Rx Against Being Driven Online By Coranavirus
Coronavirus is driving us online faster than ever. We shop for groceries, order food and check for updates about the virus online. We video-chat with our coworkers and friends and family around the country. We flock to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to post updates.
This acceleration of our use of the Internet was inevitable with social distancing. The Internet has provided needed tools to cope with the pandemic. But it can have negative effects, too. With face masks and social distancing already leaving us feeling isolated, living too much of an online existence can be dispiriting—literally. The human spirit requires face-to-face interactions—and not just onscreen. It requires hearing the voices of others—and not just through speakers. It requires human touch and movement and exposure to light and fresh air.
Prior to the pandemic, we were already facing an epidemic of depression and an assault on empathy, thanks in part to the Web and online social networking. The combination of living through this extraordinarily stressful time, together with living online, presents massive challenges, in terms of maintaining mood and energy levels and preventing despair.
How can we immunize ourselves against “becoming virtual” and becoming despondent? Here are some possibilities:
- Make certain to get outside for walks or to bike or just to sit in the sun.
- Exercise, even if it is at home.
- Be safe, but don’t stay alone all the time, if you can possibly help it. We human beings sustain one another.
- Consciously enjoy your food.
- Focusing on your breathing is a way to focus on your body and soul, simultaneously.
- If you enjoy them, use essential oils or scented candles to keep using your sense of smell.
- Create some form of art, preferably not in front of a screen.
- Read a book you hold in your hands—the kind with real pages you have to turn.
- Tell the people you love that you love them.
- If you post online, try to post what you truly feel and truly believe, even though the medium is designed for quick, pithy messaging and often encourages a degree of fakery.
The rush to convert our world to an online world is, perhaps, inevitable. Certainly, it shows no signs of slowing down. It won’t work, however, as a strategy to safeguard the soul. Take care to put that strategy into place for yourSELF.
Dr. Keith Ablow