In the age of Covid-19, a new normal has arrived. As we isolate as individuals and families, we must activate the resilience of our communities virtually in order to gather information, plan interventions at schools and hospitals, and strategize about how to continue working, learning, socializing, loving, and desiring through screens. This is uncharted territory for many of us, and it’s the first time in our lives that the mandate to do social distancing has been the norm at the global level.
China and Europe, as well as American cities such as Seattle and New Rochelle, embarked on this journey a few weeks before the rest of the world did.
We must acknowledge that we are entering a time of prolonged acute stress and uncertainty and that it is a shared reality—with our families, communities, colleagues, and all of humanity. We must be physically apart, but we are emotionally and psychologically in this together. Though the circumstances are different, this situation has induced a rapidly mounting psychological panic not dissimilar to what has historically occurred in response to terror attacks, natural disasters, and life in warzones, especially when there is a lack of resources, information is ambiguous, and instructions are unclear. It’s easy to feel helpless.
Activating the collective healing capabilities of our communities—by sharing stories and accurate information, helping each other, and lifting each other’s spirits—is the most powerful antidote to fear, loneliness, and isolation.
To make social distancing bearable rather than a major source of strain, we must insist on maintaining our social and emotional support. Never has social media been more important for providing connection and context, as many of our communities shift connections entirely online.