What To Do When You Need a Hug and Live Alone

I remember a specific instance when I was in college where I needed a hug. Not a “Hey, it’s good to see you!” hug, but an embrace that would almost crush my lungs with the force of it.

I went to my friend Marco’s house and told him to hug me as hard as he could, even if he broke a rib. That’s what I needed.

Marco, being the good friend that he is, hugged me just hard enough I was convinced he would break a rib but stopped just short of the actual crack. It was one of the most cathartic, memorable hugs of my lifetime and I am forever grateful.

You know that feeling you get when you just…need a hug? 

Like, a big bear hug that completely envelopes you and relays the fact that you’re safe and you’re ok and you’re accepted and you’re loved and it probably hurts but in all the right ways?

What if you live alone/are traveling/are introverted and can’t get that immediate body-to-body fix?

Here is a list of my favorite ways to get the same affects of the bear hug when you can’t get the real thing:

  • hug your pet
    • putting your ear on a heartbeat will automatically reduce yours, not to mention, most pets can tell when you’re feeling down and they’re willing to do anything they can to bring your mood up!
  • snuggle your teddy-phant
    • I seriously still have my stuffed animal from my infant years. His name is Buddy and he’s an elephant who is almost totally decapitated, losing his arms, his tail and is the perfect size for a snuggle
  • cuddle a pillow
    • It’s soft and almost always readily available
  • treat yourself to a guilty pleasure date
    • What treats to you want to eat/sip/watch/listen to that you don’t necessarily divulge to your friends and family? (wine, cheese and replays of Queer Eye, anyone?)
  • reach out (even if only via text) to people you know are a positive force
    • you don’t have to tell them you need a hug, just the contact will help
  • draw a hot bath
    • bonus points for candles, salts, bubbles and a good book
  • journal self love and self care
    • write out your gratitudes and the things that you’ve done that make you proud!
  • find things that please your senses
    • soft things, smooth things, things that smell good, sound good (silence is always a winner), taste good, things that are easy to digest through all the senses

Recently I had such an evening where I felt like I needed a hug. It was a flip from how I’d been feeling the majority of the day and it felt urgent. In the past, I might’ve turned to drinking or meaningless sex as a coping mechanism that would ultimately leave me feeling worse the next day. I’m glad to have these new tools in my arsenal to deploy in times of need so that I can continue to get to know myself, find myself, be myself and love myself instead of reverting to old, unhealthy habits.

How do you give yourself the bear hug you need when there isn’t anyone else around?

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