It’s starting to feel more and more like time has no meaning—as though something that happened five months ago might as well have happened five years ago, as we teeter forward through this quarantined limbo. Just five months ago, however, as the CDC encouraged us to practice “social distancing,” they decided that they needed to charge up a semantic hill: that instead of “social distancing,” we should rather refer to the practice of isolating from the medically vulnerable as “physical distancing” to better emphasize the need to stay physically apart from another person. This would mitigate the rapid spread of a virus without unintentionally advocating that we stop “being social.”
The Pandemic Social Club
At first, the CDC’s sudden shift in phrasing seemed like such a fine line upon which to tiptoe gingerly; however, as the quarantine lingered well past its acceptable due date, millions of Americans began experiencing the acute distress that accompanies isolation. The attempt to change the conversation by instead using the word “physical” rather than “social” never quite took hold, though (in fact, the former will no doubt be a permanent addition to the American lexicon). So we continue to feel the residual effects of those isolating words. Here at Minky Mamas, we are dedicated to inspiring our customers to remain safe and as physically distanced as possible: however, we also understand that social contact can and should be conducted safely and for the overall health of all.
Why Words Matter
The CDC attempted to shift the language to reinforce the idea that we stay as socially connected with our loved ones. Many people lived totally alone at the outset of the outbreak: even if they were socially connected online, total isolation for an indefinite amount of time was a depressing prospect. Hearing the term “social distance” repeatedly only served to further their emotional distance from others. The words we’ve repeated to ourselves—for over five months now—have taken their emotional toll.
We can all agree on how there are other, much more relevant things to be doing now than arguing about word choices in healthcare guidelines; instead, we should focus on why the CDC chose to discount the phrase. Although we should be physically distancing from our friends and dearest loved ones—especially those that are immuno-compromised, we should make every effort to reach out and be present with them: even if it’s only through a letter, a phone call, or a video chat. With today’s technology, it’s easier than ever to stay connected.
A Hug You Can Send
If you’ve been physically distanced from your favorite person for a while and are anxiously awaiting the day in which you can wrap them in your arms again—consider wrapping them up in a “hug you can send.” A custom, handcrafted Minky Mamas blanket might not be exactly what the doctor has ordered during the pandemic—but it could be exactly what your loved ones need to feel connected with you: no matter the distance.