Missing Hugs

Tara Parker-Pope recently wrote an article for The New York Times called, “How to Hug During a Pandemic.” At first, it made me (Shannon) really sad, thinking about how we need to have rules and strategy on how to hug, but then, I realized, these precautions on the “new norm” hug, are necessary to fulfill a need we have to hug, but to also protect ourselves and others.

The article discusses the safest way to hug, as advised from scientists who study airborne viruses. It also reminds me of how much of a hugger I am, and seems awfully strange to meet people, or see people we haven’t seen in months, and not hug, nor even shake hands. I met with someone yesterday; we had a great conversation, and at the end of our time together, I immediately wanted to go in for a hug, but we opted to bump elbows instead.

As humans, we need hugs. I deeply miss them. It is said, in fact, that we need 12 hugs per day, for our emotional well-being to improve, and 8 just to keep our well-being at an OK level. Seriously! Hugs give us a sense of safety; they reduce stress levels, they show support, and they bring us together- physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Go ahead, count how many times you have hugged, or been hugged today. I am willing to bet that it isn’t even the 8 you need for status quo health. I myself, since learning about the importance of hugs, give hugs to Gerry and Betty White, multiple times/day and I will go ahead and speak for them, that I am most certain they are pleased with my new findings. 😊

Betty White, getting one of many hugs per day.

Hugs are difficult right now, especially while we are in the middle of a pandemic. I cannot help but think about those who are in quarantine alone. I’m not sure if anyone has created the virtual hug yet, other than the emoji. Someone should really get on that!

For us Southerners, we are a culture of huggers. I read once that a Southerner will hug a fire hydrant if the mood hits him/her and nothing else is available. While I haven’t hugged a fire hydrant, if I didn’t have my hubby or fur-gal, I would maybe hug a tree in my yard, to have a sense of normalcy within my hug domain.

While I won’t go into the dos and don’ts of how to hug to promote the spread of illness (you can find that here), I will say that it is my hope that at the end of all of this, which now I am adding to the hope list that this does, indeed, go away, that we all get back to hugging again. I for one, may turn hugging into the new handshake once this is all past us, so people, get ready!

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