Description: No matter how you spent the past year I suspect that it was different than the previous 5, 10, or many many more years and that the biggest difference was the nature and extent of your social contacts. Perhaps you got really good at zoom (despite the force personal appearance fixations it can produce); perhaps you spent a lot of time chatting with friends in open spaces at a distance or, more likely on-line using social media; perhaps you ignored the heath guidelines and socialized however you wanted (I hope not); perhaps you enjoyed your solitude; or perhaps you struggled with depression and anxiety related to your isolation. One way or another (well or not so well) you adapted. But think about the term “social distancing” which has been used a lot over the past year and while, yes, it meant keep your distance (6 feet or 2 meters) from others it is also worth reflecting on that 6 feet is NOT a comfortable social distance for social “face-to-face interaction, except, perhaps, in situations where we are concerned that the other person might attach us. Generally, we adapted to the new reality brough on by Covid-related health guidelines. Some of that adaptation was conscious but a lot of it was unconscious (leading to the jumps in anxiety and depression). Now, with vaccination rates ramping up, we are beginning to be able to at least contemplate a return to ….. to what? To normal? How will that go? Well just as we adapted more or less well to our Covid reality we will now adapt more or less well to out new, hopefully post-Covid, reality. We typically do not pay a lot of attention to the nuances and subtleties of in person social interaction but think you a moment about what it will be like to adapt back to a post-covid social reality. What will be easy? What will be hard? What will not pay attention to in our adaptive shift that we perhaps should if we would like to adapt well as opposed to not so well. Once you have your hypotheses in order have a read through the linked article to see if your speculations overlap with those of the author and those shown in research studies.
Source: How will we face the world again? Linda Besner, The Globe and Mail.
Date: March 14, 2021
So, what do you think? I hope that the thrill of perhaps getting back to something like a state of normality is not dulled by the idea that there will be adaptations required as we move towards that desired future state. Adaptation or actually, social adaptation, is simply a part of the reality of human experience, albeit one that perhaps we do not think about as much as we could or should. Perhaps now, as we are only just contemplating the upcoming adaptive shift, is a good time to think a bit about how it is going to go or about what we might do to help ourselves see, understand, and more effectively negotiate the social adaptations it will require of us. If we do, celebrating the taming of Covid will be easier and more fun!
Questions for Discussion:
- What ways have you socially adapted (well or not so well) over the past year?
- How do you think your adaptation to a post-covid world will go?
- What sorts of things should we anticipate and perhaps work on preparing people for as well all adapt to a post-covid social world?
References (Read Further):
Kwon, J., Grady, C., Feliciano, J. T., & Fodeh, S. J. (2020). Defining facets of social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic: twitter analysis. Journal of biomedical informatics, 111, 103601. Link
Marroquín, B., Vine, V., & Morgan, R. (2020). Mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic: Effects of stay-at-home policies, social distancing behavior, and social resources. Psychiatry research, 293, 113419. Link
Tesar, M. (2020). Towards a post-Covid-19 ‘new normality?’: Physical and social distancing, the move to online and higher education. Link
Paremoer, L., Nandi, S., Serag, H., & Baum, F. (2021). Covid-19 pandemic and the social determinants of health. bmj, 372. Link
Akesson, J., Ashworth-Hayes, S., Hahn, R., Metcalfe, R. D., & Rasooly, I. (2020). Fatalism, beliefs, and behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic (No. w27245). National Bureau of Economic Research. Link
Saltzman, L. Y., Hansel, T. C., & Bordnick, P. S. (2020). Loneliness, isolation, and social support factors in post-COVID-19 mental health. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. Link
Florida, R., Rodriguez-Pose, A., & Storper, M. (2020). Cities in a post-covid world. Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG), 2041. Link