What Do We Lose When We Don’t Touch
Today is a lovely upbeat day. I’ve noticed a pattern of having one upbeat day followed by one that’s completely opposite. It is a great opportunity to tune into myself and find where my sensitivities lie and what I can do to pull myself out of the dark hole of self-sabotage that enveloped me (I addressed this in my last blog HERE) and would have become much worse without my close friends stepping up and checking in (and without some touch via hugs.) I’ve been spending time catching up with communities overseas, as well as hearing the updates and amazing stories of from their perspective. I’ve been hiking and exploring in the rain, drinking thyme and ginger tea, and eating fresh garlic. I know-a bit odd, but I love all those things and the fact they have antiviral properties gives me a good excuse to indulge so frequently-even if they have no proven effects for this outbreak.
Engaging with Touch
But what has me curious and thinking is about people engaging with touch and communication right now. I read a great New York Times article called What Do We Lose When We Stop Touching Each Other? How are people touching different within their own families and communities they are at home with? Who is really suffering from the lack of touch, and who is being overwhelmed by the touch they are exposed to right now? Who has increased their fears of being touched (or touching) so dramatically that it is having a negative impact on their health and well-being?
I was out for a run the other day, and ran around a couple walking on the path. There was a second couple coming toward us, and I moved “into their lane” to get around the walkers. Even though I was a good distance away, the man coming toward me visibly cringed and stopped in his tracks. It caught me off guard. I felt both awful that I created that reaction in him and sad for him that his level of fear was so high that even more than 6 feet away he felt he had to shrink away.
Even Our Pets are Confused
People have been sharing the memes of dogs versus cats handling this stay-at-home situation. How dogs are crazy excited yet cats are abhorred by the fact their owners are invading their territory and are preventing the cats from napping and going about their daily routine. Luckily, my cat loves having me home, and keeps perching on my shoulders and lap to help me work.
I have been through many situations in my past where I have gone from lots of touch to only a little. Some time periods were self-induced, some were situational, and I feel quite fluent moving back and forth between high and low touch. I’ve wanted more touch lately, and have been lucky to get that from my roommates and cat, but have also developed skills to function when the ability to interact with others is less. I talk quite a bit about it in my upcoming book, but am curious to hear from all of you what your personal experiences are at this time.
Please – comment below or post in the Touch Remedies facebook page. How have your touch habits and awarenesses changed during this pandemic? Are you getting the type and amount of touch you want and need? If not, how can I support you thorough this time? I have many tools that help people set boundaries, ask others for what they want, or, if fully isolated, find ways to get that hit of oxytocin and serotonin -two important hormones released with healthy touch- all on their own. I think it is such an important conversation to have. How do we navigate the tricky terrain of touch during this time? How do we tune into ourselves, into others, and into our communities in a way that supports everyone?
My Question for You
How would you like to support yourself and others by connecting and using healthy touch again?
If You Can’t Get Touch- I’d still like to help.
I’m also still offering free online EFT/tapping classes so you and your loved ones can find a place of calm and peace amidst the stress that may be present in your lifestyle. You can find those HERE.
No matter what is happening in your life right now, please reach out if you need any support or help. I truly care about my communities and will do anything I can during this time.
Yeah, I’ve been hearing many stories similar to yours with the guy you encountered on your run.
What concerns me is that this might be the new ‘norm’. I’ve heard several different people tell me that they want to permanently carry around a stick or something to visibly measure the 6’ distance.
A world with almost no touch sounds sad.
It does! I hope we start tuning in to our needs and wants around touch, so as we can be closer again, we can make intentional and healthy touch decisions for ourselves and include it in a way that feels empowering and compassionate for all parties involved!
I’m hearing just the opposite. I know of several texts, personal conversations, and Facebook posts where people have been asked what they miss the most and it has been touch. Hugs, handshakes, a pat on the back, and more. Without touch it will be a sad and lonely world!
Some great thoughts:) I am so glad you are THERE, with your lovely smile, and so much knowledge about touch and how it affects us all, especially now. I have lived without human touch for many years, and it has helped to have friends, a meditation practice, and a strong sense of divine presence around me. But right now it sure seems like complete solitary confinement! Whatever ways we can support each other, eat healthy, spend time outdoors, it is all so needed.