The Repercussions of Social Distancing
By Erin Rebello
Although social distancing is crucial to slowing the spread of the virus, it’s important to recognize that it does have a multitude of societal repercussions. Humans, by nature, are social beings, and as a result social distancing can take a toll on everyone. Our society is constructed upon the notion that we are meant to work together and cooperate, but with restrictions getting tighter and tighter, the very foundation of our society seems to be collapsing.
One of the major negatives of social distancing is the impacts of a poorer learning experience for students. While some students thrive with online school and are able to successfully complete assignments and meet deadlines, others simply cannot. Some students (myself included) work best when a teacher is available to explain concepts and answer questions, but that simply isn’t the case with current measures. Other students require the physical setting of school to properly focus. Yet other students have individual educational needs and depend on support staff to gain a proper education. The fact is, online school simply isn’t adequate for every student.
Another major negative of social distancing is the mental health repercussions. Many people gain joy from interacting with their friends, but that simply isn’t possible in the same way anymore. Although skype and phone calls can be great alternatives, they certainly don’t replace meeting someone in person. As a result, it’s easy to feel lonely and let negative thoughts creep in. As well, some people come from households that are unsupportive and abusive, and being quarantined with family may take a huge toll on their mental health. If you or a friend you know are in this position, know that there are people who want to help you. If you need someone to talk to you can call Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868, and if you are in immediate crisis, you can call the Canada Suicide Prevension Service at 1-833-456-4566. It’s also important to note that although you may feel fine, your friends might not, so it’s good to check up on them every now and then.
Beyond mental and educational repercussions, social distancing also has repercussions in terms of physical health. With the lockdowns in place, it’s just about impossible to get outside without breaking the rules of social distancing. All parks and gyms are closed, and it really isn’t safe to be in public areas anymore. Although some people have a backyard they can work out in, others live in cramped apartments with no room to stay fit, resulting in a sedentary lifestyle. As well, the current situation is a very stressful time, resulting in some people overconsuming due to stress, aka stress eating. Even for those who aren’t stressed, it’s easy to overeat when you’re bored and have nothing to do, which is the case for a lot of people who are stuck at home. Also, chances are that if you’re overeating, you’re not eating healthy food . A lack of exercise combined with an excess of unhealthy food can result in poor health habits that last for years and cause a multitude of health problems down the line.
Overall, social distancing poses many threats to society as we know it. This protective measure impacts society negatively in terms of mental health, education, and physical health. While it can be fun to stay home and play video games all day, there’s a reason that we don’t practice social distance unless it’s absolutely necessary. That being said, it’s important to follow the lead of governments and epidemiologists and take the laws of social distancing seriously. Although there are many negatives, specialists have made it very clear that the pros outweigh the cons, and that for society to be able to recover from this pandemic, we need to practice safe and proper social distancing.