The term “social distancing” has become a regular in all of our vocabulary.  From reminders on the news,  social media to signs in stores, it’s a fixture in all of our day to day lives. However, the World Health Organization and other health experts prefer that we stopped calling the practice "social distancing."    Instead, they're opting for the term "physical distancing."  The reason behind this shift? The term "social distancing" can imply a sense of disconnection from loved ones. Something that many Americans are really feeling as the stay at home order is extended in many places. Being physically isolated from others can take a toll on mental health, the World Health Organization wants to emphasize how critical it is for people to stay socially connected.
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      While it is important to stay physically distant, staying socially connected is equally important.   It is crucial that we all take the time to care for not only our physical, but also our mental health. And for many, social interactions are crucial to maintaining their mental health.  It is very important to stay in touch with friends and family that don’t live in your home. Call, video chat, or stay connected using social media. We can also try to replicate in-person gatherings and interactions with technologies such as FaceTime, Duo, Zoom or even the new Houseparty App. By naming the national strategy as physical distancing rather than social distancing, we emphasize the need for human connection, and we can stay safe from the virus but also hold onto the heightened need we all have for one another right now. Caring for relationships with others and reaching out to individuals who may be isolated may be essential to surviving this pandemic.  Best, Dr. Nina

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