How to pamper yourself in times of Covid?


A man and a woman embrace.
A man and a woman embrace. (SIGRID OLSSON / MAXPPP)

Public Health France noted in its latest weekly update: The mental health of the French has deteriorated since the end of September. With an 11-point increase in the number of French who claim to be victims of depressive disorders, according to the CoviPrev survey. Every week he questions a sample of French people about their state of anxiety, stress related to the epidemic, imprisonment, financial situation. Today, this concern is on the rise in all categories and more particularly between the ages of 18-34. At the same time, all the people questioned are more numerous: 56% limit social interactions against 25% in the last survey at the end of October.

Not only that, but the lack of physical contact partly explains depressive states, a decline in morale and physical fitness in some. Research has already shown how important physical contact is for mental health and well-being. A 2016 American study of 600 mothers and their newborns showed how skin-to-skin contact, leaving the baby in direct contact with the mother’s skin after delivery, reduces stress for both. It must be said that there is a chemical explanation for this well-being: it is the release of a hormone by the brain: oxytocin. It helps to lower blood pressure and thus to reduce stress. A hug also triggers serotonin, and it is when we miss it that mood swings and even depression appear. And the confinement, the fear of Covid-19 fill us with adrenaline, the hormone that excites us, even us that makes us aggressive, while our mental health needs a chemical balance with the hormones of well-being.

Aware that physical contact within families is very important in countries such as Italy, Spain, France, two virology researchers from Griffith University in Australia have just written an article on The conversation where they give six tips to limit the risks: do not hug someone who has symptoms, or vulnerable people, the elderly or immunocompromised, do it with a mask by turning your head, not cheek to cheek, holding his breath a little. Finally, last tip: wash your hands before and after the brace. A little sanitized the hug, do you think? It is at this price that we can get some oxytocin and keep our sanity!

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