DURBAN – While most people seem to be coping with the new realities of COVID-19: social distancing, lockdown and washing hands frequently for 20 seconds, the one area that is proving to be a difficult adjustment is not touching our faces. According to experts an average person touches their face about 23 times an hour.
When it comes to a disease like the coronavirus, such a behaviour makes us prone to infecting ourselves with disease by spreading the bacteria and viruses we pick up with our hands when we touch our surrounding environment or even other people and that is a recipe for fast transmission.
While medical masks don’t necessarily stop the virus completely they make it harder for one to touch the nose and mouth. Here are some tips and tricks recommended by psychologists to help you to stop touching your face:
- Keep your hands busy. Hold something in your hands (e.g. a stress ball) or make a fist for one minute if you catch yourself bringing them to your face.
- Increase awareness. Try to figure out what situations or emotions are associated with your face-touching.
- Change postures. Sit in a way where your hands are not present on the table or the seat.
- Practice relaxation techniques. Practice breathing and muscle relaxation techniques.
- Help others. Try to think of whom you might be protecting by not touching your face.
While touching our faces may act as a kind of self-soothing mechanism, some research has shown that skin-to-skin contact results in the release of the hormone oxytocin which can help to increase calm and reduce stress, in this age of COVID-19 it’s only recommended in the safety of your home and after washing your hands correctly.
Although it can be hard to keep watch of this touchy subject, remembering that reducing face-touching lessens the opportunities for viruses to enter your system.
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