But look, Luisa, my companions told me, if you ever feel that sins bend your legs and empty your stomach, go to the field, away from people; look for a leafy tree, hug it and tell it everything you want. But only when you can’t take it anymore, Luisa, because that can only be done once.Elena Garro, The Tree or Fragment of a Diary (1958)
The hug is a human expression that motivates the highest thoughts; There is even a World Hug Day, to celebrate this sign of affection. He is credited with Kevin Zaborney, a pastor from the state of Michigan, United States; who cared for young offenders and thought that violent environments, lack of empathy and love for others, had led many young people to crime. He was also concerned about the few displays of affection that people show in public, even between families. So it occurred to him to create a day to hug and his community shared it. It was established in a United States calendar for the first time on January 21, 1986 and soon became popular and spread to the world.
Zaborney’s initiative was not just a passing fad, doctors affirm that the benefits of hugging are infinite for health and scientifically proven; for example, it strengthens the immune system because it increases the production of white blood cells that help fight infections and diseases. Hugs regulate blood pressure by producing the hormone oxytocin, which gives the body a feeling of pleasure and because of the hug, the brain also produces serotonin that influences mood and generates happiness.
Hugging is a voluntary act, with great physical and emotional benefits, but the Covid-19 pandemic, which has forced us to maintain physical distance in order to avoid contagion, has put us in a very difficult situation, because by depriving us of this necessary act that we believed daily, we also develop feelings and emotions that are harmful to our body. Our calm and well-being have been violated in the absence of human contact and has led us to prolonged loneliness.
Some mental health experts have suggested the possibility of giving and receiving hugs in times of Covid-19. When asked what they’ve missed doing the most during social lockdown, some people say they long for family gatherings and students wanted to get back to their social life; but most people agree that he wanted to hug his loved ones again.
A woman in Canada, away from her mother for months, missed hugging her a lot but being an elderly person put her at serious risk, so she invented “the hug glove”, which consists of a huge plastic cape hanging from a rope like a clothesline and to which they placed four sleeves of the same plastic at the height of the two women. Thus, on Mother’s Day 2020 they were able to hug each other and the two women were happy with the experience. This ingenious invention of plastic protectors was reproduced by many grandfathers and grandmothers, around the world.
Mental health and medical experts who have explored the possibilities of hugging in the midst of the pandemic suggest methods to be approached with reservations and judgment that can never replace the spontaneous experience of hugging.
The first thing to remember is that virus infections occur through inhalation of saliva droplets from an infected person, which are spread by coughing or sneezing, so to prepare to hug, the first thing to do is to make sure that you are wearing a mask or face mask. correctly. The second thing is to make sure that the people who are going to hug each other do not have symptoms of respiratory infection and then you can proceed.
Hugs should be brief, turn faces to opposite sides so that they are not facing each other, avoid contact between hands and always wash them afterwards. It is suggested that it is better to do it in open places or outdoors and avoid talking during contact.
The risk of contagion, according to experts, is low, but it exists and the safest thing is to keep a healthy distance. In the future, hugs should be limited to close people, loved ones and people should be consulted if they want to be hugged.
In the cultures of Latin America, it is a great challenge to avoid hugging everyone we meet. Some traditions indicate that hugging a tree is beneficial because a liberating sensation is experienced and contact with nature connects us with the meaning of life. Hugging is a voluntary act that arises from one’s own impulse, it is something that you want and you don’t hug what you don’t want.
At Del Pueblo Funeral Home, we understand that refraining from hugging is an act of social responsibility and even emotional sacrifice to care for others. We suggest making expressions of affection and love in writing, by virtual message or by letter to our loved ones in the distance, we can tell them how much we miss them and eagerly await the moment to hug again. For now, we send you virtual hugs and remind you that we make the most difficult moments easy.