end. We do not know whether the virus has infected or is it the common cold or the dreaded COVID-19. Whether the grocery store will be open tomorrow or not, we have no idea. We do not know for how long we will be able to hold down that job. So it is natural to feel fear and anxiety. It can also result in irregular sleep and problem in focusing on daily tasks. But, it is not time to panic certainly.

Depression and Boredom:

Photo Of Woman Leaning On Window

We are cut off from our regular work schedule. We are unable to meet our colleagues, our friends with whom we have our lunches at the college canteen or workplaces. In short, our daily routine has gone to shit. Yes, we can all hail Netflix and Amazon Prime Video and other online video streaming platforms. However, no amount of these platforms or video calls can replace that human touch. This can lead to boredom and empty feeling. There is a possibility that a lot of people will feel lonely and walk into depression.

Anger, Frustration and Irritability:

Photo Of Woman Sitting On Floor

Why is this happening to me? I did not take that trip to Italy for the vacation? Why should I pay for someone else’s carelessness? These are just some questions that have flit through our minds at some point during this lockdown. Therefore, we are vulnerable to negative feelings such as anger, frustration and irritability.

Stigmatization:

Currently, innumerable doctors and other health workers are at the receiving end of threats, anger and frustration. They are abused and thrown out of their homes as they are seen to be ‘dirty’. People from the Northeastern states are also facing similar abuse not only from people but also from law enforcers. Social stigmatization is one of the unfortunate outcomes of pandemics like COVID-19.

So all my dear readers out there, I know this is a tough time for all of us. We are vulnerable to a lot of negativity. So whatever it takes to pull yourself out of the doldrums, do it. Work out, cook, read, support private and government initiatives to help the worst-hit sections of the society, talk to people you have been putting on backburner for a long time etc. The choice is yours!