Hugs for the Holidays!

How many hugs do you give and receive a day?

#hugs #susanstrasser #susanstrasserblog #amwriting

A basic internet search states that we need at least four hugs a day to survive, and 8 daily to maintain ourselves. But 12 or more is perfect!

Another article talked about the specific benefits of hugs ranging from reducing stress (duh!) to decreasing food cravings (ooh!) to boosting our immune systems (take that, winter colds, Covid, and flu!)

But seriously, hasn’t one of the early Christmas gifts of 2021 been to freely hug our family and friends again? I, for one, am so grateful for the Covid vaccines this year to allow us to do this.

But to get around 10 hugs a day? That’s a lot!

I think about my single girlfriends and how exchanging that many hugs with family and friends might be more of a challenge. But if you have a pet, snuggling with them counts, too!

Me?  I am lucky, having myself, my husband, two kids, and two cats with which to snuggle. Morning and bedtime hugs with each of my family members put me in pretty decent physiological shape. So where could my other hug “sources” reside? Well, locally, of course! Some of my best friends live within 10 minutes of my house, so if I can, I call or text and see if I can stop by and get a good, loving embrace in (and maybe a few minutes of chat) before I go on my way.

Everyone is so busy— especially right now— but perhaps entertain the notion as you are shopping, running Christmas presents to the post office, or just indulging yourself in a Starbucks drink— who might be home that you could exchange hugs with? Or even better, with a few hours’ notice, be available to meet you at Starbucks and have maybe a 30-minute visit sandwiched between those hugs?  (Yes, those damn sugary drinks are good, but time catching up with a friend is better! Even if you think you don’t have the time. My friends inspire me, and I often get really recharged by not only the hugs but the conversation. Win-win!)

And is it just me, or does that parting hug after a good chat with a girlfriend contain more oxytocin release than the initial embrace? I bet! I’m sure I’m more relaxed and my muscles are more receptive to the exchange of love and energy between my friends.

My children and husband and I are all good huggers. I’d like to think we taught them that! After all, a full-body hug is healing and mood-elevating. Also these embraces with my dear friends are bonus stress-relievers that all help get me through this season.

After all, even I can worry about the gifts arriving (Oh, Amazon!) on time (Oh, Amazon!) or whether to make the same meals, but what’s really important?

Hugs, of course! Where are those cats at?

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