A hug is the most common form of affection from the time you’re born, to your first steps, and even moving all the way to your wedding day. Each embrace signifies love and sends endorphins to your brain that tell you you’re experiencing a good feeling.
So now that hugging has come to a screeching halt because of COVID-19 and you aren’t receiving that feeling or reminder, what do you think is happening? You guessed it, you are more susceptible to depression and negative and toxic thoughts. But there are options available.
Unprepared for the Unnatural
2020 has been a year of the unknown. Nobody was prepared, and living in quarantine has been an interesting and awkward task. As humans it’s normal to fellowship and communicate with others, so to have that taken away and be told to isolate is an unnatural thing. Hugging is no different, we’ve been doing it since the beginning of time.
Hugs Are Dope
The health benefits of hugging are powerful! In this time of uncertainty and distress, a hug would be beneficial. When you hug someone, it increases the production of dopamine. Dopamine has been labeled the “happy hormone” as it controls the mental and emotional happiness and your overall reactions. Hugs send endorphins which is a natural pain reliever; Just think of all the times hugs have given you relief when you were stressed, sad, mad, excited, or undecided. It’s crazy to believe that a simple embrace holds that much impact.
Hugs Should Be Essential
As the pandemic continues to play out, hugs should be essential. People are out of jobs, bills are still due, and the future is unclear. No one knows what will happen next and that’s a scary reality. Social distancing, quarantining at home, and even wearing masks are forms of isolation. When you isolate you are more prone to depression because you aren’t doing things that make you happy.
When someone hugs you, there is a connection; as humans, we equate touch with care and togetherness. Therefore, hugging often should be routine. Hugging is a nonverbal way of saying I love you, I care, I am here. It’s the most common way for a person to not feel alone; and in times like these, we all need that reassurance.
Hugging Alternatives, Though Less Effective
All is not lost when it comes to showing affection and love. In these circumstances, it’s always best to tap into your right side of the brain for creativity. Writing a handwritten letter can be very thoughtful and touching to someone you truly love and care about. It’s something they can cherish for years, and appreciate as no one writes these days.
Other ideas are doing an act of kindness like running an errand for him/her, cooking dinner, running a nice hot bath, or creating a nice aura in the room with candles, wine, and snacks to sit and talk about the day (sometimes people just need to relax and vent). Embracing will always reign as number one, but thoughtful gestures come in as a close second.
As a people, we have to stay encouraged about the state of the world. There will eventually be a cure for COVID-19 and we will adjust accordingly to new lifestyles. We will be able to hug again, just cautiously.
Right now it’s imperative that we practice all safety precautions; that means, washing hands thoroughly, showering regularly, social distancing, wearing a mask in public, and continuing to quarantine. We’ve missed out on some great hugs in 2020 but look forward to the future hugs you’ll receive. Anticipation can be a great mood stimulator, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Stay in the present and focus on your health, both mental and physical. We can get through this rough patch together.
While it is true that hugs can be beneficial to the mood, you don’t have to rely on someone to provide that for you. It may sound silly but try giving yourself a hug. Fully embrace yourself as a way of letting your entire being know that everything is ok. It’s a great reminder from time to time. In fact, this pandemic is a perfect reason to focus on yourself and give self-love. Know that this is temporary and things will change, even if gradually. You can do this, you’ve already been doing it!
P.S. Shout out to my cousin Bam, the best hugger in the world! Love you!