How many of you made the joke at the start of the year that we're back in the "Roaring 20's"? How many of you wished for a pandemic, world-wide hysteria, death, increase in unemployment rates, and social distancing? I'm going to take a wild guess and say none of you; we didn't actually mean it when we said we're back in the roaring 20's era, yet here we are. Heck, it honestly sometimes feels like the plagues of Egypt have returned now with the 17 yr cicadas emerging🤯. Back in 1929, the Stock Market crashed and so began the time of The Great Depression. It's early in the new 20's era, however I do believe we are going through a new Great Depression. Not only are businesses suffering, people are losing their jobs/being furloughed, the economy is taking a hit, and we are going through a high rise in mental depression. Studies and researchers are now looking into if depression rates among people are starting to rise due to the fragmented economy, loss of employment, and the practice of social distancing. Now, before I continue I want to be clear that this piece is not going to be against social distancing, on the contrary it will be promoting social distancing in a way that helps you keep touch with the outside world.
Top photos are from the Great Depression (1929-1933)
Bottom photos are of NYC today
Feelings of severe despondency and dejection; a long and severe recession in an economy or market.
Social distancing is not about keeping yourself 100% isolated from the world and, in my opinion, it's not a form of control from the government to take away our rights. We need to get this out of our head for it's only doing more damage to our mental state than good. According to the CDC, to socially distance means to keep a safe space between yourself and others who are not in your household. Not only is this about keeping a safe distance from others in terms of space, you can also help by wearing a mask. Yes, I know: "the masks suck", "you can't breathe with them on", "they're not protecting me, they're protecting those around me so why should I care". On the contrary, if we all wore them then we would ALL be protected. Believe me, I get it, the masks are INCREDIBLY uncomfortable. I worked in a medical office where I had to wear it straight for eight-nine hours per day, five days per week. I would come home from work with headaches that would last for at least a couple of hours and when I would have to go to the grocery store, the headaches would start to come back and I would almost get sick. If anyone understands how horrible the masks are, it's the individuals who work in the medical field. However this does not mean that we should just ignore what the CDC and other health agencies strongly recommend and advise us to do.
Unfortunately, what's resulting by social distancing ourselves is high rises of mental depression. According to the Oxford Dictionary, depression is feelings of severe despondency and dejection. For some of us, our biggest social outings are going to work and seeing our co-workers, meeting up with them for happy hour or even a business lunch. After work is over, we go back to an empty house and wait until tomorrow for our next social interaction. This has become incredibly difficult and challenging for a lot, if not all, of us. Even I consider myself included in this high rise number, though I may not have been formerly diagnosed by a Medical Doctor, I've noticed that my mood has certainly dampened. Some days are good where I think to myself, "I'm not going to let this affect my mood today, I'm going to keep myself busy and productive", whereas other days I remember that we're still going through this pandemic and I struggle to see any bright side. Today I'm going to talk about ways that we can distance ourselves while still socializing with others, combat these skyrocketing rates of depression, and help local/small businesses.
Local & Small Businesses
I've decided to lump this all together for I believe there's a lot we can do to support these businesses and they need our help more than large scale corporations (no offense).
Dine In or Order In: Some restaurants (depends on your area) are open to outside patio seating or have a few select tables open inside. This is a great way for you to get out and socialize with others while still socially distancing yourself, plus you're helping out your local community! If you're still hesitant to be near others even at a distance, you can certainly order in or schedule curb-side pick up. Some restaurants have their own delivery service or you can order through other services such as UberEats, DoorDash, or Postmates.
Shopping online: A lot of local boutiques and clothing stores are suffering as there is no more foot traffic, which is their primary source of income. Due to this pandemic, a lot of them have resorted to online shopping; to determine if your favorite local boutique is doing delivery you can certainly look them up online or give them a call and see if they offer delivery or curbside pick-up ☺.
Local farmer's markets/grocers: I always recommend shopping at a local market or grocer for they always have the freshest produce that's local to your area and usually only provide seasonal produce (so you know it's most definitely fresh). Most of the time, farmer's markets are held outside for a couple of hours and it's much easier to socially distance yourself while outside than inside in a confined space. Dependent on your area, lots of local grocers are also offering delivery or curbside pick-up so be sure to check that out!
