We celebrate National Personal Space Day on November 30 to honor and respect the need for personal space. Established by Public Health Specialist Carol Winner in 2019, the day reminds us that boundaries are good and must be maintained in a civil society. Advocating for our boundaries is not easy, but it is an important factor that contributes to our healing. Have a coworker with a need to get cozy? National Personal Space Day is a great day for you to tell them off.
History of National Personal Space Day
In our culture of a warm embrace and physical advances, declining a kiss or a handshake is considered to be impolite. This does not consider that some people would rather not be touched. If you have never been able to state your objection to unwelcome hugs and unsolicited shoulder taps, then National Personal Space Day is for you.
National Personal Space Day is an initiative of the “For the Love of Peach” foundation. The foundation was established by Public Health Specialist, Carol Winner, in 2015. Winner’s life experiences shaped her thinking and motivated her to establish a day that highlights the importance of respecting people and their personal space.
In 1977, the diagnosis of her mother’s cancer struck a jolt in the life of then 17-year-old Winner. Losing her father just years before put her in double jeopardy. She became the sole caretaker of her mother. In and out of hospital for weeks, Winner witnessed the lives of patients and the difficulties they face in accomplishing day-to-day tasks.
Winner spent the next 40 years of her life taking care of her chronically ill mother, who remained vulnerable to infections due to declined immunity. As people would come to greet her mother, they would immediately jump to embrace her or kiss her. This caused her great discomfort. Even in the trenches, her mother could never decline a physical advance, which troubled Winner.
Soon enough, Winner began providing a haven for her mother and took charge of her isolation. This experience motivated Winner to raise awareness about the need for personal space in our lives. In 2015, Winner quit her corporate job and established For the Love of Peach. It is a foundation dedicated to raising awareness about the need for space.
With the foundation, Winner aims to change the way we show care. It aims to spread the message that distance can be good and it saves lives.
National Personal Space Day timeline
Carol Winner’s mother is diagnosed with cancer, making Winner the sole caretaker at the age of 17.
Taking care of a chronically ill patient frames Winner’s life experiences and she establishes the “For the Love of Peach” foundation.
Winner publishes a children’s book on personal space titled “What Do I Do With My Hugs” and dedicates the final day of November as National Personal Space Day.
Winner expands the purpose of her foundation and raises awareness about the importance of social distancing in pandemic times.
National Personal Space Day FAQs
What is the best way to greet a stranger?
Make eye contact, smile, and say “hi” with a slight nod. Never presume to establish physical touch or wave to strangers, as it is considered impolite.
How can I politely decline a physical greeting?
Step aside from the path and set clear terms of contact in the first meeting. Informal greetings are not intended to disrespect an individual. Hence, it is best to inform others of your personal preferences and comfort level.
Is breaching someone’s personal space illegal?
No. You cannot sue someone for ‘getting into your face.’ However, there are varying degrees of personal invasion that can count as harassment, pertinent to state and local laws.
How to Observe National Personal Space Day
Talk about your struggles
National Personal Space Day sheds a light on people’s hidden sensitivities and struggles with intimacy. You can also take the day to voice your issues. We underestimate the power of voicing our problems in front of the world, but you never know who might end up seeking inspiration from your courage.
Spread the word
Hold a seminar and educate your community about the dangers of not maintaining a healthy distance from chronically ill patients and people in general. You can also present a slideshow about the different kinds of viruses and their degree of transmission to paint a clearer picture in the minds of the public.
Help your isolated buddies out
Have a quarantined friend or a chronically ill person in your life? November 30 is a great day to treat them with a meal or lend them a helping hand. Nobody chooses a life of isolation, but a friend’s support can always make difficult days easier.
5 Facts About Keeping Our Distance
A smile conceals
You have no idea what people are going through, so the best thing you can do is to respect their personal space and maintain distance.
Viruses are unpredictable
Oftentimes even the patients do not have the full knowledge of a virus and its ramifications.
It is a germ-filled world
Although hugs and kisses are well-intentioned, our germs can be deadly.
Prevention is better than cure
It is better to miss out on a hug than to regret unintentionally passing down a virus.
It is common courtesy
While everyone has a different culture of greeting, a courteous distance is better for everyone.
Why National Personal Space Day is Important
It illustrates hidden struggles
Many people struggle with sensitivities, germaphobia, and many other issues. These can remain hidden under their polite behavior and composed smiles. National Personal Space Day brings to light the regard and recognition that they need and deserve.
It illuminates the importance of social distancing
“For the Love of Peach,” founder Carol Winner propagated the need for social distancing before Covid-19 made it popular. A six-foot distance restricts the transmission of deadly viruses and saves lives. On November 30, we get a chance to share its importance with the world.
It challenges our old habits
Oftentimes we forget that the habits we are accustomed to are not universal. Hygiene is deeply personal and subjective. The regard for people’s culture and preferences can come at the cost of challenging our beliefs. Are you ready for it?
National Personal Space Day dates