Kids & Family

Need A Hug? See How Families Are Staying Close During The Crisis

All it takes is a little creativity (and a lot of disinfectant spray!) to safely provide a little comfort.

As another week of social distancing looms ahead, people all over the world are starting to feel the effects of not being able to see – or touch – their loved ones. The lack of physical contact is especially difficult for those who live alone and already have very limited interaction with the outside world.

That's why people are coming up with creative ways to hug each other during the crisis.

Kathy Alleman comes from a family of huggers, so she says the lockdown has been hard on her parents, who haven't been able to hug their children in almost a month.

So, Alleman sent up a "Hug Curtain" in her driveway in Pierre Part, LA, using a transparent shower curtain.

Alleman came up with the "hug curtain" so that she could hug her loved ones during the pandemic. Kathy Alleman/Facebook

Now, she and her loved ones can wrap their arms around each other without the fear of passing any germs, thanks to the plastic sheet between them.

Alleman posted a video to her Facebook page after she used the hug curtain for the first time.

"It was such a real genuine hug that my parents needed to get them out of a funk," Alleman told WVLA about the experience. "Not hugging people somehow feels rude and with family, it's a necessity!"

The video included the message: "When ya mom n dad with tears in their eyes say 'I don't know how much longer we can go without hugging our kids,' you become desperate enough to invent the HUG ME CURTAIN! Cloroxed n sprayed ready for the next hugs."

Alleman wipes the curtain down with a disinfectant, sprays it with a garden hose and dries it with a blower between uses to keep her family safe.

Another hug-deprived family in Arkansas created a plastic hug blanket that is also made of a clear shower curtain. The curtain hangs in the family's doorway and has arm holes and plastic sleeves that the "hugger" can put their arms inside of for a germ-free embrace.

Another family created a similar "hug blanket" to keep close in a safe way during lockdown. Paul Ayoub/Facebook

"It was my wife's idea that I didn't support in the beginning, it was just a crazy idea," Paul Ayoub told UPI.

Ayoub's wife came up with the idea so that she could hug her sister-in-law's new baby once she was born.

Ayoub posted a video to social media of his family using the hug blanket. The video quickly vent viral and Ayoub credits his wife with making him "Tik Tok famous" during the pandemic.

"I think people are missing things that we take for granted, like little things like a hug," Ayoub said of his sudden internet fame. "In a time where things seem helpless and scary, people gravitated towards it."

While the idea of a 'hug curtain' would have sounded crazy a month ago, it's just another example of how people are coming up with new ways to be together during the pandemic. If it helps people feel less lonely, then what's the harm? As long as they're staying safe, we say hug away!

How can you start something good?

While you might not want to make a 'hug curtain,' there are other ways to stay connected with your loved ones during the coronavirus lockdown.

Mental health experts say that just making an effort to connect with someone can reduce stress levels and boost oxytocin release (those are the 'cuddle hormones' that are released from the brain when you hug someone).

If you're chatting over Zoom, you can ask your friends and family members how they're feeling. Or suggest singing a song together, doing yoga or dancing – all activities that have the same benefits as physical connection (and no plastic sheet needed!).

Let's #StartSomethingGood together.

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