LOS ANGELES—Have you ever just sat there and wondered about whether or not being in quarantine is really supportive to your health? Well, in some ways, yes, but in others no. Believe it or not, you may not even notice the lack of crucial aspects of life during the bumpy road of this pandemic.
Quarantine is essential to your health, but it’s also important to know how to prevent loneliness through distance socializing. According to the Washington Post, although social distancing is an effective method to stay safe and healthy, it can still have a negative impact on your life.
Now that we are in quarantine, we can’t physically interact with our family and friends. This impairs and limits our level of bonding with others and can lead to boredom or hopelessness. According to an article published in Thorax, researchers Feifei Bu, Keir Philip and Daisy Fancourt found that, after surveying over 4000 patients, social distancing and quarantine can cause loneliness which, in turn, can cause respiratory health issues. Studies show that people who live alone have a 32 percent higher risk of having respiratory problems than people who live with family members. Years of research from psychologists show that loneliness can weaken the immune system and cause other health issues.
As all this quarantine stress has built up over time, our desire to explore the world strengthens. Right when we can’t take it anymore and are finally about to explode, we remember with a grudge: “Quarantine and social distancing has limitations on where we can go and what we can do,” notes my brother Jonah.
This transition of going from our busy lives to stopping it all and staying in quarantine has been extremely frustrating and hard to adapt to, as humans can’t survive without social interaction. “It’s like solitary confinement,” states Farhad Houriani MD. “I’m more depressed about the faith of humanity and survival of the human race.”
COVID-19 has been an extremely devastating misfortune to nearly everyone around the globe. The whole world has enforced social distancing and quarantine orders for the sake of their communities’ health and safety. However, all these rules and laws are driving us crazy! So how can we reach out to friends and family while also staying safe? That’s why we need to be involved in more social interactions with others, even if it’s through an online platform such as Zoom.
According to the Washington Post, social connection can strengthen the immune system. Staying connected with others can support your body’s health physically and mentally by making you feel safe and cared for and so that bodies stay calm in stressful situations. According to Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University, social people are 50 percent less likely to die than unsocial beings. On the other hand, unsocial beings were 29 percent more likely to die than social beings. This shows that being social and interactive with others is very crucial to your health and can affect the U.S. mortality rate. Social distancing is physically isolating yourself from others, not mentally. This means that during this pandemic we can still be socially connected to others, despite the fact that we are physically separated from them.
Naomi Eisenberger, a neuroscientist, told the Washington Post that humans have evolved as social creatures. We feel safe around our family and friends because we’ll always be cared for. Just a little phone call to family and friends, or looking at a picture of a loved one could lift that person’s spirits and help them be socially connected with others. In a Genome Biology study, social interaction with others will assist the immune system in fighting off germs, viruses, and diseases.
According to the Harvard Women’s Health Watch, “Dozens of studies have shown that people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends and their community are happier, have fewer health problems and live longer.” Social interaction is essential to survival. Holt-Lunstad says, “Social connection is powerful, and helping others could help us get through the pandemic.”
And Now, A Twist!
Although most people think of quarantine and social distancing as a horrible time, others take this opportunity to make the best of it as possible. “I really enjoy spending quality time with my family, whether it’s going for walks in the neighborhood or having time to eat weekend breakfasts with the family. I will never forget this amazing experience that we had together,” says Houriani.
I, myself, have been creating a productive and memorable experience for my family by motivating them to spend more quality time with each other. For example, because quarantine has negatively affected most people’s daily exercise routine, I choose to go on more walks and jogs around the neighborhood with my family. This improved my fitness and most importantly, strengthened my bonds with family members.
Unfortunately, my dad slowly went back to work and, before I even knew it, his routine was back to normal. However, I still appreciate all the opportunities I took to make quarantine a much more memorable experience spent with my family. So, if you’re just sitting at home watching T.V., then I suggest you spend more time with your family exploring nature and reaching out to friends because you never know what could happen these days!