I don’t know about you guys, but I am two weeks working from home and I am already losing my mind.
The first few days felt like a very nice high. I was up and running (literally) at 07:30 AM sharp. My levels of productivity were sky high and the best of it all: no social obligations. Apart from the obvious horror, this outbreak dragged along, the COVID-19 social distancing rule was very welcomed by this introverted extravert.
After getting yelled at on the street for not keeping the recommended 1,5-meter social distance (by someone who took op 3 times the recommended social distance, no offence) my running routine was eliminated. So I did what every self-respecting millennial does, I turned to online gym classes. Which was fun, until the online teacher was informing the participants ‘summer is coming, Corona or not’. As if I would be considered a lazy you-know-what if I didn’t work on my beach bod while living through a global pandemic.
I can’t help to wonder if the overall lethargic feeling has more to do with the lack of social interaction then trying to stay in shape. Even though I am still allowed to take a walk, go to the grocery store or even get a takeaway coffee being a citizen of the Netherlands I am already feeling isolated and disconnected from the world. I can’t imagine what it is like to be a prisoner of your own home and not be able to have any social interaction without the involvement of some sort of technology.
What is this lack of social interaction doing to the human brain? It is known human beings live longer and are happier when they have frequent interaction with other human beings. I doubt having the Friday afternoon drinks through the Houseparty app contributes to that goal. Is there a way to simulate the effect of a human hug while social distancing is the norm?
Ironically, research shows a gentle stroke by a stranger reduces fear of social exclusion and a simple touch can give the immune system a tremendous boost. While the whole world was turning it’s back on human touch, pre-Corona, bypassing potential lawsuits or the inevitable #metoo campaigns, a gentle stroke by a stranger was exactly what the world needed most.
What will the post-Corona world look like? Will we treasure our hugs like never before? Will we stop trying to find social acceptance online and go back to the good old days where using cheesy pick-up lines at the local bar is seen as courageous versus creepy?
I know for sure that I will be hugging every single one of my colleagues when I am allowed back into the office, whether they like it or not and make sure the people I love and care for getting touched more than my touchscreen.