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April 14, 2020

Coronavirus and the Loss of Hugging

I’ve been a seasonal worker for more than 10 years now. My life consists of saying goodbye, and hugging hello the people I care about.

Hugging is a large part of our lives as humans, and not just for those of us living the seasonal beast.

We’ve all heard the statistics about hugging:

*It reduces stress

*It boosts our immune systems

*It reduces fear

*It gives us a healthy heart

Therapists have claimed that we need four hugs per day for survival, eight hugs for maintenance, and 12 for growth.

In these unprecedented times we currently find ourselves in, where social distancing is not only suggested, but required, it can only be natural for us to feel alone and lonely, despite the fact that we’re all suffering together.

And that’s just it – we are all suffering. Coronavirus is a global pandemic that has affected each and every one of us on some level. And what do humans do when we’re suffering? We hug.

The impact that a lack of hugging has had on me personally as a seasonal worker is that returning home after being away for six months, I now am not able to hug the people who are important to me.

And that is a very lonely feeling.

Standing six feet away from a friend I haven’t seen all winter is nearly more depressing than going away for the winter in the first place. I need to feel my heart close to another heart.

We take for granted the power of hugging, but now that it’s not available to us we’re realizing just how important hugs truly are. And it’s not just me feeling overly sensitive and alone; nearly everyone I talk with has proclaimed how depressed and lonely they’re feeling due to not having hugs in their life.

We all seem to be in this slump of depression and are experiencing a lack of motivation. A friend I talked with today said that without being aware of it until today, he has reached this point of just giving up. And this guy is one of the happiest people I know.

Coronavirus has not just stressed us out financially and physically, it’s beaten us down emotionally. Self-quarantine and social distancing go against what makes us human, and while the naturally anti-social people are probably in heaven with all of this, most of us are not made to be solitary.

I don’t get sick very often, but I’m always a bit grateful when I do because it makes me appreciate feeling healthy, something I tend to take for granted. I feel that coronavirus is going to be the same – once it’s over, we’re all going to appreciate hugs and human interaction so much more than we did before.

For me, once it’s socially acceptable to hug someone without being burned at the stake for it, everyone I know is going to get a least 12 hugs per day.


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