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A pandemic love holiday; UBCO professor offers advice for Valentine’s Day

Dr. Lougheed says COVID-19 is no excuse to skip Valentine's Day. UBC Okanagan

A UBC Okanagan professor is sharing her findings on stress reduction and relationship maintenance, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

“Obviously, many humans have been deprived of physical contact due to the pandemic,” said Dr. Jessica Lougheed, a UBC Okanagan assistant professor.

“But that doesn’t mean all is lost — it just means we need to find new ways of connecting to others and managing stress.”

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Lougheed, an assistant professor of psychology in the Irving K Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, researches interpersonal emotion dynamics.

“Stress is closely related to mood,” said Lougheed.

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“While people have different emotional responses to stress, it can increase one’s irritability and make them feel flatter.”

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Lougheed offers advice on how to combat the buildup of stress, along with a potential lack of physical touch: “Staying connected, even virtually, helps share the burden of emotional loads that we’re all carrying around.”

“Find an outlet for stress, it could be physical exercise, safely spending time outdoors and even having a good cry, which can really help end the stress response cycle.”

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Lougheed is encouraging people to connect with loved ones during Valentine’s Day, especially remotely.

“Plenty of businesses offer virtual Valentine’s Day events like wine tasting or art classes. There are all sorts of special activities couples can do together even while being apart.”

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