Social distancing is one of the best measures to prevent the spread of COV- ID-19. Unfortunately, not everyone is following this guideline perfectly. Despite being told frequently by the government, media as well as their own family members, some people seem to be reluctant to follow the rules of social distancing.
At times even some people are seen being scolded by family members for breaking the rules of social distancing.
“Such scoldings would check them just one or two times. Instead, you should encourage your family members to follow social distancing by conducting frequent discussions among family members and reminding them about how important it is to keep social distance now. Only then will family members, who are indifferent to social distancing, would start to understand its importance and follow it,” says Dr Pashupati Mahat, Clinical Psychologist at Centre for Mental Health and Counselling (CMC) Nepal.
As per Dr Mahat, since human beings are social creatures, they tend to connect and converse with people more often. “Although people from all age groups are found to be breaking the guidelines of social distancing, it is more difficult to convince children, young adults and older population above 50 years. However, instead of getting irritated, you should understand their point of view — to encourage them to follow social distancing,” he stresses.
According to him, many who are not following the rules of social distancing may be lacking detailed information about the importance of social distancing.
Their behaviour may also be due to loneliness, distress and restlessness caused by staying inside for a long time with limited interaction with family members — it is especially true for people who used to have frequent meetings and interactions with friends and relatives.
“Thus, sometimes we also have to listen to their frustrations and support them for their emotional well-being,” he suggests.
He further advises such people to involve in different activities at home, garden and vegetable farm.
Family members can help such people communicate with friends and relatives via digital medium, show them entertaining shows and engage all family members in exciting activities.
Stating that awareness level about social distancing among people is still not strong, Dr Mahat points out the need for widespread dissemination of the message on the same.
“The government should keep on disseminating clear directions about maintaining social distance and the media also should frequently spread the information showing examples of how social distancing is strictly followed across the world as well as how one can maintain social distancing while talking, walking, working, et cetera. People will gradually develop the habit,” he opines.
How to ensure social distancing
- Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and others. Why? When someone coughs, sneezes, or speaks they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including COVID-19 virus if the person has the disease.
- Avoid going to crowded places. Why? Where people come together in crowds, you are more likely to come into close contact with someone that has COIVD-19 and it is more difficult to maintain physical distance of 1 metre (3 feet).
A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 3, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.