One day you are off to work in a busy office as you have been doing for the past five years or longer. You travel on public transport into the city. At morning tea you chat to your colleagues and at lunch time you catch up with a friend who doesn't work with you for a bite to eat. In the evening you may go out for a meal or see a movie with your partner, family or friends or you may choose to stay home. The next day everything changes as you are given the directive to work from home and avoid social contact as much as possible.
This is the situation some people are currently finding themselves in as a result of the Coronavirus. I am just looking at the sudden change in the amount of social contact some people are facing, not at the economic situation or the health issue itself.
A personal experience Many years ago I was working five days a week in the city. I caught the train to work in peak hour. I worked in an office environment surrounded by people to interact with. At lunch time I sometimes went for a walk with a colleague or else sat around and talked while eating a sandwich.
In the evening I spent time with my husband and sometimes we visited friends. On the weekend I visited family members in their homes or aged care facility, went grocery shopping, was involved with my local community and generally led a busy life surrounded by people.
Suddenly my life changed Everything changed one day after work when I had a routine appointment with my doctor. I was six months pregnant and had pre-eclampsia. No more going to work, no shopping, no visiting friends, no community activities, no meals out, just bed rest and more bed rest.
Bed rest My doctor had ordered complete bed rest and if my blood pressure wasn't down when he saw me a week later I would be admitted to hospital. I obeyed instructions and thought I would go crazy with boredom that first week. I was so used to being very busy and having heaps of social contact. Now I was spending hours and hours alone.
Okay, I like and even need some time alone, but when I choose it. Having all that isolation forced on me was a different story. How would I survive three months of bed rest and solitude?
Hospital I did need a few days in hospital to get my blood pressure under control. One good thing about being in hospital was that there were people to talk to throughout the day.
Image:Silas Camargo Silao from Pixabay
Home again Then I was home again, staring at the four walls of my bedroom.
Then something strange happened. I didn't go crazy from boredom and being alone for hours on end. (I should mention I did have some visitors whom I appreciated very much but the majority of the day I was alone.) I adapted to the limited amount of social contact and not being able to go to my job five days a week.
Filling my time I found lots of things to do in bed and my days filled up quickly even though there was no internet. Let's pause for a moment so that point can soak in. There was no social media, no memes to laugh at, no podcasts, no You Tube, no Netflix. Of course there were no mobile phones so I couldn't text a friend when I got bored or send a pic from my phone.
Little things became important. I looked forward to the day each week when a new Woman's Day or New Idea came out. I did the puzzles and entered competitions. I sent recipes and my point of view to magazines and got a few readers' letters published. I wrote poetry and heaps of letters.
I sewed things from felt and made a mobile for my baby. I read books, especially on pregnancy and caring for a newborn. It was surprising how many ways of entertaining myself I found.
Image:Bella H from Pixabay
People can adapt to change The point of all this is that people will find ways of coping with the sudden change in the social activities they are able to be involved in due to current restrictions. The situation is different for each person depending on what country they are in, where and if they have employment outside the home, how many people they usually interact with in person and many other factors.
Some activities which are usually done face to face are being taken online. People will find other ways to fill in the time they usually spend at sports matches, concerts, hotel or such. Instead of overseas travel people will find alternative activities. For some this will be a time of personal growth. This is a time for innovation, creativity and thinking outside the box.
It will be harder for some people than others but humans are resilient and they can adapt to sudden changes in circumstances.