I don’t know about you, but lately my feed is being flooded with people extremely worried about weight and exercises, but what about physical contact? I know that I am a dietitian and I am sorry to warn you that this post is not about what to eat during a crisis.
When I sent out my poll on what was bothering my followers, I noticed a similar theme:
lack of human connection, or touch.
This is extremely sad and unfortunate. Humans are creatures of human connection, but more than that, we like physical human contact. This can be anywhere from a completely platonic pat on the back in the gym, a hug from a loved one, or sexual intimacy. Scientific research shows over and over again the importance of physical contact.
Human touch has been shown to be correlated with a decrease in violence, greater trust between people, stronger immune system (ironic, given we are being isolated-with reason), and improved overall wellbeing (KHCA, 2015).
Touch is also a way of communication. Emotions like anger, fear, disgust, love, gratitude, and sympathy are communicated through physical contact as well as eye contact.
Physical contact is so important, that it affects the development of children (Paediatr Child Health, 2010).
What am I trying to say? Humans are social creatures who need physical contact. Therefore, we have a real problem when humans are limited, or not permitted to do so.
So what are you supposed to do in a time where you cannot leave your home, or at least are limited to-again, for good reason?
Here are 3 tips to maintain human connection during the COVID-19 quarantine:
1. Virtual Human Connection – We may not be able to physically do activities with everyone like we once did before, but we have an abundance of technology that can help us to connect virtually. We can call our friends and family members via phone call, FaceTime, GoogleMeet, and much much more!
I am also noticing many companies making arrangements for people to continue activities together virtually. Have you heard of painting with a Twist? There are different companies like this as well… They guide you to paint a painting of your choosing with friends or family and you can bring alcohol as a little added fun bonus. Painting with a Twist is now allowing you to take these classes from home! How cool is that?! Here is the link, if you are interested:
But they are not the only company that has adopted to changes of COVID-19. Museums are allowing their displays to be displayed online. Check out Google’s Culture and Arts Galleries from all around the world:
Zoos are also allowing virtual tours! Check out this resource for more information:
It doesn’t stop there! Check out your local businesses and find what they’re offering now.
2. Let’s Get Creative – We can continue human connections virtually, but we can also find other ways to connect with people. I had a message from a young lady telling me that her biggest issue with the COVID-19 quarantine is that she is unable to see her grandparents who live on the floor underneath her. She shared with me that she usually spent time with them at least once a day. This broke my heart. What an amazing soul she has and how unfortunate it is that she feels she is losing this connection with them. I suggested that she write them letters, illustrate pictures and even play games within the letter. For example, playing tic tac toe, while washing her hands in between, of course, is a good way to have fun while also keeping her distance. She expressed that this is a great idea and thanked me. So let’s start thinking! I know you are overwhelmed which everything going on, but this is only temporary. Let’s take a breath and think about some other ways of having fun and staying connected to our loved ones.
3. Self Connection - It’s your time to find human connection with yourself! Let’s take this time to connect with ourselves spiritually.
Writing a journal can be extremely helpful with this. You can express your thoughts, feelings and emotions which is a therapeutic way to connect with yourself.
Meditating is another way to connect with yourself. Take a time in the day to breathe and unwind. There are tons of resources, such as apps and virtual online classes, to help guide your meditation. I use the Calm app:
Another amazing way to connect with yourself is therapy. Psychotherapy, or talk therapy is a great way to help deal with difficult emotions, fears, thoughts, and mental illnesses. You don’t have to have Major Depressive Disorder or suffer from Anxiety to see a psychotherapist. You can simply care about your mental health and need an extra ear to confide in. Right now, everyone in the world qualifies for psychotherapy since we are all dealing with trauma in our lives, so don’t be ashamed about caring for your mental health. Be strong and love yourself enough to seek help.
I recommend some great resources from HAES providers:
I hope that this helped you all. Please contact me for any questions, or for more information on resources, personal help, or feedback. Thank visiting my site.
Calm. (2020). Calm Meditation and Sleep Stories. https://www.calm.com/signup-flow
HAES. (2020). Find HAES Expert. https://www.sizediversityandhealth.org/content.asp?id=32&action=searchResults&do=search
Hearst Magazine. (2020). Bored at Home? Here's a Massive List of Museums, Zoos, and Theme Parks Offering Virtual Tours. https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/travel/a31784720/best-virtual-tours/
Google. (2020). Google Arts and Culture. https://artsandculture.google.com/partner?hl=en&tab=map
Kansas Healthcare Association (KHCA). (2015). 8 Reasons Why We Need Human Touch More Than Ever. https://www.khca.org/
Paediatr Child Health. (2010). The importance of touch in development. 15(3): 153–156.
Painting With a Twist. (2020). Twist at Home. https://www.paintingwithatwist.com/pages/twist-at-home/
Author: Tierra Carter, RD LDN
Edited: Hannah Parducho, RD to be