Social Distancing Decisions and Questions to Consider

What a crazy world we are living in right now. We are constantly needing to make decisions around what is okay and not okay to do. Who we can see. Who should we not see? Or maybe it’s best to see no one! So many decisions. We are needing to measure how far away we are from the people around us. Some offices are even measuring your temperature when you go inside. Signs everywhere to wear masks. Of course, we need these precautions, no doubt. But…  I’m honestly still trying to digest this concept and make sense of it all. And it’s been a couple months already! 

As parents we are also constantly thinking about what is best for our children. Should they see their friends? Should they just be at home? Is some time at the beach okay if we are super careful? The problem is that everyone has a different idea of what is okay. And what’s not. This can feel overwhelming for many of us, because we often want the certainty that we are doing the right thing. But what if there is no clear answer on a lot of this. Just a series of decisions that you need to make.

woman sitting on the dining table and working on laptop

Maybe your decisions around social distancing looks like this: 

Saturday rolls around and you ask yourself “what am I going to do with my kids today?” You know that you can’t just keep them at home. A few different ideas are coming up for you. Some of them are feeling safer and others are less so but maybe more fun. You definitely want to hit a bike ride and get them playing outside. Maybe you have a project in mind. But you also kind of want to see some friends so your kids have others to play with too. And maybe you want a break. You ask yourself if it’s okay to see those friends. They are mostly social distancing themselves but you can’t ever really know. 

You feel that pressure inside of you knowing that you need to make a decision. All these decisions are starting to feel harder and harder as the time passes. You start getting wrapped up in thoughts about how long all of this is going to last. And then it starts to feel even harder to know the “right” decision because you ask yourself “what if it’s another 3 months like this?”  Meanwhile your kids are getting really bored. Or maybe they don’t mind it too much but you feel guilt for all the screen time they are getting. And you know it’s temporary but this ‘temporary’ situation is starting to feel a bit too permanent for your liking. 

The reality is that you are not alone in this overwhelm. So many of us are feeling overwhelmed with decisions around how much social distance we should be practicing. And there are so many different opinions out there. And let’s be real, lots of judgment too. 

You can’t hide from the truth of it all which is that it is dangerous. And the more you push the limits the riskier it is for your family and society as a whole. But at the same time you are feeling overwhelmed with how this is impacting your family and your sanity. 

There is no clear one answer that fits all here but let’s go over some ideas to keep in mind when thinking about social distancing. 

couple eating pizza together in a bed room

Are you considered at risk? Or a family member living with you at risk? 

This is a hard time for most of us but the reality is those at risk and the elderly are feeling more pressure than most. It’s a tough situation since most of us are wanting to have some level of human interaction even the smallest amounts. Those at risk are needing to take a lot of precautions. With the limited ability to see the people they care about most many are feeling more anxiety and sadness through this time.

The reality of the matter is that the more at risk you are for serious illness the more you should be intentional with your social distancing practices. However are there any safe ways you can still have some in person connection? Can your family members drive by and have a talk a good distance away? I know this is nowhere near as good! But it’s something for sure!    

How much social distancing do you practice when you are around the company of others? 

Not all human interactions are the same. How far away are you from one another when you’re together? Do you wipe surfaces etc clean after yourself? Are you wearing protective masks? This isn’t to say that we can prevent it all when we are around other people but we can make safer choices if we choose. For many people making these types of decisions makes it easier for them to make sense of seeing people. Or for others they really need to see people for one reason or another and engaging in as many safe practices as possible eases anxiety. 

Are the people you are spending time with also engaging in safe practices? 

I’ve heard many people feel better about seeing others that are also in quarantine or taking more strict measures. This makes sense as it does reduce your risk and eases stress around it all. While it’s not as safe as not seeing anyone many people feel that it’s worth this risk. It’s hard to know how much people do or don’t see others, but having this information can be helpful in making these decisions. 

happy kids having a pillow fight standing on top of a bed

Asking yourself what you feel comfortable with and why? 

We all have varying opinions, feelings, and experiences around this. It’s important to understand that we are not all one person and individuality is going to factor into it all. Many people are urging for things to open up again due to financial worries and fears or their own mental health impact. Others are urging for things to stay safer at home for longer. While there is a lot of discrepancy in how many of us feel, try to have empathy for those around you. We all are having a different experience and going through different struggles. Understanding those around us and having less judgment and more empathy will allow more space for internal peace through this hard time. 

Ultimately we need to figure out how we feel and what we feel comfortable with. Understanding all of the facts and making choices that are best for ourselves and our family. Ask yourself these questions and develop some level of internal resolve around it. But know that what you are feeling inside may likely shift though this process. As I know you’ve heard before we are going through an unprecedented time and we are continuing to figure out things as we go! This time more than ever our feelings are shifting quicker and more rapidly through a given day. Expect some shake up in terms of how you feel through this process. 

Here at Simi Psychological Group, our team of therapists and psychologists understand that this is a hard time for us all and we want to be here to support you. Our team of therapists and psychologists are helping our clients develop their own path through this. We are here to support you and your family and build your internal resources so that you can work towards being the self you want to be. This is a hard time. There is no doubt. But you don’t have to do it alone. Reaching out for help through this sends an internal message of “I am going to take care of me.” We are now offering Online therapy in Los Angeles and Online therapy in Ventura County. 

Written by,

Donna Novak, Psy.D. 

Simi Valley Psychologist Dr. Donna Novak

I’m a licensed clinical psychologist who empowers people to work through the roadblocks that are holding them back and find meaning and purpose in their lives.

I specialize in working with anxiety and in helping adolescents and their families, adults, and couples better their relationships and find direction. Rather than shy away from the tough stuff in life, I prefer to face it head-on, together. I believe that challenges are part of being human and that everyone has the potential to become their own life’s navigator. So they never have to feel out of control or at the mercy of their circumstances. Learn more. 

Therapy services offered at Simi Psychological Group 

Now Offering Online Therapy in Los Angeles and Online Counseling Ventura County 

At our Simi Valley therapy practice, we offer Child therapy and family counseling, Teen therapy, Anxiety Treatment, Depression Therapy, Marriage Counseling, and Neuropsychological testing