Social distancing is one way to help slow the spread of COVID-19, but the lack of human contact is leading to loneliness for some.
Authorities have banned public gatherings and have asked that individuals should stay at least a metre apart. That means many workers have been asked to work from home, as well as that social meeting places like bars and movie theatres are closed.
Community events have also been cancelled, so for many, their social life has been put on pause.
“It feels like house arrest,” businessman Louis Lapointe from his home in Laval.
He normally works from home but he usually finds time to meet people.
Usually I get up in the morning, I go to the gym, I come back, I work and I try to organize lunches with business partners to get outta the house,” he explained.
“And at night I go to a restaurant once in a while, but now those options are not there anymore.”
He says he lives alone and most of his family isn’t in the Montreal area, so now he has to figure out how to adjust.
“It’s kinda draining.”
Dr. Pierre Faubert, a psychologist at the Queen Elizabeth Health Complex in NDG, agrees social distancing can be hard because of who we are as humans.
“This social isolation is affecting people profoundly because we are social animals,” he said,”and we have been conditioned since our birth because of our needs, because of our genetic makeup, to require contact with people.”
He says tools like Skype and video chats aren’t adequate substitutes because the brain doesn’t operate the same way with these devices.
Still, he thinks in the short term, people can use the time to discover new things about themselves.
“You know, as we say, necessity is the mother of invention,” he smiled.
“It’s probably going to be an occaision in which I think there’s going to be a lot of creativity
Lapointe believes it will be hard for many people over the next few weeks but admits the isolation is necessary for now. He said he has started Spanish classes online as a way to keep busy and wants the public to know that being active is the best thing to do.
“You gotta suck it up and do what’s right for the population and for your health,” he pointed out.
“You gotta be proactive and find stuff, otherwise you’re gonna go crazy.”