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Social Distance vs. Physical Distance

Social Distance vs. Physical Distance

As we tread through the unknown waters of the COVID-19 pandemic, let us not forget to stay close to family and friends. As a nation, we have been covering our mouths, washing our hands, and practicing “social distancing” mechanisms to curve the spread of the virus, but we have not outlined the unforeseen impacts of social distancing on our mental health. According to Medline Plus, health professionals are shifting from using the term “social distancing” and have geared their focus towards “physical distancing” instead. Medline Plus declares social distancing as the act of staying at least six feet away from people that do not reside in a person’s immediate household. Although this term has been widely used, it may be sending the wrong message and contributing to social isolation. By living in isolation and not attending social gatherings, strains on mental health continue to affect many within the United States. Instead of socially separating yourself from your loved ones, use tools like Zoom, Facebook, Google Duo, and Facetime to stay connected and in contact with one another. This can help improve your mental health and relieve the symptoms of stress and anxiety associated with the pandemic. Staying connected virtually or physically distancing when you are in the presence of another person are extremely safe and vital ways you can practice to slow the spread of COVID-19. Remember not to gather in large groups, including extended family dinners, play dates and other larger occasions. Please refer below for ways you can stay responsibly connected to your family and friends:

  • Video chats and phone calls with friends and family.
  • Hiking while keeping your distance of at least 6 feet between people.
  • Game night with everyone you live with (if they aren’t sick).
  • Virtual movie night with your family and friends (video chat or text while watching the same movie in your own homes or rooms.)
  • Exercise/yoga/mindfulness videos online to be physically active in the comfort of your own residence.
  • Video games that allow you to connect with people around the world.

According to Medline Plus, here are guidelines you can follow to ensure you are properly practicing “physical distancing” techniques to safely stay connected to others.

  • Limit your time in public.
  • Keep your distance- always maintain six feet away from others.
  • Bring hand sanitizer.
  • Wash your hands whenever possible.
  • Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough.

If you would like to learn more about how you can keep your mind healthy during this pandemic, please attend Minds Matter Harrisburg weekend!

Register today for Minds Matter Harrisburg Virtual Event in partnership with The Dauphin County Library

Register at

Latifah McMullen

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