What the “Year Without Hugs” Taught Us About Our Need For Physical Touch

Megan Devine is a psychotherapist, writer, grief advocate, and the founder of Refuge In Grief. She is dedicated to helping people live through the things they never thought they’d face.

We’re starting to see discussion of what “the year without hugs” is doing to people. Humans need touch. It’s that simple.

This is something many grieving people have known for a long time (especially widowed folks). Sometimes we call this “skin-hunger” – that absence of physical touch and the loss and longing that absence creates.

From The Guardian: “As adults, we may not comprehend the importance of touch even when it disappears. “We might begin to realise that something is missing, but we won’t always know that it’s touch,” says Prof Francis McGlone, a neuroscientist based at Liverpool John Moores University and a leader in the field of affective touch. “But when we talk about the problem of loneliness, we often ignore the obvious: what lonely people aren’t getting is touch.”

Obviously, this is a big issue in this global pandemic pause. For people living alone, there has been a void-of-touch for nearly a year now.

How has the lack of touch affected you – this last year and in your grief itself? Let us know in the comments.

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