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Coronavirus latest: Social distancing needs a rebrand to protect mental health – expert

Since COVID-19 reached Europe, governments across the continent have encouraged strict social distancing in an attempt to slow down the spread of the virus. Social distancing is the practice of increasing isolation and reducing the amount of time spent with others outside of one’s household.

This also includes working from home wherever possible and avoiding public transport.

The practice has become something of a buzz word during the coronavirus pandemic, but experts are now warning against naming it as such.

Researchers believe that in the modern world where we are instantly connected through smart phones and the internet, to give just two examples, we are all virtually permanently socialising.

With humans being social creatures, experts also state it is important we get our fair share of socialising – albeit in the virtual realm for the foreseeable future – to ensure our mental wellbeing.

For this reason, scientists and mental health experts want to rebrand the term ‘physical distancing’, which implies we are to keep our physical distance from each other in order to beat COVID-19.

Stanford University professor of psychology Jamil Zaki said: “I think we should begin by re-framing what we’re doing right now.

“We should think of this time as ‘physical distancing’ to emphasize that we can remain socially connected even while being apart.”

“Social distancing is vital to slowing the spread of COVID-19, but it also pushes against human beings’ fundamental need for connection with one another.

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READ MORE: How to disinfect your whole home amid lockdown

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