Different Journeys Often Lead to Holiday Separation
With Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas quickly approaching, there is no doubt that after this crazy year of COVID separations and isolations, people are longing for the warmth and touch of family and friends for the holidays.
Even without COVID lockdowns, the holiday season often sees a spike in depression, loneliness, and anxiety. But, this year is bound to be one for the records!
People crave togetherness! We were created to be social beings and to need each other. But, life doesn't always afford us those opportunities.
For me, personally, I grew up surrounded by tons of family for the holidays. Grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and occasionally certain friends would join us for holiday meals and gift-giving. When all of that came to an end, the loss was palpable! It created a major void in our lives, and despite our best attempts to keep it going, it got lost in the journey.
The reality is we need each other. But, we are all on different journeys, and those roadways often lead us to other locations or end with different results.
The miles now separate us as each family member has chosen to migrate to new places we now call "home." Gone are the days of family get-togethers, holiday meals, and social events. Instead, we each now must create new opportunities, make new friends, and welcome new family members into our social group. And, that, too, is no easy task on a regular basis, but especially in light of current events!
So what can we do to endure the separation or overcome the feeling of loneliness during the holidays, when distance keeps us apart?
Here are a few tips:
Create Online or Virtual Get-Togethers! While they are not equal to actually getting together and sharing a meal with loved ones, online connectivity is the second best option! With the incredible technology now available at our fingertips like Facetime, Google Meet (formerly Chat), Zoom, and even Facebook Video Messenger, it is easier than ever to connect to loved ones near and far, including those in COVID lockdown or isolation!
For Christmas and gift-exchanges, this works really well and...
Take Advantage of Free Shipping! While this may sound like a strange tip when as it relates to social distance, the truth is it creates more opportunities to get together virtually! Buying gifts for loved ones during the holidays, has very much changed over the past couple of decades. While most of us still love buying presents and personally wrapping them for delivery, the cost of shipping has become outrageous! Often shipping is more expensive than the combined total of the gifts we send! Amazon to the rescue! Along with other retailers, many offer free shipping! Again, while it's not the same as personally shopping and wrapping, it is a second best solution.
And, once gifts arrive at the designated recipient, ask them to wrap the box and place it under the tree. Set a time when you can do a virtual gift-exchange and enjoy watching each other open the gifts you've received. Again, with today's technology, you can often connect this video exchange to a television and/or camera (or via wireless stream/casting capability), so everyone can see more easily without huddling up to a small laptop or tablet screen.
Don't Limit Family Group Activities to the Holidays! My sister's family and my family have found an online, interactive game that we can play regularly. Although she and her family are in Atlanta, and my family is in Orlando, we regularly join together via both a group phone call and on our individual electronic devices to play an online game. This provides us the opportunity to not only enjoy our very competitive strategies, but also to interact as if we were in the same room playing a board game at the table. Again, it doesn't replace personal interaction in the same room, but it works well when we are physically disconnected.
Adapt with the Changing Times May Lead to a Big Move! While most of us are creatures of habit and don't like change, the fact is change is always happening and it is inevitable! You can learn to adapt with the changing times, or stay stuck in your own misery. Like the first two tips, isolation and separation leaves us with a choice to accept the inevitable changes and adapt to them the best way possible, or continue to be depressed and miserable. This may include YOU making a physical move in order to be around your loved ones! Relocation is never an easy transition, but sometimes the end result produces long-term happiness and much greater joy! Is it time to think about relocating?
These are just a few tips to make distancing during the holidays a little easier. Think outside the box, and create opportunities to make the best of your holidays, decrease feeling depressed and isolated, and enjoy your loved ones no matter where they live!