What Social Distancing Has Taught Me

There’s a silver lining to any kind of challenge or adversity. Change as we transition through it can teach us all kinds of things. Even a change that is thrust upon us with out a choice in the matter like state focused shelter at home protocols. Social distancing has helped me understand spaces.

There is all kinds of spacing. Physical is the one that we would probably most identify with right now. I also learned about mental spaces that social distancing helped me look at differently. There’s an overall sense of “space” that I am self-aware of now that I wasn’t even close to being self-aware of before.

For example, I find myself driving in my car giving others the distance between my car to theirs. Before this all took place I was probably riding some bumpers. For some reason I was in a hurry every time I got out of the house, into my car. So much so, I was either trying to move around someone’s car as I was traveling about or hoping they went faster because I was riding their bumper. Now, I use the same social distancing behaviors in my car to give them proper distancing from their car to mine. Giving someone physical space isn’t something I just apply in person behaviorally or socially, it’s following me in practice everywhere I go. Even in my car!

When I am in a social setting I find myself not only giving them social space of 2 meters (6’ distance) but a space to share what they would like like to day. I pause more to listen actively. I give them the space to share their thoughts with out interrupting them. Previously, I might have been listening more to respond. You could say we all have better listening skills because talking through a mask is not easy to project your voice through. When it is hard to hear someone speak, you lean in more to listen for every word. You pause to give their voice space. You give them the distance to share.

The last silver lining that I would like to share is the amount of space I’ve learned to give back to myself. Sometimes we don’t give ourselves enough distance from others. We over use or over think how much social interaction we need. It’s okay to be social distancing or quarantining yourself for a mental break too. Getting some time to be distant from others, creating space to think on your own, is a benefit that I now will ensure I incorporate into each week. I forgot how beneficial being isolated can be for my creative work. How recharging it can be for my health. The benefits to mental well-being are huge.

What has social distancing taught you? Look deep. There are some really great silver linings or lessons we can take from this really terrible situation. It can teach us valuable information about ourselves or behaviors. We can evolve from adversity. We can reboot. We can come back stronger because of the challenge working from a distance presents.

Hope you’re having a great week as we head into another weekend. Stay safe. Stay healthy. Keep that distance. Learn from it what you can while we’re here being forced in some locations to do it. New normals are great things. We’re all in this together. Thanks for reading!

✌🏻 Shawn

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