Pandemic and Social Distancing: Psychological Effects and Remedies

Social distancing - cfamedia

In a bid to prevent further spread of the coronavirus pandemic, social distancing is a common strategy adopted by countries across the world; every gathering, or activities involving close, or personal contacts of people are forbidden.

As a result, academic institutions and religious houses got closed, businesses shut down and movement restricted.

People got left with no other option, than to work remotely from home, if they ever work at all, except for essential services.

Social functions and recreational activities were placed on hold, indefinitely.

The results of the lockdown and social distancing strategies were positive, though, coming with a few challenges.

While infection rates slowed down, there came with it, financial hardship and economic crisis, as individuals, firms and governments struggled to survive.

Taking a critical look at human psychology, it is mere hypocrisy to assume that there are no psychological effects, of the social distancing on the populace, since humans are social beings.

Social interaction has always been a medium for effective communication, child development, self-expression, societal bonding and social development for anybody in the society.

Social distancing: The pros and cons of the Lockdown as it affects individuals psychologically

The period of lockdown for some was a blessing, not minding the financial constraints, however, it did not go too well with others.

For while they try to keep safe from the ravaging pandemic, they have other struggles to contend with, owing to limited social interactions.

All these, whether positive, or otherwise, are psychological effects of the lockdown and social distancing strategies.

The Pros: the lockdown was beneficial in the following ways

A period of rest

It afforded lots of chronic workaholics a period of rest. Annually, there are reports of serious health conditions, like high blood pressure, heart attacks and mental disorder, all traced to fatigue and little rest, as people run around in daily cycles of activities.

The fatigue and stress from getting overworked, or having little rest, affects a lot of people, psychologically, in decision making and relationships, thus, reducing their productive efficiency and effectiveness.

This is responsible for a percentage of mortality, across the globe. The lockdown, did help in bringing about a halt to these cycles, and a little rest, reducing the psychological effects of fatigue.

A time for reunion and bonding of family ties and relationships

Our busy world has left an impact on the family; parents have no time for their children; spouses live in the same house as strangers, all thanks to busy work schedules and preference of the company and of technology, (e.g Phones), to that of humans.

This lack of affection and proper attention has a psychological effect on the family. It is responsible for a lot of divorces, child abuse, drug addiction, etc., across the globe.

The compulsory holiday, in the form of lockdown, however, gave parents, children, family members and couples, an avenue to spend time together. Thanks to this, a lot of tension in relationships are getting calmed.

The Cons: The world behaves like a two-sided coin; when some see a tail, others see ahead.

This is true of the lockdown and the social distancing strategies. Here are a few native psychological effects it had, on persons in the society

Break in human interaction, leading to Depression

The inactivity and inability to relate with people has been responsible for depression in some cases.

Managing pressure and daily challenges can be tasking. Sometimes, people need someone to talk to.

They need to let out the anger, or frustration through work, conversations, or recreational activities.

Social distancing, in this scenario, creates a gap. It will not be a surprise, if a few cases of suicide and depression-related incidences got recorded, during the lockdown.

Likewise, getting separated from daily activities and friends, phones, computers and computer games, now became close companions for some individuals.

Little wonder, such people are likely to be more withdrawn from friends and find themselves, more attached to these things, after than the lockdown.

Social Vices

A popular cliché rightly puts it out that ‘the heart of an idle man, is the devil’s workshop’.

With nothing to do, or due to financial constraints, some people resorted to crime and social vices.

When we do not accept social distancing as a tenable excuse, it could be a significant causative factor.

There have been, for instance, reports of rape, drug addiction, prostitution, robberies, etc., currently hitting the polity.

Remedies to the negative psychological effects of social distancing

We must have it in mind that times like these, are unavoidable.

The pandemic has taught us to adopt other methods of, remotely, carrying out our activities.

Social interaction is not left out. We must learn to connect socially, at all times, through other media, if at all there is a need to be distant, physically.

Featured Image: guardian.ng

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About the author

Damilola Adebesin

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