Human Connection without Touch

Elbow Bumps allow human connection without touching hands
The New Handshake: The Elbow Bump

Human connection without touch? Is that even possible?

I don’t think any of us realized until this time, how much humans touch one another. Of course, in our families we are constantly touching one another. We truly are mammals looking for touch and we give it freely and openly with our families – hugging, touching, holding, and more.

These days, we are now coming to realize how much we touch others who are not in our family inner circle. We greet friends with hugs, business associates with handshakes, and gym instructors with fist bumps. We are constantly touching others in our lives.

Many people are actually not comfortable with the welcome hug from the other, but, up until now, seemed to be a social taboo to not receive and give the hug. For these people, the times we are living in is providing some very welcome distance from touch from people. However, for many of us this is how we move through our days – with a touch here and a touch there.

Now, all of that needs to stop. Not only should you not touch, you should be 3 to 6 feet away from each other. So, what to do? How do we stay connected with limited to no touch?

Well, the elbow bump became one way to touch, but stay safe. However, with recommendations of staying apart from one another physically there is no longer room for touch among fellow humans. Yet, we need it. If you ever observe chimpanzees or gorillas, species that are so close to us, they are constantly touching and grooming each other all the time. Is it any wonder we seek to do the same through our own human ways?

Well, at home, with your loved ones and pets, I imagine a lot more touching is happening. Go ahead and do so – we all need it! If you don’t live with anyone, human or pet, reach out via technology for virtual hugs and touch. Even the symbols may help feel human touch and thus promote connection.

Another idea? Watch videos of people hugging and being together. The sense of sight will connect to the viewing of human touch and further help with feeling connected in this way. Of course, there is also the idea of touching other living things – such as hugging a tree or caring for plants and flowers. All are living parts of nature that can promote the idea of being connected to touch.

We may be limited in the amount of human-to-human touch at this time, but know that we all need it and get creative in bringing touch and connection into your life.

Virus Anxiety

Anxious Woman

The times we are living in are anxiety-provoking in general. Politics, resources, climate, and every day stressors seem to increase on an almost daily basis. And now, a pandemic comes along and hits our lives as well as the people we know and love in our community with full force. People are sick and a virus is spreading like a wildfire.

Many of us have been ordered to work from home, children are also being kept at home from school, nursing homes and hospitals have quarantined their residents, and large gatherings of people are no longer permitted. Beyond that, the economic impact is being felt by many who need to go to work to get paid, who do not have childcare options, who do not have insurance — quite simply put, most Americans know it is too expensive to get sick.

From the business angle, many people are just not going out to shop, to eat, to watch movies or just about anything else. The grocery stores are busy with people stocking up on supplies for at least two weeks, but that’s about it. A ghost town effect is severely hurting the ability of local business to stay open. Our communities may not look the same after this virus recedes with so many closings.

If you have anxiety brought on by this recent virus, it is understandable. The Washington Post just ran an article about it and I don’t think you necessarily have to have been diagnosed with an official anxiety disorder to feel anxiety about this virus. Will we get it? Do my loved ones have it? That cough I just coughed, is that the virus? When will things get back to normal? Will any of it be normal again? How will I pay my bills? All of these questions and more can make our minds and bodies extremely anxious.

Top tips for relieving anxiety are discussed in the article above, and I want to add a few of my own:

  • You may be isolated in your home from your work community and friends, but technology is wonderful in times like these. Make a point to reach out and check in through tech on a regular basis.
  • Go to your breath and breathe. Four counts in through your nose and four counts out through your mouth will help to slow you down. Your breath is always available to you for free. Let it help keep you calm during this time.
  • Try to keep some things normal for yourself. Walking your dog, getting some errands done, keeping to your daily routine of waking up and heading to bed, and other parts of life that can be maintained as you would normally would live will help give you something concrete to hold on to during this time.

There are many ways to calm anxiety from meditation, to nutrition, to exercise and more. Choose one or more that works well for you and do it. All things pass in due time. Keep this in mind at all times.

Be well!