The COVID-19 global pandemic has changed how we connect with each other. Many of us are unable to see, touch, and show affection towards our loved ones in person. Most of us have to follow mask and social distancing guidelines when we spend time with them. Living this way has left so many of us starving for physical touch.
Physical touch is a basic human need. Going without it for long periods can impact our emotional, mental, and physical well-being. Giving ourselves daily hugs is one mindful self-care practice we can use to strengthen our well-being.
Hugging yourself is a FREE self-care practice that takes less than five minutes. It offers you an opportunity to practice loving kindness and strengthen your resiliency. A self-hug is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. All you have to do is decide and set an intention to give yourself a hug or hugs on a daily basis. Once you set your intention, take action and watch how your self-hugs turn into acts of self-love and self-empowerment.
Did you know that when you hug yourself, your body releases the hormone, oxytocin, the “love hormone”? Oxytocin helps reduce stress and tension by lowering cortisol (stress hormone) levels in the body. It also lowers blood pressure, slows the heart rate, and improves moods.
Hugging yourself for 20 seconds or more is a serotonin booster. Serotonin is known as the “feel good” hormone that is produced and spread by neurons in the brain. It helps you feel happy, calm, and confident.
Consider following the advice of family therapist Virginia Satir who is famous for saying, “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”
In an effort to help you navigate life during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Thriving Mindfully Academy has created the Self-Hug Challenge. It is rooted in our HUG3 self-care practice. HUG3 is an acronym that stands for:
H: Hold space for yourself with
U: Unconditional Love
G3: Grace, Growth, and Gratitude
May it inspire you to take better care of yourself with a daily hug!
Self-Hugging 101: There are many ways to hug yourself. Check out our six tips below.
- Fold your arms around your body. You can fold your arms across your stomach or just below your chest. Do what feels most comfortable.
- Take a moment to consider the type of hug you need in the moment. How do you want the hug to feel? Strong, intense, soft or soothing?
- Give yourself a nice squeeze with just enough pressure to create the hug experience you need.
- Feel free to gently rock back and forth while hugging yourself.
- If hugging isn’t your cup of tea, try giving yourself a gentle massage in the areas of your body you feel most comfortable with. You can start with your face, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, chest or belly. If it feels good, try the entire body!
- Use the Thriving Mindfully YoutTube playlist to keep you company as you hug yourself. Warning: The music may inspire you to dance and hug yourself at the same time! Watch out for the Thriving Mindfully theme song, “Be the REAL YOU” by Garnet Jay of Footprint Productions.
Self-Hug Challenge Tips: To help you get started with the Self-Hug Challenge, we have included tips to support you.
30-Day Self-Hugs: Try 1 hug for 20 seconds per day. Consider giving yourself a hug in the morning before you get out of bed. If the morning doesn’t work, take a mid-day hug break or end your day with a hug before you go to sleep.
60-Day Self-Hugs: Try 4 or more hugs that last 1 minute or more per day. Notice how the increase in hugs makes you feel. If it feels good, add more hugs to your day.
90-Day Self-Hugs: Make hugging a self-care maintenance practice with 8 or more hugs per day.
120-Day Self-Hugs: Take your hug life to the next level of growth with 12 or more hugs per day.
Additional Resources: Check out the Thriving Mindfully Academy’s resources.