The Cost of Social Distancing

The pandemic has impacted everyone, albeit to varying degrees.

I consider myself incredibly fortunate compared to some, but the virus has definitely knocked on my door in the past weeks.

In the past week, two of my friends (that I have shared meals with in the last 10 days) have tested positive for the virus; and last month my grandma lost her life to it.

This has left me thinking about probabilities, risk, and where all the dangers of life stack up in the pursuit of a meaningful life.

The virus is dangerous, and rightfully feared by many; but where do other risks such as driving, dangerous work (or hobbies), and poor lifestyle choices rank on the hierarchy of risk. Is the risk of getting hit by a car while doing field inspections (my job) lower or greater than dying from COVID19?

I ask this question seriously, but do not mean to downplay the deadliness of COVID.

One risk that I feel deserves more attention than it’s currently getting is the health risks of social isolation/ loneliness.

The human mind is evolved to have community, we are a tribal people living in an individualist world and never have we been more at war with our own biology. This has been exasperated during this time of “social distancing.”

A few statistics:
▪ A German study (published May of 2020) found that people who are socially isolated are almost 50% more likely to die from any cause than someone with strong social relationships.
▪ Another study found that social isolation was associated with a 29% higher risk of heart disease and 32% increased risk of stroke.
▪ Loneliness among heart failure patients was associated with a nearly 4x increased risk of death, 68% risk of hospitalization, and 57% increased risk of an ER visit.

How will this play out as we enter the second wave and social distancing measures are ramped back up? How will young children be affected from this time of social isolation during the most formative years of social skills?

I’m not advocating to stop social distance measures or looking to downplay the virus in any way. But I wanted to ask all of you (my beloved readers) what tactics or tools you have found to meet this biological need during this time?

I’m incredibly lucky to be close to family during this time, and others are far less fortunate. Even with this privilege, I have personally felt the effects of social isolation during the last few months.

Bulletproof coffee, ketone esters, kettlebell workouts and infrared light rays can only take you so far. The human machine is fueled (at least in part) by other humans!

“We are born helpless. As soon as we are fully conscious we discover loneliness. We need others physically, emotionally, and intellectually. We need them if we are to know anything, even ourselves.” ― C.S. Lewis

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