Some days it can feel like every mouth and nose is a loaded weapon.
One cough… one sneeze… and KABOOM. Viral shrapnel in every direction.
But the most alarming part of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is that it can also be spread in much subtler ways, including singing, shouting, talking, and even BREATHING. Plus, in some cases, it can be passed along from people who don’t seem sick.
We can avoid shouting and maybe even talking. But breathing? Well, let’s just say that’s a much tougher one to pull off.
But all that social distancing has led to a different kind of “pandemic.” Across the globe, folks are fighting a pandemic of loneliness as people avoid each other in the name of keeping healthy.
But a new report shows how you may be able to get the best of both worlds.
You could start to spend more time with those close to you. Even seeing friends and loved ones in person in SOME cases. And still, cut your risk of infection at the same time.
Some activities are riskier than others
If you’re missing that contact with others… if you’re grouchy and frustrated that you can’t get out… you’re not alone. So many people are suffering from the same thing that it’s even been given a name, quarantine fatigue.
Experts at Harvard say quarantine fatigue is very real. But those same experts say there are ways to safely break the lockdown loneliness – within local coronavirus rules, of course – and end the fatigue.
First, they point out the obvious. The only truly “safe” activity right now is to stay inside, keeping to your own household members.
On the flip side, the most dangerous activity is being indoors in a crowded room. That means parties, restaurants, pubs, trips to the theater, and many other “social” activities we used to enjoy so much are still off-limits for now.
But those same scientists say there’s another option. It’s an alternative that’s not quite as extreme as staying locked up inside.
It gives you a little more leeway and a chance to see loved ones and say goodbye to loneliness. Even if it IS still staying six feet apart.
Beat coronavirus loneliness using this Harvard trick
Harvard talks about a “spectrum” of risk. That means being aware of what increases your risk of exposure and infection, and taking steps to minimize it.
If you’re in an area with limited or no coronavirus activity and no shelter in place orders, you can probably meet a friend and chat. But you should still wear a mask. And you probably should stay six feet apart too.
The Harvard team suggests trying to socialize outdoors, such as in a park and walking as you talk. That will be much safer than sitting together in a restaurant or coffee shop. It will cut your COVID-19 risk even further, AND it’s good exercise, too.
Finally, remember these steps mean you can LOWER your risks as you get back out and spend a little more time with others to curb the loneliness. But they DON’T mean NO risk.
So if you’re in a special category… if you have a compromised immune system or other conditions that make it more likely you’ll get sick and face worse outcomes… it might still be best to stay home for now. In that case, frequent phone and video chats can help beat the blues as you wait for a little longer.