Why Should Social Distancing Have to Suck?

Written By Mariann Kukielka, Co-Founder & VP of Operations @ 3DEN

Sheltering in place sucks. 4 month overgrown hair sucks. Racism sucks. Deadly, global pandemics suck. But what shouldn’t suck is social distancing. As every person on this planet has faced some type of adversity throughout 2020, now is the time where each of us are focused on one thing - moving forward. Whatever it is that we’re stepping into, navigating going back to work or working on social justice activism, we’ll have to do that amidst continued social distancing requirements. For those of you who turned off your connection to the internet and social media to preserve your sanity over the past 4 months, social distancing is the term that’s been used to describe any measure being taken to prevent close, physical interactions between humans to slow the spread of the world’s common enemy, COVID-19. This includes requiring everyone to wear a mask, preventing people from standing too close to someone at the grocery store, and restricting occupancy in certain businesses as they reopen. However, the term “social distancing” received some flak at first. As everyone began to shelter in place, there was a rising sentiment as the days went on where we craved human interaction with people outside of our household. Many have taken advantage of the extra hours at home to reconnect with friends via technology platforms like Zoom, allowing people to be even more socially connected than they were during their regular lives.

Now that doors are opening back up and restaurants and bars will soon allow people to dine-in, we will have to continue social distancing regulations although our lives are going back to being social IRL. With the reality of a new normal as cities keep social distancing measures to prevent a second wave of the coronavirus, we will have to jump back into outside-life donning summer’s hottest accessory, a small piece of cloth with two strings, and no, I’m not talking about a string bikini. Among a society clad in face masks, we ask ourselves ‘why should social distancing have to suck?’ Below are a few ways to enjoy the real world again even while social distancing.

What Did You Say?!

  • In a city with over 16,000 licensed bars, it’s still annoyingly common to be at an overcrowded bar in New York City. With new occupancy limitations on bars and restaurants, establishments won’t get overcrowded and outdoor seating will be expanded which can help your social engagements actually be more social. There’ll be less shouting over the buzz of roaring patrons and blaring music which will allow you to have more quality interactions while out supporting your local F&B businesses and basking in patio brunches.

Get the F@?% Out

  • Remember when we started the quarantine in March? Yeah, that gloomy-rain-weather-stuck-inside life got real annoying, real fast. Outside there’s endless space to share nature with others, while safely staying 6 feet apart. Go to a park, sit on your stoop, walk your dog with a friend while wearing a mask. Even Manhattanites who are stacked on top of each other in this city have space in Central Park or in bike lanes to stretch our legs and enjoy the sun while being able to steer clear of strangers. Get outdoors, summer is the perfect time to enjoy social distancing.

Hang Ten… or Twenty

  • Everyone lives their own type of busy lives, whether you’re a social butterfly flitting from happy hour to happy birthday celebration or a dutiful daughter constantly driving to the burbs to visit your dear mama. The events of 2020 taught us how to be efficient with our time socializing (not by choice but because we’re all staying home) and this way of hanging has become the new normal. Instead of spending time commuting to a meet up after work or putting on extra makeup to impress an old college friend you haven’t seen in years, it’s now completely acceptable to schedule a FaceTime which frees up your time on the calendar. It’s a good time to up your networking game by reaching out to those in different cities or states, especially that friend from your PoliSci class that went on to be a defense lawyer (you never know when that’ll come in handy).

Just Do You

  • Quarantine was overwhelming. Not just from the feeling of being shut in your home but by the pressure of now having so much time. A little too much. Memes were immediately floating around about the Netflix and sweatpants way of life while social media was flooded with videos of push-up challenges and elaborate superfood recipes. All while wondering how we’d get through the day without diving mouth first into a pint (or half gallon) of Ben & Jerry’s Salted Caramel Core. Now the hysteria is over and people have adjusted to the social distancing life, we can breathe a bit and not feel like we have to emerge from quarantine looking like an Instagram Fitfluencer. With more time in your schedule, you should feel empowered to do exactly what you want with that time to feel your best. Meditate, brush up on your French (DuoLingo is free), rewatch The Office, start a knitting hobby, buy some house plants, read a book on being more present (Suggestion: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle), make fresh-squeezed kale ginger juice, eat a whole pack of Oreos (Double Stuf all the way), take a bubble bath, clean your tub, or lay in complete silence while your partner has your kids at the park. Show yourself some love and make time to do what you want that brings you joy. Even if you’re physically going back to work, take a few minutes each day and on the weekends to do things for YOU. Not because you feel pressured to show everyone on Instagram that you worked out (for the first time in 4 months) but because life is short, global pandemics happen, and we have to make the most of every minute we have.

As you grab your hand sanitizer the next time you head out the door and find yourself dreading your trip to the grocery store, remember that you’re walking into a world of fellow humans that are also figuring out the new parameters of society so have patience and focus on making the best of it. When your mind slips into thinking “this sucks”, just stroll down the block, grab a to-go cocktail, and sip it under the sun with the straw and a smile under your mask.