Touch plays a vital role in soothing us and connecting our energy to others. However, during the pandemic, many of my empath and other patients are craving touch or “Vitamin T” (as I call it). Our regular sources of touch may have been taken away — hugging friends, a coworker’s pat on the back, getting massages and body work. Also, you might not be able to visit loved ones during this time.
If you find yourself “Vitamin T” deficient you are not alone. The following are 6 tips from my book Thriving as an Empath: 365 Days of Self-Care for Sensitive People that you can put into action to increase your Vitamin T levels.
1. Practice Grounding and Make Physical Contact with Nature
Sensitive people are drawn to nature and are at home there. Practice grounding by putting your bare feet or hands on the Earth. Experiment with touching tree trunks and feeling the beautiful sense of grounding coming from them. Even hug a tree! You can also lightly touch the delicate petals of flowers and the sturdy green shrubs. Bringing your sense of touch into nature among the trees, the flowers, meadows, oceans or mountains will increase your Vitamin T levels. I can relate to the poet Wordsworth when he writes about times in which “the world is too much with us” and about the peacefulness of nature. The natural world is an ideal place to retreat to and rejuvenate your sense of touching and being touched.
2. Cuddle with Animal Friends
Animals are givers of unconditional love. They heal us in many ways and lessen our stress. Perhaps you are an animal empath who feels a special connection to Earth’s creatures. Spend time enjoying your animal companions. Snuggle with them. Play together. Share some love. If you don’t have animals at home, smile at those going by on the street or in a park. Or play with a neighbor’s animal.
Cuddling stuffed animals can also be very soothing. Don’t let your adult mind get in the way by saying “This is only for children!” I love my stuffed animal friends on my bed and don’t hesitate to hug them and talk to them frequently.
3. Touch Soft, Sensual Materials
Spend time enjoying your sense of touch by running your hand over soft, sensory fabric or materials. Enjoy the feeling of fresh, crisp, sheets on your bed and soft cotton blankets. Let the bedding hug you. Focusing on the sensuality of a material’s texture will delight your sense of touch.
4. Hug Yourself
Hugging yourself is a way of sending loving vibes to your own body. Mostly, we operate out of our adult-self, the dedicated, goal-oriented persona that pays the bills, and goes to work. But activating your playful self, and being willing to send yourself loving vibes though your own touch (even though your mind might resist) can help increase your Vitamin T levels.
5. Place Your Hand Over Your Heart
In quiet, meditative moments, or whenever you feel lonely or stressed, place your hand over your heart and pat yourself until your feel comforted. Mothers do this to their infants to convey a soothing touch and to calm them down. Also you can visualize loving energy coming from your hand and traveling into your body. Just relax and don’t try too hard. This is a form of increasing Vitamin T and practicing self-healing.
6. Find Comfort in Spirit
Tuning into a higher power is a way of being touched by an invisible hand that is always near you. Spirit has many names: God, Goddess, love, nature, the great Mystery. Tuning into Spirit takes you beyond your small self, what Buddhists call “the monkey mind” of whirling thoughts, fears, and worries. You’re transported to an expanded version of yourself and you can feel divine love.
Above all, be loving to yourself during a touch-deficient time. Nurture your sense of own touch as much as you can. Receive loving energy from animals, nature, the sky, the stars and the vibrant power of life. Be touched by physical sources but also stay open to being touched by the compassion of the Infinite.
(Excerpt from “Thriving as an Empath: 365 Days of Self-Care for Sensitive People” by Judith Orloff, MD)