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Social Distancing

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It’s hard to believe that a month ago we were cheerfully celebrating Valentine’s Day and President’s Day weekend, barely 2 months into a brand new decade, which offered such hope and promise. Many of us were on winter break or taking advantage of a long weekend with family and friends, doing our best to get through the long stretch of winter months between the holidays and Spring Break. Yet only a few weeks later, we’ve been thrust into a new reality - unprecedented territory. Most of us in the U.S. - along with many other countries around the world - are now living in isolation to protect not only ourselves, but the community at large. We’ve been advised to isolate ourselves, avoid large groups and of course to practice good hygiene. We now find ourselves sequestered from our friends, schools, social and sporting events, etc. Yet, if you think about it, to a large extent, we have already been engaged in a form of ‘Social Distancing’. The majority of us prior to the Coronavirus were plugged into our devices on a daily basis. We didn’t make phone calls, let alone pick up the phone. Instead we opted to text, email and chat. Last month, our 1st grade Mom’s Night was cancelled, most likely because people forget the need to be social and to make time to be with each other. We get so caught up in our hectic schedules that we put off plans for another time.

However, now that the World Health Organization, Center for Disease Control and health professional around the world are imploring us to practice social distancing, it’s more apparent than ever, that what we want and crave is human interaction. When personal interaction suddenly becomes prohibitive, we quickly realize how vital it is to our existence. Social media is teeming with posts and comments about acting responsibly and for the welfare of others. People have begun to step outside of their own issues and life stressors to think of our immediate and distant neighbors. This may actually be the silver lining to this crazy, unimaginable period in time. We are experiencing this together on a global level, which connects us in a deeper way.

This is a time for us embrace being together with our families and to be grateful for what we have. It’s a time to reconnect and to remember what’s really important. Life’s hectic flow has been curbed, and as much as I miss the day-to-day schedule and wish “things were back to normal”, we have to accept where we are and get through this together by being responsible and sending goodwill to each other.

It’s been touching to see the many ways that people are reaching out to each other, checking in, sending messages and actually making phone calls. And of course the beautiful, viral videos of Italians, who have been sequestered in apartments buildings, singing to each other across alleyways to connect with their neighbors, their fellow countrymen. The other day I saw a Facebook post that read - Your grandparents were asked to go to war, you’re just being asked to sit on your couch and wait it out. That is all we are being asked to do, and so we should. So as you sit with your family in these trying times, here are some ways for your and your kids to connect during a time when we need it most:

- Write letters to friends – yes, good old-fashioned letters

- FaceTime and Skype with friends, family

- Make photo books to share with family and friends

- Try a new recipe

- Play family soccer, basketball, etc.

- Publish a book online or DIY

- Pitch a tent and roast marshmallows over mini candles

- Game Night

- Start a jigsaw puzzle

- Send video messages to family and friends

- Start a gratitude journal

- Walk or hike together

Sending you all love and wishes for good health!

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