Isolation – Lock-down And Our Sanity
Recently we have been seeing a plethora of FB posts lamenting the isolation that we are all (many of us anyway) feeling due to the lock-down provisions of our local Governments in an attempt to slow the growth in the number of infected persons, and deaths due to the Corona Virus. COVID-19.
I wrote a while ago about how we should call the situation physical rather than social distancing so as to avoid these mental gymnastics. (By the way some week or so after I wrote that article – the mainstream press started calling for this change in nomenclature as well. I was ahead of this particular curve).
The issue with passing on the illness is physical proximity. The virus passes through the air or via surfaces. Social distancing is not required and is, in fact, very damaging. We, as humans NEED to interact with others. It is very important.
I wonder if the use of this terminology is the basis of the almost desperate clamouring about going ‘batshit’ crazy that we are now hearing all over the world.
Social Isolation leads to Loneliness
Let me say it again. We should NOT be isolating ourselves socially. In any way, shape or form. It is dangerous. It is not good for our physical or mental health.
We are extremely lucky in this day to have electronic means of communication available to us. During the wars (I and II) when isolation was practised in a different manner and for somewhat different reasons – there was nothing. We had ration books for food and other necessary shopping items partly because of panic buying, but more because manufacture was restricted to stuff for the war effort.
But if we stayed at home, we had only our immediate family to comfort us. Unless we were herded off to bomb shelters, and this had its own set of issues.
Today we have mobile phones with cameras, text, movie, photograph and internet connections. We have social media applications on our phones and on our computers. (Oh yes – no computers back in the war years). We have TV and radio to keep us entertained. We have real books and electronic books.
Repair The Gate
The other day I read a little story about how the gentlemen amongst us have been saying for years to our significant other, that we will repair the gate, mow the lawn, build the pergola etc when they have time. Well now my friends since you are unable to go to work or the pub, you have NOTHING but time. SO off you go.
What I am saying here is there is no need for crazy behaviours. We have many tasks to do which we have been stacking up. These can now be tackled.
We have a huge number of social activities available to us that do not require physical proximity.
Just one to mention. I have been compiling a gig guide for my local community for some year or so now. This has been a listing all of the musical events that have been happening around the town. It had daily updates and covered the current week and several months into the future.
This has all stopped. We can’t go out.
BUT. There are a lot of musical people here that can’t be held back. They are either getting together as family groups (allowable if they all live under the same roof) or meeting via ZOOM, SKYPE or other electronic meeting applications and playing music for those of us to partake of as audiences.
There is one chap here in my home town, who gives a live (Facebook) guitar concert (gig) each night at 9.30pm Melbourne Australia time for anyone who wants to listen. dave stevens
His house-mate bangs on a box drum to add to the ambience. They are awesome. Thanks guys.
So you see, we are still able to get together to perform and to listen to music, and using PayPal or other money transfer applications either on the phone or the computer, these people are able to ask for and receive $$$’s for their efforts.
In fact music lessons (in a virtual classroom) are happening as well. And these are generating income for the teachers – in some cases more than they earned pre COVID-19. Off the top of my head I can think of two instances of this teaching thing right here in my small hometown, And there are plenty of gigs or concerts as well. Virtually that is. How cool is that?
There are SOOOO many ways we can do stuff in these drastic times if we only use our imaginations and to use a cliché – think outside the box.
One older chap in my town is chopping trees that have blown over on his farm into bite sized chunks of firewood and delivering them FREE to older citizens (making sure to adhere to the physical proximity limitations), stacking them and coming away knowing he has helped others enormously, knowing he has made a valuable use of his time, and knowing that his physical and mental health has been improved immeasurably. A win-win-win really.
Does he feel crazy? I reckon not.
In fact, I think if you really came down to it you might need a day or two just to make a list of the things you can do to alleviate the boredom you seem to be suffering. I mean this is just the list. Before you start to do anything.
The other night I spent 1 hour 23 minutes chatting to an old girlfriend. I think she was my first. Girlfriend that is. I hadn’t seen or heard from her for more than 50 years, but my musical connections and my radio show got me to thinking about her. I spent some time (on social media - nice little task all by itself) researching her and low and behold she finally sent me a FB message and we exchanged phone numbers. After that we chewed the fat. On the phone. She in one city and I in another some 700km apart. Plenty of physical distancing there. But ZERO in the social distance sphere. Old times were rehashed. Lots of stuff I remembered. Much I didn’t. It was lovely. And this can continue into the future. Thank you COVID-19.
If we sit around expecting the world to provide us with everything we need – that is not going to happen. We need to take action. We need to avoid victim thinking.
While we are on the subject of taking action, something else has rocked me. Over the last few weeks many people have complained on social media on TV and the radio and in newspapers about the apparent lack of direction from the Government re schools and businesses being open in spite of general lock-down procedures.
Many have lamented the lack of leadership, in our country. Their failure is to realise that not frequenting businesses outside the home, not sending kids to schools and many of the other things being complained about, were ALL under their own control. Surely I don’t need, as a parent, to wait for a directive to keep my kids from school if I genuinely believe they will be at risk if they attend? I mean, come on. How ridiculous is that? I made decisions about my children myself. Their safety was my only concern. Of course that sometimes meant compliance but not waiting for someone else to take action. That was down to me.
What Can We Do?
Finally let’s have a very quick look at some things we might do or think about doing in these strange times to make use of these few hours every day that we have available.
Apart from chores as mentioned earlier, which we may not like, but which are required anyway, here are some (and only a very few) ideas. You’ll notice, I haven’t included things like organising your CD or book collections as these can possibly be considered chores if you had thought of them before. Anyway the ideas.
Sleep, rest, relax, read, write, think, watch TV, listen to the radio, research (ancestry.com for example), watch webinars or podcasts, teach classes, learn, read/write blogs, help others (volunteer), minimise, garden, plan your NEW bucket list for when restrictions lift (travel for example), plan for new things to do, talk, socialise, shop online, paint, draw, take photographs, many different arty and craft things, visit virtual art galleries, listen to virtual concerts worldwide via your phone or computer, invent stuff, join and participate in online groups where you have an interest or even a passion for the topics being discussed.
I mean, it goes on and on.
Perhaps you can add to this for us?
There’s your challenge. Takes imagination, but you can do it. Add to the list of things to do, that will mitigate loneliness and add value to your locked-down life.