National Hug Day was first recognized in the U.S. in 1986 when Kevin Zaborney, a Michigan native, realized there wasn’t a day set aside to encourage friends and family to reach out and give someone a hug. It’s observed every year on January 21 to break up the long stretch of time between observed holidays and the dreariness of winter. It’s now recognized around the world and is called Hugging Day or Hug Day in some countries.

We haven’t been able to do a lot of hugging lately, with our efforts to prevent COVID-19 by physically distancing. We’re missing those warm embraces! A warm hug is more than just embracing someone. A hug is a powerful weapon for health and well-being, emotionally and physically.

In the spirit of National Hug Day try some alternative ways to feel warmth and comfort when the real thing is hard to come by.

1. Pour a hot cup of tea
Enjoying a cup of tea can help ease feelings of anxiety. Peppermint tea may help you to feel not only invigorated but also reduce feelings of anxiety. Chamomile tea is another option that helps relieve anxiety and has a remarkable way of soothing an upset stomach. Lavender, too, has long been recognized as a mood stabilizer and can help ease feelings of anxiety. For more information about the benefits of tea for easing anxiety visit com.

2. Snuggle up with a weighted blanket
A weighted blanket provides firm but gentle pressure on your body and has been shown to offer a number of short-term health benefits. In addition to helping you feel calm and comforted, it can also help you sleep more soundly.

3. Practise guided meditation
Participating in a guided meditation session is a great way to begin to learn the practice of meditation. Mindfulness meditation teaches you to slow down racing thoughts, let go of negativity, and calm both your mind and body. The Bright Spot offers Mindfulness Meditation sessions Mondays to Thursdays. Join us.

4. Spend time with your pet

When you can’t give a human a hug, try hugging a furry friend. There are many studies that suggest giving our four-legged friends a big hug or just spending time with them helps to keep our spirits up. When we give our pet a hug, oxytocin, a hormone associated with love, connection and trust, is released in your brain.

Happy Hug Day! When you’re unable to hug someone you love, try these alternatives to the real thing. Tap into a variety of ways you can feel comfort and warmth on National Hug Day, and any day thereafter.