One of the most used phrases in 2020 was “social distancing”. Not only did it become popular, but it brought upon the world’s population quite a bit of misery.
With newer mutations of the virus and many months to go before any significant part of the population can be vaccinated, social distancing continues to be part of our lives in varying degrees. We yearn to go back to our pre-pandemic lives, where we never had to think about getting together with people or attending an event of any size.
Also, pandemic fatigue is setting in. Most people are getting to a point where it doesn’t seem worthwhile to make such a big sacrifice to their lives’ quality just to prevent getting infected by the virus.
But can there be a silver lining to the forced distancing and significantly less active social life? Are there ways in which we can convert this problem into an opportunity for ourselves? What if our lives could be made richer during this time?
Let’s see how.
There have always been some downsides to a hyperactive social life.
Whenever something begins to get rationed or scarce in our lives, we revisit its real need and how much of it we need. Thinking along those lines, it appears that there are some things we lose because of too much socializing or a lot of friendly get-togethers.
- The lure of social gatherings can sometimes take away our hard work, persistence, focus, and determination. The most successful scientists and inventors were not extroverts. They never partied all the time. If anything, they struggled at it. They were lone wolves and their strength and achievements lay in the endless hours they spent to themselves and towards path-breaking experiments. Talk to any successful artist or writer, and they’ll tell you the value of being completely alone to produce their most incredible creation.
- Billie Jean King, one of the greatest tennis players, said that “Pressure is a privilege.” Spending time with others too often can actually take away that pressure vital in molding a great product or achieving a breakthrough. After all, most social activity is for relaxation and we fritter away our attention, doing nothing when we’re in the company of others. We can even get distracted from our goals and work we need to accomplish.
- Then there’s the bad advice and viewpoints from too many people around us that can muddle our thinking. Socializing may also increase our insecurity and lack of independent thought.
- For a spiritual person, the number one strategy for growth and self-improvement is to turn one’s attention inward, deep within oneself. And maximize this introspection as much as possible. When we’re in the company of people too often, our attention is still outward.
So, it’s worthwhile examining how we can permanently restructure our lives a bit with a more balanced level of socializing.
Revisit and Restart shelved projects.
Direct your efforts towards completing activities and projects that require individual hard work and attention. Past hobbies, shelved projects and New Year resolutions that were discontinued are an excellent place to start. Also, anything that requires you to spend time alone to complete it. Remember those days in school preparing for exams? When was the last time you put in that intense, focused effort all on your own? Rediscover the magic of putting in the hard work and seeing the results.
Rediscover long lost relationships.
The reason now that you cannot get together easily with people or attend social events near you has one hidden benefit – you can now spend more time with those who aren’t, albeit online. Rebuild those distant relationships that did not get a chance because you were naturally absorbed with your friends or people in your community or city. That long-lost aunt from your childhood or even your parents who are thousands of miles away.
Learn a new art or skill.
In the middle of last year, grocery stores weren’t just out of toilet paper; they ran out of flour too because many people took to baking at home like never before. Online courses are booming. Rediscovering your hidden talents or creative instincts during this period of social distancing can be worthwhile.
Spend more time outdoors with Nature.
It is a natural human tendency to hanker after human-made creations than appreciate Nature’s subtler beauty. The low risk of contracting the virus outdoors gives us the perfect opportunity to explore outdoor parks, nature trails and scenic spots within a few miles of where you live. Or if you live in a cold place, the beautiful snowy landscape and how the moonlight bounces off the snow back into the sky at night.
Improve your introspection.
For spiritual people, introspection is a critical part of their lives. Can social distancing and time to yourself increase your time for introspection? What about the major challenges or problems you’ve always pondered but lacked the energy to solve?
Improve your security and independence.
Often we may need others’ company for the wrong reasons – for validation of our self-worth, ideas or to reinforce our own emotions in the company of like-minded people. And so, we’re insecure without this company and may even begin to lose our sense of independent thought and existence.
Social distancing can help us realize how much of the company we’ve been keeping, and the time we spend socializing is essential. We can emerge with the realization that we can be stronger and secure without additional validation from others around us. Not being with people who always know and agree with us can help us get some interesting critical feedback or self-evaluation.
Consider permanent changes to your lifestyle.
There is a very good chance that Nature and the universe want all of us and the world to permanently change for the better. Last year, pollution levels dropped to such an extent that many natural wonders not visible for decades could be seen many miles away. We can certainly embrace a few positive changes in our lives too.
Any serious change in the world is only possible when every individual can change their ways and be respectful of Nature. So, in a way, the forced social distancing is a message and warning for us to adopt new ways and focus on problems more significant than ourselves.
The intense desire to reverting to the pre-pandemic way of life may not be the best, even if possible.
The ultimate recommendation – make spiritual meditation a lifestyle.
Spirituality and meditation is the single best investment you can make in your life. The opportunity is ripe now to do this, especially with our online meditation sessions. If there is one thing you can pick from everything we have listed above while practicing social distancing, it should be this.