A simple hug is so powerful. The connection, the warmth and the feeling of support when someone puts their arms around you. Whether its family, loved ones, friends or colleagues, it shows that someone cares through the comfort of purely pulling you in for a body squeeze.
Now when I run into someone I care about it feels slightly awkward. My natural instinct is to step in with my arms outstretched. There’s a moment when you just kind of smile and almost lean in without touching. It’s not the same.
Then there are the people I should have seen, spent time with or travelled to over the past several months. We have spent time on FaceTime or Zoom calls to keep the connection alive and personal, but we haven’t been in the same room now for so very long. We laugh about sending a virtual hug to each other, and whilst the thought is comforting, it is not the same.
Of course we can’t complain to much! We have technology that makes the distance feel a little closer, and we have the opportunity to step out and connect with friends and loved ones in a respectfully distanced manner… These things can’t be taken for granted. Especially when you see many communities and countries still facing tougher restrictions around households mixing.
Our closest family are not in the same country. So many people are facing different situations when it comes to family and close friends. Perhaps we are lucky in some ways. I’d be far too tempted to give my mum a big squeeze if she lived nearby.
The risks are all too real now however. As our parents get older we need to protect them, and COVID-19 particularly preys on those with underlying (known and unknown) conditions. With my son at school I’d be even more concerned if we had our parents nearby. This pandemic spreads quickly and we still don’t know a lot about its long term effects. Until there is a real vaccine available our hugs will need to remain a concept rather than a reality.
My husband plays a little game with our son. He asks for a hug but then challenges our son to hug without touching. It sends our son into fits of laughter as he tries to work out how to hug without touching. It’s become a game, and our son understands no different. He continually comes back for me.
Maybe us grown ups need to find the fun in a non-connecting hug. Stretch out those arms, and squeeze the open air. We can always make the best of a very strange and sometimes awkward situation. It may not feel as comforting but we can have a good giggle in the meantime!
Even better, give yourself a big hug. Throw your own arms around your body, close your eyes and just squeeze. In these situations we need to adapt and find opportunities to just be kind to ourselves.
Who needs a virtual hug? I’ve got plenty to spare! It’s not the same I know but it will do for now!