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My Social Distance Date Hangover


Article by Angi Spielman

Photography by Angi Spielman

Social Distance Date Hangover

After two months of quarantine, I spent Mother's Day with my two daughters and a close friend with her daughter. It was the best Mother's Day!

Knowing we have been responsible adults and have been strict with our shelter-in-place rules, she welcomed us to see her new home, only occupied by her and her daughter. This was such a treat after only being in close contact with my daughters every other week, aside from a few short trips to the grocery and visiting respectfully distanced with my boyfriend a handful of times weekly.

The day after, however, I was followed by the saddest gray cloud over my head. Don't get me wrong, quarantine for me personally had seen some serious down days, which I am quickly forgetting. This felt different, though. There was no real conclusion to my melancholy. Being quick to get to the root of the problem, it hit me! I'm having a social distancing day-after hangover. I had all those good feels running through my body the day before, then it was back to my lady cave to wait out COVID-19.

I realized this is going to be a thing! We are all going to be experiencing this when we begin tip-toeing back into our social and work lives during these three phases. 

Let's break this down for all you nerds like me:

There are four primary chemicals in the brain that affect happiness: dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins. When you hang with good people, especially during a pandemic, you activate these chemicals. But we've all been starving ourselves in terms of being physically social! And let's face it, social media is not the same. So the aftermath is basically similar to a drug withdrawal. I wish I had some great "learned by experience" advice to offer, but we are all in the same boat. So, let's share and learn together!

Here are a few things that have helped me keep my wits about me:

Developing a Routine – Both at night and in the morning. With a large dose of grace because I am not queen B when it comes to discipline. 

The meditation app Insight Timer is my new BFF. I will desperately brainwash myself into an attitude of gratitude in a heartbeat, if it even drops my anxiety by a degree.

BOD! Beachbody on Demand – It's a home fitness app. I follow a calendar. It tells me what to do every day, gives me something to work toward, boosts my endorphins and the trainers tell me i'm doing a good job. Who doesn't need to hear that right now?!

Google Duo app – Live video chats are cool, but having my boyfriend send me sweet video messages that I can save and revisit when I'm feeling lonely have been this girl's version on the boyfriend T-shirt. 

Last but not least, going for long drives with the windows rolled down and favorite music blasted. I call them therapy drives, sanity drives, inspiration drives, whatever. I love to daydream, and it gets the job done. 

The icing on the quarantine cake? Snail mail from creative, sweet friends and simply picking up the phone to have a good ol' convo with friends. I used to wait to catch up with friends in real life—not anymore.

There is no right or wrong way to deal. If you need to have a pity party and snuggle under your covers a little longer, do it. Feel it. Let it in. Let it wash over you. And then—let it go. YOU are in control. To quote one of my dear friends, "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Just enjoy it."