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COVID-19: Huggers, non-huggers split over physical distancing amid coronavirus pandemic

Some see it as a blessing. Others, a curse

For those who like hugs, mandatory physical distancing can be difficult to cope with. For others, it may be a blessing.

Moncton business-owner Yves Doucet is a self-proclaimed hugger. Before the coronavirus pandemic, he would regularly embrace his staff at DOVICO Software Inc., who know him as “CEO hugger.”

Doucet says he was feeling held back at the beginning of the pandemic. With physical-distancing regulations in place, he says he misses hugging.

“Hugging was a way for me to get human connection,” he says.

EagleSpirit, a wellness coach from Notre-Dame, N.B., says technology can help people stay connected but huggers may need to find comfort elsewhere.

“Think about other ways that you can connect with your physical environment,” she says.

“Think about the clothes that you are wearing, a favourite soft shirt; what are the sheets on your bed feeling like; do you have a pet you can cuddle?” says EagleSpirit.

Vancouver Anxiety Centre psychologist Christine Korol says people do need human touch.

“We’re social animals,” she says.

On the other hand, some people are enjoying the distancing regulations.

Beth Doiron says the mandatory two-metre physical distancing has been a blessing.

“Parts of this have been just perfect,” Doiron says.

She is not a hugger, and says she isn’t feeling a loss of human connection at all.

“This is the way life should be. You go somewhere and you know this is my space, this is your space,” she says.