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Δευτέρα, 6 Δεκεμβρίου, 2021
ΑρχικήEnglish EditionFeeling estranged during covid times

Feeling estranged during covid times

By Vasiliki Theodosiou, 

Christmas. A word that conveys that warmth of the logs burning in the fire. A word that conveys that warmth of a hug, of that feeling of being surrounded by friends and family, of parting, dancing, singing.

Covid-19. A word that we feel surrounded by. A word that we can see in most online articles. A word that we hear on national television, on everyday conversations. A word that conveys a feeling that is the exact opposite of warmth, strength, happiness, and being “close” to the ones you love.

Now let us put those two words together and create a phrase: Christmas in Covid-19 times. Maybe it is this very specific season that makes us realise more than ever how much our lives have changed throughout this past year. 2020. It had its ups. It definitely had its downs. But if we were to point out one thing that characterised this year the most is the feeling of “estrangement” that most people have experienced. Some more intensely, some less. No matter the intensity, it is true that the feeling of being unable to hug your best friend, your grandparents, your family, or even that random person you just met is undoubtedly rather hard to fight.

It might, also, be true that our human nature is not used to rapid and extreme changes. We have been used to celebrating Christmas in a certain way or greeting our friends in a certain way and all of a sudden, we are asked to change that. It is hard to adapt. We have to. But it is our very human nature that is inseparable from social interaction and the need to fulfil it.

According to the Word Health Organisation (WHO) [1], the number of people struggling with Mental Health this year has significantly increased and the social distancing concept that we have to deal with on a daily basis is on of the factors to blame for it. There are things that we characterise as “natural” and those that argue that what is defined as natural and what is not defined as natural is subjective. Allow me to express my thoughts on this very argument by saying that maybe this whole distancing concept does not feel “natural” for most of us.

More than 2000 years ago, Aristotle was stating that humans are “social beings”, meaning that they always seek to interact with each other, organise themselves and get actively involved in societal matters.[2] According to Aristotle, without this social aspect one finds themselves lost in a meaningless and inhumane state.

Returning to reality and to the 2020 socially-distanced society, one could potentially state that this does not feel much like a society anymore. It goes without saying that we choose to comply and follow the rules because we care about each other and wish to do our best to stop the spread of the virus but at the same time we do go against our human nature. It is this nature that urges us to go out and talk to people and chill with our friends and share ‘melomakarona’ and sing Christmas carols and squeeze next to each other on a night out on New Year’s.

Going against this is challenging but necessary. It is, however, perfectly okay not to feel okay with this new reality. And if that is the case and if that feeling of being estranged becomes rather overwhelming and difficult to handle do make sure to reach out for help. Do make sure to talk to someone about it. Besides, it is highly likely that via such discussions you might find out that you are not alone in this. The covid crisis is something we are all experiencing and we all have to deal with. Hopefully, these can also be the times that we will put behind us as soon as 2021 is here.

[1] https://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/noncommunicable-diseases/mental-health

[2] Aristotle, Politika, Α, 1253a 1-5



Vasiliki Theodosiou
Graduate of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki with a specialisation in Linguistics. Former member of the European Youth Parliament and TEDxAUTH. Apart from her linguistic background she also has a musical background as the latter constitutes a field that she is equally fond of.