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Alternatives to hugging during a pandemic

Last Modified: 7/08/2020

Alternative to hugging

This post was written by Morgan England, Katie Haney, Michele Schnelke and Kylee Bennett, Youth Well-Being team, Parkview Health.

Alternative to physically hugging

There are many safe alternative options to physically hugging a friend or loved while still maintaining proper social distancing. With a little creativity and a positive attitude a few of these options can help you stay connected:

  • Utilizing your electronic devices: We are fortunate enough to live in a digital age, so let’s use it. You could make a phone call, FaceTime, chat via Zoom, try a virtual drawing class, start a partner story (one person starts, the next adds on, etc.) or send recordings to loved ones and friends.
  • Dance-off: You could waltz, salsa, tap or pop and lock into your loved one’s hearts. A dance-off could be a fun and creative way to get everyone involved while showing you care.
  • Care packages: Take a moment to create, cook or simply purchase something special for someone you love. Then, drop-off the care package or small gift on your loved one’s front porch.
  • Positive gestures: Making a heart with both of your hands, an air hug, a wave or a tip of your hat can be a nice gesture to show you care while still adhering to social distancing practices.
  • Sign language: Try saying “I love you” in sign language.
  • Arts and crafts: A homemade card or special drawing could go a long way to say you care.
When is physically touching safe?

As we all continue to walk through this pandemic, it’s not always clear on what’s safe. Try a few of these alternatives to hugging to show and receive affection:

  • When surrounded by those you are currently quarantined with physical touch can be even more important. Try offering one another even more hugs and kisses during this unpredictable time.
  • Spend extra time snuggling with or petting fur family members.
  • If you do decide to interact with those not in your immediate family, instead of a hug or handshake, try an elbow touch or foot tap.
What are the benefits of hugging?

Did you know that hugging is extremely beneficial and an important part of our daily needs? Research states the following…

  • We need around 8 hugs per day to reap the greatest benefits.
  • Hugs help reduce stress by acting as a support mechanism.
  • Hugs can make us happier while building trust and a sense of safety.
  • Hugs are a form of touch that can help us communicate and send messages with one another.

So, take advantage of those in your immediate household and hug them! But, for those you are not currently quarantined with try a few of these alternatives to help stay connected and show you care.

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