The Unintended Consequences of Social Distancing

written by: Dr. Rebecca Miller, Eagle Hill School Psychologist

Start a COVID-19 Diary!
We are going through an unprecedented historical time.  Social distancing, a term most of us had heard the first time about four weeks ago, is now on our minds 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.  While many people are mourning the things that are no longer present in their lives, others are utilizing this time to think about themselves and the world around them. 

Following the theme of The Unintended Consequences of Social Distancing, investigate how lives have changed in the past four weeks and think about what information you would want to preserve for future generations so they can understand how you, your family, your friends, and the world are dealing with this change.  While we are all social distancing to slow the spread of the virus, there are many other consequences (some positive and some negative) resulting from our isolation.

Using suggestions listed below (based on the New York Times Quarantine Diaries) you can investigate and process your own experiences by creating a piece of work.
Introspective Journaling and Meditation
For the next nine days, keep a journal of your day-to-day activities including setting aside a specific meditative time.  What are the thoughts that you keep to yourself? What kinds of conversations are you having with others?  Do you, or those around you, believe that life is changed forever and, if so, what are those changes?
Check out these daily writing prompts from the New York Times if you need some inspiration and this article about why you should start a Covid-19 diary!

Visual Art
Using the medium of photography, like these famous photographers, take a series of portraits of those with whom you are spending your time, or take a series of photographs of the world around you.

Using the medium of painting or drawing, create a piece that represents your personal world like these artists from NYC.  Write up a description that includes the following information: What is meaningful in your art that you would want future generations to be able to understand?
Performance Art
Write an original piece of music (either instrumental or lyrical) based the theme of social distancing.  Check out this article about how a music critic’s sound landscape has changed, and on the difference between hearing and listening to your world around you.

(Expository) In the style of the New York Times, interview family members both in your household and those who are living elsewhere on the topic of social distancing, changes in their lives, focusing on any changes that they view as positive.  In addition, check out this article about taking steps to counter the effects of social isolation for your elderly family members!

(Creative) In the style of a short story, create a fictional piece of writing that conveys life with social distancing.

Pod Cast
In the style of NPR’s Story Corp record an interview with elderly neighbors or family members (from a safe social distance, of course) about their lives and what things they’re thinking about during this time of isolation.  Have they ever gone into isolation before?  Have they ever been through similar experiences like a change in daily routines, concerns about potential food insecurities and stockpiling? You might learn some interesting facts about someone you thought you knew really well, or they might have some wisdom to share with others!

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Learning Diversity is a blog hosted by Eagle Hill School where educators, students, and other members of the LD community regularly contribute posts and critical essays about learning and living in spaces that privilege the inevitability of human diversity.

The contributors of Learning Diversity come together to engage our readers from a variety of disciplines, including the humanities, social sciences, biological sciences and mathematics, athletics, and residential life. Embracing learning diversity means understanding and respecting our students as whole persons.

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