I’m in California and we are still on lockdown and so are told not to hug people, which makes this exercise hard. I’m wondering what impact the pandemic will have on our collective ability to connect and support each other.

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I just thank you for your question. Obviously, your physical health is a big deal, but mental health is also important. Hugs from if you have children, grandchildren are starting points. Animals, I found that when we can’t have physical touch, if you’ve got a pet, a cat or a dog, I found that they’re very effective. But obviously I’m concerned about physical health and we have to do that. Healthy touch, a big deal and we’re not getting it. So my experience and my belief with COVID right now is we have to make sure that we’re physically distancing as much as possible. But, if you’ve got family that are close to you that haven’t been experiencing symptoms, sometimes a physical touch and meaningful eye contact can be very helpful because we miss that touch.

So my suggestion is to take into account the medical advice in your state, but also consider, if you have to wear masks and face coverings and make sure that you’re germ-free. But if their friends, children, pets, animals are another option, those are things that I would suggest. But boy I’ll tell you, it’s hard right now. It’s hard for everybody’s mental health, because we’re trying to figure out touch. And sometimes we can eye contact from a distance, and it’s not as close as we would maybe normally get, but eye contact would be another way to do that. It’s just smiling, facial expressions. And obviously more FaceTiming, rather than talking on the phone, maybe a little bit more FaceTime, so you can actually see facial expressions and communicate that way.

I’ve known people who’ve gone to care centers to visit their parents and had to stay outside the window, but they still went and they heard their voice and they saw them. To me, we’re having to adjust in as many ways as possible but don’t disregard your state’s recommendations. But maybe find some newer strategies that might be helpful.

Anyway thank you, thank you for your question. The reality is I’ve seen people do it through zoom and through FaceTime. So that’s one of the things I would suggest, but it’s so different. We’re in such a different time. Something that maybe we’ve never had to deal with, we’ve never had to deal with at least in our generation, but we have to adjust. And again, if there’s a lot of that, I would certainly recommend more video conferencing, maybe distancing meetings where you can have the six or eight feet distance, but still be able to see each other.

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