The New York Times had an article by Tar Parker-Pope discussing the issue of how we miss hugs and we actually do need them. Physical affection reduces stress by calming our sympathetic nervous system, which during times of worry releases damaging stress hormones into our bodies. “Affectionate touch is how our biological systems communicate to one another that we are safe, that we are loved, and that we are not alone” (Johannes Eichstaedt, social scientist and psychology professor at Stanford University).
To learn the safest way to hug during a viral outbreak, Dr Linsey Marr one of the world’s leading experts on airborne disease transmission was consulted. She said “if you don’t talk or cough while hugging, the risk should be very low”. There’s tremendous variability in how much virus a person sheds, so the safest thing is to avoid hugs.
But if you need a hug, take precautions. Wear a mask, hug outdoors. Try to avoid touching the other person’s body or clothes with your face and your mask. Don’t hug someone who is coughing or has other symptoms.
Remember, some hugs are riskier than others. Point your faces in opposite directions - the position of your face matters the most. Hug grandchildren from behind and kiss top of their heads. Don’t talk or cough while hugging and do it quickly. Approach each other and briefly embrace. Don’t breathe into another person’s face and wash your hands afterward.
Try not to cry! Tears and runny noses increase the risk of coming into contact with more fluids that could contain the virus. We are fortunate that there have been 11 days without a new locally acquired coronavirus case in NSW and Sutherland Shire continues to have no active cases.
Quality Time and Family Connection Cards
Visit Happy You Happy Family for great ideas
Family connection cards remove the mental burden of figuring out the details of connecting with your child. You’ll fill your child’s connection tank without adding to your to-do list.
- Make up cards with your own ideas - Talk with your family about fun ideas, e.g., 10 minutes of crazy dancing, a fun board game, crazy hairstyles, craft, reading a favourite book, making up a drama/play and videoing it, sing crazy songs, 10 minutes of ball games outside, best pay dough/lego creations.
- Set an alarm - when the alarm goes off pick a card and do it.
- Bundle it with a temptation - do something you love after you have picked a family connection card to do with your child that day.
- Keep or share - keep the cards to yourself for your own personal inspiration or share them with your whole family and encourage your child to pick a card when they want to connect with you.
- Repair with five - science shows you need a ratio of five positive interactions to every one negative interaction. This is called the Magic 5:1 Ratio. After a negative interaction with your child, grab a card and reconnect with a positive moment or two so you can close the distance between you.
- Banish a bad mood - it’s a perfect time to pick a card and connect one-on-one.
- Hide them in plain sight - keep the cards anywhere in your home as a visual cue - on the kitchen bench, next to the phone charger and when you run into them and pick one, then choose another hiding spot in the home. Its like a personal family treasure hunt.