Walk with a Neighbor
We've become one of the weirdest conundrums in society where we are the biggest socialites in history, yet not in the way we think. We have become a generation of people who are dependent on our phones because that's our way of staying connected. Take a moment to observe others around you if you take a walk by yourself, most of the time you'll see that people are glued to their phone. Is it to avoid contact with others, or are they truly 100% immersed into what's on their screen? Now with the pandemic, I found people who have blatantly looked me in the eye with fear on their face and crossed the street in a hurry as to not even come within a 6 foot distance of me. Honestly, part of me doesn't blame them, but to not even say hello makes me feel pretty sad and even more alone. We're all in this together and this should be a time that we are there for each other. This comes to my next technique by organizing walks. Reach out to your neighbors or a friend of yours from another part of town and meet half way. Walking is a great way to socially distance yourself while still communicating with others, plus it's a great form of exercise which helps raise your endorphins putting you in a happier state of mind 😊 If you have pups at home, bring them along with you, have a little puppy play date on a walk!
I'm sure a lot of you have seen meme's on social media giving you social distancing ideas that only involve your dog, and I hate to say it but they are true! Not only are dogs (and pets in general) a great way to socially distance yourselves from others, they are a great mood booster as well. Nothing quite beats a big smiley face when you walk in the door whether it be from running an errand, to just going out to grab the mail. My husband and I adopted our beagle mix Harper almost two years ago and now, we can't imagine our life without her. We primarily adopted her to bring life into our home and test out our parenting skills (and for you couples out there who want to see if you're truly compatible and can work together, I'd recommend adopting a dog because some of the time, it does feel like you're taking care of a helpless child), however there were other reasons we decided to adopt. During the time we adopted her, my husband was still in the Navy and he was going to be going out on his second deployment. The first time he went, I had lots of friends close by to call and hang out with, however when I returned home it would be a little lonely. The second deployment was easier having her at my side, plus I felt a lot safer since she alerts me if a leaf hits the door 🤣.
Personally, I'm a big proponent of adoptions as opposed to buying. I have nothing against buying puppies/dogs from a breeder or cats from a pet store, if the animal fits your family and is absolutely perfect for you, then there should be nothing stopping you from adding them into your life. My husband and I had dogs growing up and they were all rescues; even though they've been through hell and lived in horrible situations, they are so incredibly grateful and loving. Our current dog Harper was living on the streets of North Carolina, was picked up by animal control, and sent to a high kill animal shelter. The rescue that saved her, picked her up the very day she was to be euthanized and it breaks my heart to think that she was almost killed, and for what, lack of space? The worst part about it is most of the time, these animals have owners and are abandoned somewhere because their owners either don't have the means to care for them, or simply don't want them anymore. They are the most innocent and need our help, so please consider adoption 🤍 you won't be sorry! 🐶 🐱
*If you live in the Charlottesville, VA area you should check out the Charlottesville Albemarle SPCA .
If you're interested in beagles then please check out Bay Beagle Rescue (this is where we adopted Harper).
If you're not sure where to start, you can also check out Petfinder to find an animal in your area or your local shelter/SPCA.
Give A Call
This one is probably the most obvious, however it's one we overlook the majority of the time. Whenever you're feeling down and need someone to talk to, don't hesitate to give your mom, dad, brother, sister, or any loved one a call. They more than likely are experiencing the same feelings as you are and it would probably mean the world to them just to know that you were thinking about them. Make it a weekly thing, get more family members involved, maybe make it a zoom family chat! Have game nights, beer/wine nights, movie nights, whatever you like! Get creative 😉
Join A Support Group
Believe it or not, since the start of the pandemic lots of online support groups have been created including one from the Mayo Clinic. This is mainly a discussion board, however people from all over have joined and connected due to this virus. Not only does the Mayo Clinic have a group for COVID-19, they have groups for several other categories such as depression and anxiety. If you're interested in learning more or joining a group through the Mayo Clinic, you can click here 😊.
At the end of the day, we're all in this together and I don't think current generations of people have been tested quite like this. It breaks my heart to see all this hatred happening in the midst of this pandemic. People's lives are being ended in brutality, disrespectful and hateful words are being thrown at one another both verbally and online, protests are occurring with some being peaceful while some become violent . Believe me when I tell you that I want this to be over just like everyone does, but if I can protect one person just by keeping myself distanced from others and wearing a mask around others, I'm going to do so and I ask that everyone reading do the same. What's important now is to focus on what is and what we can do as a community to help those around us. I'm a Christian and grew up in a home where I was taught to always think and care about others, and that's what I will continue to do. Remember, it's important to have your own opinions/beliefs and you have a right of free speech, however please be courteous and considerate of those around you and their beliefs. Just because someone may have a different view or opinion than yourself does not mean we should throw hate or be disrespectful. Peace and love to you all, I pray for all of us that this will end soon 🕊🤍
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.