Cuddling in times of corona - 7 tips for feelings of security despite "social distancing"
What can you do to stay healthy and happy in these times of forced physical distance? What can you do for your loved ones if you don't live as a single person and what can you do especially for yourself - single or not? In this article I would like to show you some possibilities.
"Social Distancing" means having to face life alone, i.e. going through difficult emotions without being able to be close to extended family, friends and touch. This is not only a great emotional challenge, but this lack of connection is also very bad for the human body itself and can lead to a long-term trauma reaction in the worst case. Our stress level is constantly increased and as a result cortisol (a stress hormone) floods our system, which has negative effects on psyche and body. We need oxytocin to flush cortisol out of our body. But how?
Feelings of security can be a key here, because the feeling of belonging is absolutely necessary to stay healthy. We are social beings and if we lack touch and contact, we feel excluded and thus life-threateningly challenged on a very deep unconscious level (This deep level equates being excluded with freezing, starving and death from predators). Keeping virtual contact can help, but it does not replace the actual physical encounter and loving touch. Only this one conveys to our body the following: You are part, you belong, you are safe. Especially as singles we are on our own and might experience feelings of loneliness and even depressive episodes during this time of isolation. It is important to steer against this in order not to let these episodes turn into chronic depression.
Another problem is the great uncertainty: "What will I possibly lose? When and, above all, how do I go on?" The human brain and also the human body do not like this level of uncertainty. It is therefore important to develop daily habits that counteract the downward spiral of dull thoughts and the resulting negative emotions. This creates security for you and your family. We should and must consciously work against those negative emotions and opt for relaxation and well-being. The added benefit is that most of these daily habits strengthen your immune system and help you deal with difficult emotions.
So, what to do? Which new habits are helpful? Here are 7 tips that I myself also practice and that help me.
Touch is the be all and end all when it comes to belonging and feeling secure. Fears melt away, pain is reduced and our body gives us a variety of feelings of well-being. Therefore, cuddle for your life. Cuddle with your loved ones. Take fixed times for this, set an alarm clock for the minimum cuddling time and build cuddling (independent of sex) firmly into your life. Hug more often and longer. Give yourself touches on the side that say: "You are important to me."
You're alone? It is not the same but there is a way to enjoy loving touch: self-cuddling. Self-touching is calming because it lowers the stress level in the brain and provides relief. Unconsciously, we often do this: We rub our forehead, embrace the neck, tousle our hair and in case of stress or headaches we massage our temples. Use this knowledge and touch yourself consciously. It may feel strange at first, because it is still unfamiliar. But do not give up, discover yourself: What is the most comfortable pressure and speed for you? Which parts of your body have you never touched consciously before? Let's learn unintentional self-touching and integrate our whole body, awaken it and become more sensitive, Practicing self-touching brings also the benefit of experiencing greater sensuality and pleasure in sexual contexts.
Face: Massage the temples and forehead, slowly moving the fingertips up and down the entire outer edge of the face, then from the forehead down over the nose, mouth and chin.
Arms and hands: Slide your hand along the inner and outer arm, let your arms dance snake-like around each other and massage your own hands.
Neck and shoulders: Massage the shoulders, the neck with your hand, with your fist, caress yourself gently with your fingertips. It is important to lie very relaxed on your back so that no new tensions arise.
Front: Stroke your sides, the belly (circular), or paint an 8 on the sternum. Adjust your legs, stroke and massage your thighs.
Self-hug: Embrace yourself. Several variations are possible. Cradle yourself gently back and forth.
What is important here is the demarcation from masturbation in order to address and satisfy both needs (that for unintentional unconditional touch and that for sexual fulfillment and sexual expression).
Touch and sex
A particularly high feeling of security arises when sexuality is consciously lived. That is why having sex is not a matter of relieving tension or killing time because you are bored and have access to the Internet. It is about giving love to yourself or your loved ones in the metaphorical sense of this act. To respect you and yourselves as sexual beings and to fulfill this need. Time, slowness and mindfulness are the key to happiness here, and because of that the same applies here: Take your time, explore yourself, leave the beaten track.
Keep in touch with your friends and family. The possibilities are versatile and easily accessible. And even if grandma and grandpa still refuse Skype, there's phone or the good old post. Write a card or letter again. Sharing, knowing how your loved ones are doing or getting something off your chest is a relief. And vice versa, when someone leans on your virtual shoulder, it gives you a feeling of being valuable. Above all, share good news and avoid conversations that would increase the fear and insecurity in you and the others. Make each other laugh. Laughter is a lasting mood enhancer and immune booster.
Inspiration: Have a slumber party via zoom. Laugh, dance together, tell stories, read to each other. You will not be able to touch each other physically, but you will be connected.
Warmth conveys cosiness and comfort. The pores open, the body feels wide, a certain softness comes into our being and tensions will simply melt away. Studies have shown that we behave more empathetically after contact with something warm - just holding a cup of tea is stimulation enough. The sensation of warmth on the hand/skin is therefore sufficient to flow through us with comfort. Take your time to perceive it consciously before drinking it slowly. Notice how the tea or even better the cocoa warms you from the inside and expands your heart. Lie down with your favourite book and a hot water bottle or enjoy a bath. Light a fire or if that is impossible, as it is for most of us, light a few candles and watch the dance of the flames. If you are not alone, enjoy the warm skin contact with your loved ones.
