Whether you’re spending them home alone, with your besties, or a special someone, all the holidays this year are a little different, and Valentine’s Day is no exception. To celebrate the day in a new way, Gucci has dropped a zine, LOVE LOVE LOVE; shot by photographer Brad Elterman. The vibrant project celebrates love in all of it’s wonderful forms, for a day that shouldn’t be just about romance, it’s all about the thing that makes the world go round.
Just like Marmite, Valentine’s Day is a national holiday that gets us talking year after year. It’s predicted that around 76% will be celebrating today, down by 3% from 2020. This year will be different: no dressing up to eat an overpriced set menu at a restaurant, inevitably surrounded by all the other couples, before an 11pm Uber home after you remember you can’t stay out all night because it’s a work night.
For 2021, we’ll still be in an almost year-long pandemic, limited to spending time with only the people we’ve been stuck in a bubble with. So it’s no surprise that some of us are starting to suffer from the effects of not being able to be close to the (other) people we love. And those effects are much more deep-rooted than we think.
As humans, our need for physical touch is innate. It’s the way we’re wired. Touch deprivation, or skin hunger, happens when a person experiences little to no touch from other people. And studies have shown that touch deprivation can lead to even more problems.
Neel Burton, a psychiatrist and author of the books Hypersanity: Thinking Beyond Thinking and Heaven and Hell: The Psychology of the Emotions, has spoken about how a lack of physical contact may cause some people to crave touch. How intensely a person feels that desire depends on many factors, including the person’s age, coping mechanisms, genetics, and their frequency of touch before the epidemic began.
“Some people may feel it within a week, others may never feel it at all,” Neel said. “No doubt the thought that you cannot hypothetically access touch—for example, by seeing a friend, or even booking a massage—makes the craving worse than it would otherwise be.”
It can cause us to feel lonely, craving attention and interaction from someone else. It can cause feelings of depression, making us feel low and making it harder for us to stay motivated. It can cause us to feel stressed, and it can even cause anxiety and alexithymia. People with this condition may have problems feeling emotions or struggle with feelings like empathy, it’s estimated that 1 in 10 people have it.
So what can you do if, like many this year, are suffering from affection deprivation? “Even if you have been hungry for touch for a long time, we are resilient and things will change,” says sex and relationship therapist, Shadeen Francis. Adapting to the pandemic and the necessity of keeping the country safe by staying at home means getting creative to meet certain needs like physical intimacy. Inspired by the Gucci LOVE, LOVE, LOVE zine we’ve put together some ideas to help give yourself some extra love, instead of breaking any rules to get your fix…
Weighted blankets have many benefits, the pressure from a weighted blanket is said to be similar to the feeling of a hug. Research has shown that a hug releases feel-good hormones, also known as oxytocin, which will help you relax and feel at ease. It has also been known to reduce blood pressure and slow down the heart, which improves sleep.
Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR), is the sensation some people experience when listening to ASMR videos, popularized in recent years on YouTube. ASMR sounds activate the area of the brain that processes touch and can help you to feel calm and relaxed. Like weighted blankets, ASMR has also been said to lower heart rates and cause an increase in positive emotions.
Dancing releases chemicals in the brain that promote happiness. It releases your DOSE (dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins). When these are released, they can make you feel happy and improve your mood. The movement also helps us reconnect with the physical senses of our body. So try putting on your favourite playlist or album to the highest volume, and dancing in your bedroom.
For some more cyber love, head over to Gucci’s zine online here.