I spent the first period of the lockdown alone in our house in Hoegaarden. My husband was in Oslo and couldn’t leave – due to the nature of his work and the crisis. I experienced a lack of (physical and eye) contact, felt alienated and overwhelmed; it was all too much. Three of the impacts of the lockdown that we’re not used to and that literally confuse our nervous system. I realize that there are many people who’ve run into the same problems.
In part 1 of this blog series, about video calling, I elaborated on the lack of eye contact we experience. As a result, we lack the safety that eye contact can offer. In the second part of this series I’ll go deeper into the lack of physical contact.
Hungry for touch
As the introduction suggests, my situation has now changed. After a few administrative hurdles and a long car ride, I joined my husband in Oslo. Now that – after not having touched anyone really for so long – I’m allowed to have physical contact again, and I notice a huge difference. I relax more easily and I can focus better. How is it that you can miss that physical contact in such a way that we can literally experience “skin hunger”?
Mourning what isn’t there now is allowed!
Let’s not beat about the bush. The lack of physical contact, the inability to hug a loved one when he or she needs it so badly, is distressing and painful. That’s allowed. I read an article by Bill Cornell in The Script, the ITAA magazine. In it he states that people often say that ‘working remotely’: it is better than nothing. That’s right, we should be grateful that we can still communicate with each other in this way.
But “better than nothing” ignores the basic needs of every person, namely connecting at a neurological level. We don’t even have to touch each other for that. By working remotely, we miss the physical presence of our colleagues or clients and the non-verbal communication that normally enriches our sessions. Bill Cornell says in his article: “Let’s grieve what is missing.” With this he acknowledges that, despite modern means of communication, there is indeed a gap.
The photo I used for this blog was taken during my trip to Oslo. I spent the night in a trucker’s motel and was all alone there. It felt desolate and almost surreal. I felt alienated from the world around me.
A common complaint today; alienation. The lack of physical contact makes us feel alienated from others, we feel stressed and we get very tired. The nervous system remains in insecurity / stress, especially if people are forced to be alone a lot during this period.
During these harsh times it is good to be kind to yourself. After all, we are all looking for kindness. This applies to you, to the people around you and also to our decision-makers. That’s why I would like to give you some practical tips:
- Look at yourself with compassion. Lower the bar further than you usually do. After all, you now tired more quickly than usual.
- Look at each other with compassion and take care of each other. Even if the people around you sometimes have a short fuse or are irritable.
- Look at the decision makers with compassion. They are also only people who are facing such a crisis for the first time. Assume that they do what they can out of good intentions. Looking at it this way may save you a lot of energy.
Need for thorough coaching
More than ever, thorough coaching is needed during and straight after this Corona crisis. As a coach you can prepare for this. You can arm yourself with new knowledge of TA and Embodied Coaching and Therapy, so that you know how to deal with stress and depression / alienation problems with your clients. At the TA Expertise Centre I have the knowledge to teach you how to become the top coach that your clients will soon need.
Do you want to know what possibilities I can offer you to further develop yourself? I would like to speak to you personally in a Strategy Conversation. During this conversation we look together where you are now, where you would like to go and which steps you need to take. If one of my courses fits in that process, I will tell you about it. If other options are better for you, you will hear that honestly.
Are you interested in such a strategy conversation? For the time being I’m offering them for free. For more information, see this page. You can also schedule a meeting in my diary right here, at a time that suits you best.