We have adopted the language of “social distancing” and yet is this really the right description?
At a time when the need to isolate is causing great angst amongst many and a continued focus on impact to mental health, this description surely is inappropriate. What we are being asked to do is to ensure appropriate physical distance between us all to protect our family, friends, colleagues and ourselves against infection from this virus. So, we should start talking about “Physical Distancing” instead.
Equally, it is going to be increasingly important for us to focus on how we do “socialise” in our new and increasingly physically isolated existence. As someone who has been working from home now for many years, someone accustomed to travelling extensively and being away from home, I am quite used to connecting with my colleagues and my family and friends over video calls and social media. For many people, this is a new experience and one that they are having to navigate day to day.
Schools are closed and parents are struggling to make sense of how to keep children occupied at home. There are hints and tips popping up all over the internet and initiatives from virtual choirs, to online drawing lessons. It’s heartening to see!
Across our IACCM Team we have a number of parents, located all over the world, with young families similarly grappling now with how to manage and juggle the even more intense competing interests of family and work. They know that they are fully supported, and we will get through this time together. One of the fabulous initiatives that they have instigated for their children is a modern-day version of Pen Pals – IACCM children all over the world will be connecting over Teams and chatting about their day, sharing their experiences, having fun and socialising in spite of the physical distance between them!
Just this week, one of my very favourite people, someone I have had the privilege to meet through my role at IACCM, after responding to a question I had posed to him concluded his email with the following words:
“If this goes on for as long as some think then at some point, I suggest you and I grab a coffee or glass of wine (depending on the time of day!) over Facetime or Skype – sound like a plan?”
It is very definitely a plan! So, Physical Distancing, Yes. And virtual socialising is very much continuing, offering exciting new connections and ways to connect!