• Cheryl Sol

Touch During Times of Isolation

We need to talk about HUMAN TOUCH.

To recognize that extended social distancing and the lockdown situation starts to become DEEPLY ISOLATING for people living alone, the elderly who cant be visited by their families, those in quarantine.

We see and hear of this in countries who have had weeks and weeks of LOCKDOWN.

We are WIRED TO TOUCH and BE TOUCHED from the moment of birth until we die. We are emotional beings and touch is one of the most important GATEWAYS TO OUR SENSES..

Loving touch regulates babies emotionally, it regulates temperature and it promotes emotional and intellectual development.

Today, skin to skin touch is used to bond with babies and develop a sense of connection. Throughout life touch is associated with a greater sense of well-being, belonging and is a protection for the IMMUNE SYSTEM.

It slows your heart rate and releases oxytocin, a feel good bonding hormone that helps you feel connected.

I am not talking here about unwelcome or inappropriate touch.

Some people do not like to be touched at all, no matter who it is by. That we recognize and then lack of touch will feel more of a relief. But for others, through even subtle touch like a hand on the shoulder we demonstrate support, collaberation, trust.

In being touched we can feel soothed, understood, safe, desired, a sense of belonging. A HUG CAN REPLACE 100 WORDS

So when we are deprived of it, we can start to feel TOUCH DEPRIVATION. A SKIN HUNGER. A sense of loss, low mood and a deep disconnection.

SO WHAT CAN YOU DO if you are experiencing a longing for those you love, not just to speak to them but also to hold them, smell them and feel their presence.

  1. Keep your senses alive even if it sometimes feel painful. We are sensory beings. Don't deaden your feelings to cope.

  2. Do stay in touch - hear their voices, see their faces if possible.

  3. Be touched by kindness of others.

  4. Touch others lives as well.

  5. Really notice your surroundings - breathe in the air and be aware of its coolness as it enters your nostrils and lungs.

  6. Touch the earth if you have a garden. Even a balcony garden. Dig with your hands. Walk without shoes.

  7. Make an effort to feed yourself well. - let a friend know what you are cooking and have a virtual dinner together.

  8. Find people to laugh with

  9. Acknowledge when you are sad and lonely. Then reach out or just be with it for a while. If it persists seek help.

  10. Use your body. Dance, move, exercise - whatever you do turn your attention to how your body is feeling, where it is moving. This is being mindful.

  11. Notice what you touch - the feel of the broom, the feel of the shower on you, touch the grass. Avoid surfaces you are not sure of.

  12. Finally - this is temporary. You will be reunited. If you were isolated even before this, it is time to look at why and what you can change when you are allowed out again.