• Cheryl Sol

Touch During Times of Isolation

Updated: Mar 16

We need to talk about HUMAN TOUCH.

To recognize that extended social distancing and the lock down situation starts to become deeply isolating for people living alone and the elderly who cant be visited by their families.

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 and promotes emotional and intellectual development. Today, skin to skin touch is used to bond with babies and develop a sense of connection.

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.

For most people 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.

In being touched we can feel soothed, understood, safe, desired. Through even subtle touch like a hand on the shoulder we demonstrate support, collaberation, trust.

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.

  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. Have a pet if possible. They love cuddles.

  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.

  11. Notice what you touch - the feel of the broom, the feel of the shower on you, touch the grass.

  12. Finally - this is temporary. You will be reunited. However, 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.