The Happiness Connection  

Keep your social distance

I remember a neighbour’s 12-year-old daughter declaring that she had a boyfriend. That wasn’t unusual, but finding out she had never met this boy was.

I was dismissive and somewhat judgmental of her use of the word boyfriend.

This was about 20 years ago, when society was only beginning its trip into a new world of technology. I didn’t realize it then, but this was my first glimpse at what was to come.

I belong to online groups through social media. I have connected with people I’ve never met in person. In fact, the retreat I was supposed to be at this month was going to give me the opportunity to finally meet in person some people I had known for a few years online.

The debate over online vs. in-person relationships continues to rage. It is a topic that comes up almost every time I work with teachers or parents. Connecting with others is a great way to boost your mood.

Can this be done as effectively if the connection is virtual?

I’m not here to continue that debate. It was just one of the thoughts that came into my head when I listened to an interview on the radio. They were discussing social distancing.

This isn’t a term that I was familiar with until recently. We are being urged to practise social distancing to slow down the spread of COVID19.

What is social distancing? This is the term being used to describe the recommended steps everyone can take to slow down the spread of this virus. 

In other words, socialize and connect from a distance. The recommended distance is six feet.

That doesn’t mean you have to become a hermit or sacrifice your quality of life. You just need to pivot a little.

  • Rather than shaking hands or hugging when you meet, wave.
  • Order groceries online and have them delivered.
  • Use delivery services instead of going to a restaurant.
  • Boost your mood and stay fit by spending time in nature.
  • Avoid public transport if possible. If you can’t, take your hand sanitizer with you and try to avoid busy times.

For generation X and millennials, social distancing may cause disappointment, but is unlikely to pose social problems. Many of them have been practising their whole lives for a situation like this.

It’s the people who grew up in a time before this technology and then resisted it when it arrived, who will struggle the most. 

When retirement homes implement social distancing by cancelling weekly events, it is easy for their residents to get lonely. 

If you have elderly family or friends who are experiencing social distancing, think about giving them a little more attention. They may not have a computer, but I’m sure they all have phones. 

Reach out and connect with someone who might be finding this time of isolation challenging. Acts of kindness benefit the giver just as much as the receiver. 

You may have been practising social distancing for much of your life. This is the perfect time to use it for the good of others. 

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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