Physical Distancing vs Social Distancing During a Pandemic

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How are you coping with the new rules of social distancing? For many, this has meant an unexpected dose of isolation followed by a serve of boredom.

So what can we do to fill in the time while we wait for those coronavirus case curves to plateau out?

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Social Distancing Meaning

Before we continue, perhaps we should look at the debate re term usage. Is it ‘social distancing’ or ‘physical distancing’?

Some have said that ‘social distancing’ requires keeping a distance from family and friends which might imply isolation and loneliness. On the other hand, ‘physical distancing’ is a term that can be used to refer to the number of feet or metres that one should maintain as a safe distance from others.

One can adhere to the suggested physical distance from others while still staying in touch with social contacts and family members.

Meaningful Distractions During Lock Down

I must say that when we ‘cross the bridge’ and come out the other side of this pandemic, we can expect to see some gorgeous gardens and some spick-and-span homes, many of them newly renovated. 

But what else can we do with our time?

I am hearing this all the time.

I imagine that gardening might persist as a newly acquired passion for many, long after normality resumes.

For the rest of us who love to garden, a few hours in the backyard or with pot plants can indeed be a welcome time-filler.


But what about those of us who have no backyard? What about those who live in small apartments? What other ideas can we explore?

Many are really thinking outside of the box and coming up with some fantastic ideas to, not only fill in the time, but allow contact with the outside world.

Here are a few that you might like to explore as well.

Zoom Dinners

This is a great idea. In fact, my husband and I ran a Zoom dinner just last Sunday. There were 8 of us, 3 other couples.

My husband sent an email to our friends, inviting them to log on and join the dinner meeting at 6:30 if interested. Sure enough, right on the dot of 6:30, our computer starting beeping as one after the other logged on and joined us with their bowl of spaghetti or curry or whatever they fancied along with a glass of vino.

It was great. Everyone could see each other, on their respective screens, in a gallery layout (my preferred option). It was almost like we were all sitting around the dinner table, having a good old chat.

Needless to say, the conversation often drifted to the current covid-19 situation or to once-scheduled trips that have now been cancelled.

And, when our dinner was over, and everyone had ‘gone home’, we were left with just our own curry bowls to wash. Wow, this is an idea we might adopt long after the pandemic has passed.

Learn a New Language

Remember all those times you have lamented about not having enough time to master French or Italian or German?

Well here is your chance.

Perhaps you were already enrolled in classes and now can’t travel to continue your studies. In my case, my language class is moving to video conferencing. So hopefully my skill levels can continue to improve.

And some within the class have decided to practice their respective foreign languages by writing daily emails to each other. Also a good practice to adopt and to perhaps continue with long after the pandemic.

There are some fantastic resources for language learning on YouTube.

For example I have found this series very useful: Easy German

If you scroll down the page accessed after clicking the Easy German link above, then you can choose the appropriate level to start learning, from A1 up to C2. Videos like these are very good for enhancing listening skills as well as learning new vocabulary. Plus they are quite entertaining.

A Daily Dose of Board Game Playing

Some people love board games and others couldn’t think of anything worse.

And others again resist starting because, believe it or not, the game might take too long.

Serial Chess

Perhaps chess is a case in point. Some chess games can go on forever.

But how about setting up the chess set on a table where it won’t be disturbed? Then you can meet a member of your family at lunchtime or another allocated hour of the day and simply play for one hour.

Of course, if you are playing the game over a number of days, you will need some kind of marker to remind each other whose turn it is when you resume the next day. Choose the marker wisely if you have young children or grandchildren in the house. I once decided on a chocolate frog. Big mistake! Needless to say, when we sat down to resume our serial game of chess, the marker was gone!

If you are already a keen chess player you might enjoy a miniseries we just watched on Netflix. It is called The Queen’s Gambit.

The downside of chess is that only 2 can play. This is fine in a household of 2. But what about a family of 4 or 6 for example. Scrabble to the rescue, or Monopoly or one of a myriad of other family board games.

Scrabble Challenge

Perhaps you can set up a board game challenge. For example, with scrabble, you could keep scores over a number of days and offer some kind of incentive by way of a prize for the victor.

Explore Your Artistic Side

If you like to draw or paint or do digital designs, then you can fill in some time with this engrossing hobby. You can use it to:

  • Make gifts ready for Christmas
  • Create cards to mail to someone who might be living alone
  • Brighten the day of a neighbour by leaving a cheery poster in their mailbox. 
  • Load your designs on t-shirts and gifts to sell on Redbubble or Zazzle (affiliate link) or one of the many other Print on Demand companies.

You can see some of the creative designs that artists have created on Redbubble below (affiliate link) and also find out how you can sell your own artwork online.

Are you creative? Check out RedBubble, where you can exhibit and sell your art to the world – for FREE!

 I hope this can give you a couple of ideas on how to fill in some idle moments while social distancing is in place. 

Let’s know what ideas you have come up with.

In the meantime, stay safe.


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