Social Distancing Fatigue is A Myth

Photo by Anna Shvets on

More and more I have been hearing about social distancing fatigue. Not the real, physical fatigue that comes with the disease, but the people who just want to give up, and pretend that things have gone back to normal*

And that, is an excuse. Its a euphemism designed to make lazy people feel better. And yes, if you are too “tired” of COVID to wear a mask and keep six feet away you are simply lazy. There is nothing else to explain it that holds up to even the barest of scrutiny.

Don’t believe me, lets go over your excuses.

I Miss Socializing/ Going Out With My Friends

We all do. It’s not different for you. Find safe way to do it. Play games online with people (now’s a great time to learn to play a table top RPG or get familiar with online board game websites), learn to video call properly (there are a myriad of apps and tutorials to help you learn your app), set up regular times to make calls with the people you care about. Get involved in an online community with people who have a common interest.

You can get your social needs met without endangering others. You’re just going to have to think a little more creatively than “I go to the bar to get wasted with my friends” or “Lets hang out at X’s house”.

But I Need My Kids To Go Back To School

Do you really? Or do you just not want to spend the time with them. Now, if you’ve read this site at all, you know that I am not personally a parent. But this is largely irrelevant to my argument. You might be wondering why that is?

Because I don’t need to be a parent to observe parents. I’ve seen your colleagues in many other countries do this without the fuss. I’ve observed the parents of the 1.5 million estimated pre-pandemic home schooled kids doing this without complaint. And lets not forget that public schooling is only an invention of the modern industrial era. Historically children did learn at home or in small community schools.**

If your issue is work related, maybe its time to talk about changing the laws around employment during a pandemic on a larger scale. Go start that conversation, band together with other parents and advocate for your needs without trying to throw public school teachers out as your sacrificial pandemic lambs.

But Kids Need The Social-Emotional Part of In School

Yes, they do, But not more than adults need to live.

Kids are very flexible and you can help them through this with the same strategies you are going to use for yourself. Help them learn to adapt to these circumstances and get their needs met safely.

But ostensibly, if you have a kid you know that it is near impossible to get them to stay in one place for 8 hours, let alone keep on masks and wash their hands regularly. If you can’t do it with one (or insert your number of kids here) why do you think schools can do it with hundreds at the same time.

Also, have you seen a pubic schools layout. The hallways alone make social distancing next to impossible.

Eating in A Restaurant is Something I ‘Have’ to do To Celebrate/Date/ Add Internal Excuse Event #3 Here

Seriously, do I even need to explain this one to you? No, you don’t need to do those things to celebrate. Again, you may have to engage with some creativity and adjust your expectations for the short term in order to get past a major world event.

Sorry if your special event falls during this period. I really, truly am. I (and millions of people) have had a quarantine birthday. It wasn’t as fun as a normal year***. And it can sucks, but celebrations can be postponed or again, you can engage with virtual/properly socially distanced events.

But I’m Feeling Anxious/Depressed and I Just Need to Feel Normal Again

Understandable, but maybe instead of trying to get back to normal its time to get help for how you are feeling.

Break down what normal is to you. Is normal feeling close to friends and family? Is normal being able to walk through the grocery store without having to monitor the presence of others around us to feel safe? Figure out what normal means for you, and then get creative looking for solutions that will help you get the feeling of normal without having to pretend the challenges of COVID do not exist.

You can work towards a feeling of normal without having to force things to be what they were before.

If you are in need of help, and you can get access to a professional, great. They can be very helpful. There are therapists (you may have to wait a bit to get an appointment depending on where you live) apps and subscription services to help you out if you need to work from your phone/tablet/computer on your own schedule, community organizations and support groups meeting regularly in virtual spaces. Just be sure to work with reputable community organizations. Do research to be safe rather than sorry.****

So think on it folks. Ultimately, we all have to be responsible to ourselves and take the time to do the extra work needed to get through this without adding to everyone’s risk or going mad in the process. Balance is possible, but only if we ditch the excuses, be honest about our needs and find new ways to meet them.

*Assuming you’re not one of the world class idiots who never thought that these rules apply to you. If you are, here are some notes. 1 – The rules do apply to you. 2- You’re a selfish.

** Please note that I am not knocking public education. It is an amazing innovation of the modern era, but it is one that does not need to be physically opened in order for kids to get the benefit of it. Virtual learning is much better than killing hundreds of thousands of people.

***Trivia Murder Party was very fun, as was meeting up and doing fireworks (sparklers and fountain fireworks along with a custom aerial display thanks to time travel to a Sunday night and the custom editor. And you could do things like that too.

**** I don’t want to make specific recommendations because I’m not a mental health professional. But there are lots of great lists online vetted by professionals in those areas.

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