Do not let social distancing affect your mind. Here is some advice for maintaining emotional wellbeing without having physical contact.
Hugs, kisses, and handshakes have taken a backseat. The global health crisis triggered by COVID-19 has brought about a new social order where physical contact is frowned upon and even forbidden.
Months after having started the mandatory quarantine in many countries around the world, the effects of this social distancing have started to reflect in the mental health of many. According to Sergio García, a psychologist from Spain and collaborator for the EFE Salud website, “touch is the most primitive sense, the most elemental. At birth, babies need skin to skin contact with their parents as a source of stability, of knowing themselves.”
Mabel Burin, director of the Gender and Subjectivity Studies program, and of the postdoctoral Gender Studies program at the University of Business and Social Sciences of Argentina (UCES), explained in an interview with Página12 newspaper, that a lack of contact “can produce all kinds of psychosomatic symptoms, especially in people more inclined to this type of interaction, such as children, women, adolescents, and elderly adults.”
According to the expert, these psychosomatic symptoms can express themselves as all kinds of allergies, respiratory events, and anxiety that leads to psychomotor agitation, insomnia, and even an increase in violent behavior. However, she warns that because the world has never had similar social isolation experiences before, it is difficult to know how to reverse these types of effects.
However, Burin provides some preventative strategies for coping with confinement and the lack of physical contact in a healthy way:
- Have a good attitude, be moderately optimistic about the future.
- Recall pleasant past experiences, and if possible, relive them through photographs or videos.
- Prioritize virtual contact with friends, family members, and neighbors, or even try to meet new people using alternative technologies.
- Turn to art, writing, or physical activity to keep the zest for life from waning.
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