Two phrases keep getting bounced around the news: Social distancing and self-quarantine.
Both of these can help protect you and your loved ones from the sometimes deadly COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. But what do they REALLY mean? And how can you put these strategies to work?
Each one is basically a way of keeping space around you.
The self-quarantine is the more extreme form. It means almost no contact with anyone else for two weeks because you think you may have been exposed to the virus and don’t want to spread it.
For most people, the social distancing strategy is the one to focus on. It means keeping your distance from others, staying away from crowds, and avoiding any situation where you might be exposed, but without the extreme measures of a quarantine.
And the best way to accomplish that is by staying inside, of course.
3 steps for successful social distancing
Impossible? Not anymore… because with the help of technology, it’s easier than ever to shut yourself in for a few days or weeks – or more – without going crazy.
Step 1 – Get deliveries:
It’s not just for pizza and Chinese food anymore. Your medications, groceries, and more can all be brought right to your door.
In fact, just about ANYTHING you can pick up on a “real world” shopping trip can be delivered these days. And if you’re not taking advantage of these services, while your social distancing is exactly the right time to start.
For meds, check with your healthcare provider, insurer, or whoever fills your prescriptions. You can often make those arrangements online or over the phone. Some may come by mail, others through a special delivery service.
For groceries, check the website for your local supermarkets to see what they offer. Most do. Also, you may be able to order Whole Foods deliveries through Amazon. And third-party companies such as Instacart can often bring groceries and other items from a variety of stores such as Costco.
If you REALLY want to minimize contact, most will also leave your order at your door (and if tipping is an option, you can do that online).
Step 2 – Go digital:
Staying in doesn’t mean what it used to. If you’re not taking full advantage of online chatting, Facebook, etc. consider this an opportunity to learn how to use them.
You can use FaceTime, Skype, and other forms of video chat to keep in touch with friends and loved ones. And Facebook can do more than deliver silly jokes and status updates.
You can use Facebook Live to stream what you’re doing or watch someone else’s live video. (Get creative. You can bake some cookies with the grandkids or catch up with an old friend.) And Facebook Messenger offers video chat as well.
There are even “watch parties” on Facebook, where people watch videos together and comment in real-time. It’s a great way to stay social and avoid cabin fever while you’re stuck inside.
You can also try renting movies online or buying eBooks from Amazon (you don’t need a Kindle to read them; your phone and your computer will work fine).
And if you DON’T want to spend any money, your library likely has many eBooks, audiobooks, and movies available online as well. So get out your library card and visit their website.
Step 3 – DON’T GO:
Whatever it is, just don’t go. Sometimes we feel obliged to go to something because we spent money on tickets to a show or promised a friend we’d come.
But if there’s any time you can justify breaking that promise or eating a $100 ticket, it’s now while we’re all being encouraged to take social distancing seriously.
Nothing is worth risking your life over. Many events are being postponed anyway. So be sure to check the website to see if yours has been moved or canceled.
For more advice on how to plan, prepare and respond to the coronavirus visit the CDC’s resources page.