The biggest thing you lost during Covid. And the starvation you need to fix now!
Skin Hunger and Soul Food.
I’m now on zoom personally 4-6 times a week (courses, conferences and community), in addition 20+ times a week for clients.
It’s our new world.
This comes with a massive responsibility for us incorporate into our lives, the remedy for two things.
And Soul Food.
Now more than ever, we need to make sure we are getting regular touch. No one is immune. I have clients who are married and haven’t had sex in 5 years, I have clients who are single and living alone, no one is immune from Skin Hunger.
The increased usage in mobile and tech devices, and restrictions in contact has limited our skin contact. Watch politicians use elbow bumps. Social distancing has been needed but our emotional, mental and physical wellbeing is paying a price. I’m not saying you need to ignore social distancing, I AM saying you need to compensate for it.
Family tradition and culture will dictate how much touch you are used to. But one thing remains true. People have used touch in their quest to increase personal well-being; in their search to reach spiritual realism of a higher power.
Touch can be a significant healing tool.
A few months ago I had a Psychotherapy client. They were laying down and going through a particular process. I have worked with this client for many many months. Trust and boundaries are established. She was crying. I reached out and held her hand. Sobs. A tsunami of tears ensued. She later recounted that it was the healing feeling. The most intimacy she had experienced in over a year. Regardless of your sex or relationship status, holding hands can be incredibly intimate. Healing.
Some examples of healing Skin Hunger are:
Sex and orgasm
Patting a pet
If we’re not touched as babies, we die.
When we are born, we are 100% dependent on a caregiver to cloth us, feed and comfort us. All of those things require touch. If we are not touched there are development consequences, our bodies grow too slowly and our brains don’t fully develop
You never grow out of your need to be touched.
Touch helps us to regulate stress. Touch makes us more compassionate. Touch helps our body to release certain hormones and chemicals that make us relax and feel connected.
Some ways you can tell if you are suffering from skin hunger.
1. Aggresive behaviour
It’s interesting to study cultures where touch is more acceptable. Think Europe and certain parts of Africa. Each of the places I think of, have vastly less issues with anger. Then think of America, which can be extremely puritanical in its thoughts around touch and you definitely see increased aggression.
2. High stress levels
When touch receptors beneath our skin are stimulated, it can help reduce cortisol levels and blood pressure. When are really stressed and lack touch, we are unable to unwind. It’s a big reason why massage and therapy involving touch is so powerful and why we feel so good afterwards.
Loneliness can sometimes come about because we have not experienced touch in a long while. Some ways we can ease this feeling is taking long showers and baths. The warm and prolonged sensation of water touching the skin can help us to feel the touch receptors that allow us to unwind.
Weighted blankets can be incredible!! To alleviate the feeling of loneliness. Wrapping ourselves up in blankets can be healing as well.
4. Depression and Anxiety
Mental health issues can intensify when we experience skin hunger. A hug does not fix mental health issues. Ongoing therapy and therapeutic tools that involve touch can alleviate some symptoms, and we are able to feel more connected.
It’s common for depressed people to avoid contact with others. When healthy touch with boundaries are applied, it can open a floodgate of feeling.
My non-negotiable is bodywork. Every two weeks I have body work done. Yes it’s massage but done by an extremely qualified practitioner who is attuned to energetic healing as well. I grew up in a family where I NEVER saw either of my parents kiss or hug. Touch in my family of origin is extremely rare. As a result I have many clients who want to hug but don’t know whether or not to hug me. For the record I like hugs. Genuine and authentic hugs.
The remedy for Soul Food is broad and rich and needed now. Some ways I have been able to feed the soul is engage in community more. I have a local community and an online community.
Spend time in nature. Forest bathing. Walking along the beach. They emote strong feelings just thinking about it.
Movies has always been a way for me to feel more alive.
Music. My Vinyl collection is my pride and joy there is nothing more exquisite than putting on record. There is something spiritual about pulling a record out of its cover and turning it up.
Laugher. Belly bouncing, side aching laughter. It could be your favourite Netflix comedian, that friend with an irreverent sense of humour. Find your laughter.
Ritual. A sense of belonging and connection comes with any ritual. A ritual can be lighting a candle or it can be something you do with purpose and prepare for weeks in advance. You can do a ritual for any aspect of your life. Ritual brings meaning to my life. It brings a state of calm and richness to spirit and soul.
Your body and soul are crying out for connection. You are going to need to be proactive and schedule time to alleviate skin hunger. Soul food needs to be something you do everyday.
If you keep busy, you can avoid the need for touch. If you keep busy you can avoid soul food. But you will pay a price. Being happy and connected requires us to pay attention. Some people do meal preparation for the week. That same tactic needs to be applied to keep our soul happy. Just like you schedule exercise, you need to make time to incorporate touch. You don’t need to hunger for touch, but you do need to feed it and make space for it every week.
Skin hunger had soul food. It’s the medicine your body and soul need.