Cacao instead of coffee
Drink cacao, preferably ceremonial cacao or use slightly deoiled organic cacao powder. This powder contains all or many of the original substances which, among other things, are responsible for the release of happiness hormones. Those are only contained in fractions in conventional drinking chocolate. But cacao can do even more. It does not only warm the stomach, but also the heart and soul. It relaxes, brings us down and makes us feel slower (in a good way), more grounded and connected. It shows us our true needs in the gentlest way possible. Unlike coffee, which gets us into our head, into functioning and speed, cacao helps us to take care of ourselves and go into self-care.
Here is an incredibly delicious recipe: Take deoiled cocoa powder, oat milk, dates, cinnamon and a few almonds and mix everything in a blender. Then warm up gently and enjoy. The smell alone fills your house with a homelike feeling. You can order ceremonial cocoa, learn more about the effects of cocoa and discover more recipes at "Cacaoloves.me“ .
Inspiration: Invite your loved ones to a shared cocoa ceremony, even virtually.
Nature and sun
Well known and incredibly important, because it makes a huge difference if our skin gets sun or not. If so, we release happiness hormones. And if it rains? - Also, great! Get out and brave the elements. Consciously feel the drops and decide to find exactly this weather amazing right now.
As on the outside so on the inside. As in large as in small.. ... .
Surrounding yourself with beauty helps you to maintain a good and stable inner state. Therefore, ask yourself the following questions: What fills my heart with joy? What do I like to do? What do I like to see/smell/taste/hear/feel?
Here are a few tips for ways to access the resource of beauty:
Tidy up - one drawer a day. Just get started. Create space and create beauty in your home with the things you already have. This is not about the big renovation. Maximize the corners you like to see and minimize the corners and drawers that scream: Clean me up! They create stress. Here is an inspiring Video - why you should fold your clothes neatly. ; )
Use the time wisely. Spending the whole day without the slightest purpose will dull your mood. But: Consciously doing nothing is not dawdling!
Use the power of good vibrations and only let things into your system that are uplifting and positive: Music, movies, books, news. Make your choices consciously. This is not the time for horror movies or dramas that will tear you apart because of their injustice and sadness.
Inspiration: Not only cacao but also other smells create feelings of security and home in us. Make conscious use of the power of smells. Aromatic oils for heart opening, such as rose or geranium, will fill your home with a gentle scent. (If possible, use diffusers and not scented lamps). For Aura Soma (colour-, aroma-, plant- & gemstone energy, which works on a mental & emotional level) I especially recommend the Pomander Magenta - it stands for self-love and self-care. Use it as room spray and "bathe" in self-care.
The power of thoughts
Concentrate on beautiful thoughts, because they create beautiful feelings. I am quoting the Talmud here to illustrate what I am trying to express with this paragraph: "Pay attention to your thoughts, for they become words, pay attention to your words, for they become actions, pay attention to your actions, for they become habits, pay attention to your habits, for they become your character, pay attention to your character, for it becomes your destiny! Thoughts have power. Use them consciously.
The attitude how we approach things or how we view and classify experiences has a great influence on our mood. Therefore, decide consciously which messages you listen to, which conversations you have. Do they strengthen you or rather weaken you? Be aware that difficult emotions, including fear and sadness, cause stress and tension. This can prevent us from sleeping well and being able to concentrate on our tasks during the day. Bad mood and nervousness are often the result, and our negative mood will spread to our loved ones. So, if you don't take steps to clear your emotions and instead choose to hide, numb or ignore them, they will overwhelm you sooner or later. You erase negative emotions off your system by allowing them to happen: So, cry, allow the waves. To get access to them, shaking your body is a powerful tool. Whether with or without music. Set your alarm clock for 20 minutes and shake your body as it wants. Everything starts flowing and the tense feelings can be expressed more easily or simply shaken off. Once they are "shaken out of the system", there is room for expansion and relaxation again.
Inspiration: The Vera-Birkenbiehl-Smile. Click here for the video. (Only available in German, I'm afraid.)
How you best deal with stress will be discussed in another article. Here is a little foretaste.
Exercising helps to break down adrenaline, a stress hormone that can accumulate in our bodies during times of anxiety. The best remedy for this is sport, as it allows the adrenaline to be used for its original purpose: exercise. (Stress sets the escape-fight mode in motion. Adrenaline floods us so that we are able to run or fight). Sport lowers the adrenaline level in the blood. So, go to the next park and run. My personal favourite recommendation here is the trampoline, because jumping also pours out endorphins and brings good mood and ease.
Meditation has been proven to calm us down and allows us to breathe deeply, especially in stressful times. A haven of peace, a true time-out. Thoughts can flow and the mind purifies itself. It is not about immediately entering a deep meditative state, This goal would only create new stress. It is simply about moments in which simply nothing happens and nothing is supposed to happen. Sit or lie down (with your legs bend when in the lying position, it is then less likely that you will fall asleep) and just be present with what is right now: the thoughts, the breath, the sensations of your body. There is no wrong. Set an alarm clock and start with 5 minutes. And if it stays at 5 minutes, that too is immensely valuable.
No matter how, when, for how long, whether - of necessity - alone or also in "twos", in "threes", ... just start to be good to you. Let your imagination run free and cuddle on all levels.