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The idea of social distancing -- keeping ourselves at least six feet away from one another and avoiding gatherings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 -- has millions of people worldwide confronting a type of loneliness that's acutely familiar to astronauts.
A number of astronauts, accustomed to toiling in small workspaces in isolation or with only a handful of colleagues in outer space, offered words of advice and comfort on social media this week.
NASA astronaut Anne McClain spent six months aboard the International Space Station in 2018-19, so she knows something about isolation. "Reminder that stress happens when expectations aren't in line with reality. When we can't change reality, it's best to focus on our expectations," said McClain, who is also a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel. "Expect to put others first," she advised.
Christina Koch, who worked for months in Antarctica and also did a nearly year-long missing on the ISS, also has been sharing on Twitter. She returned to Earth on Feb. 6, 2020.
"One year ago, launching into space reinforced to me that the most important thing on Earth is the people you love. Today, as we all stay close to home, I'm struck how that still couldn't be more true," Koch said on Twitter.
Astronaut Jessica Meir, who is currently onboard the ISS, had a reminder for those who might feel a sense of hopelessness at this trying time.
States and cities across the country have imposed a range of restrictions on movement -- advising or mandating that residents leave the house only for essential trips -- in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.