I’ve seen it time and time again throughout the past few months of quarantine; people posting on their Instagram that they don’t know how they’re going to make it without being able to drive to their best friend’s house for Monday night “Bachelor” viewing or freaking out because they can’t see their Mom for Mother’s Day. I was sitting on my couch the other night watching “Scandal” when I started to think about the problem everyone is most majorly facing during quarantine is one I live through every single day of the year, pandemic or not. After college, I moved 800 miles away from the ones I love most and fell in love with my new city, but I’ve always been distanced from my family and best friends. That’s when I thought that I would share some ways that I make the distance feel non-existent and hopefully it can help others who are facing this newfound problem with stay-at-home orders in place.
The effort will increase, but so will the connection. If you’re like me and you live far away from home, then you know all about the extra effort it takes to stay connected. If you live close by your friends and family however, and you just can’t see them for the time being, you’re probably feeling lonely or melancholy at times. That’s because when you get to see the ones you love regularly, they’re already filled in on your life. They know how work has been, or if you got a new car because regular “hangouts” and “check-ins” are just what you do. When you can’t hop in your car and stop by to visit, you have to make extra effort to connect in other ways. We’re lucky enough to live in a time where FaceTime exists. USE IT! There is something about talking face-to-face (or screen-to-screen) that more meaningfully strengthens the conversation. You can physically see your loved ones laugh, or cry, and it is good for the soul.
Check-in so you don’t check out. I get it, life is still busy even in quarantine, or maybe you feel like you don’t want to brush your day-three hair and get on camera. There are still ways to keep the connection going, you just have to be mindful and present. Texting is great, especially for little things: “I was just thinking about you. How are things?” or “I just heard your favorite song on an episode of this show I’m watching!” Are ways to let your loved ones know that you’re thinking about them always, even when you’re hundreds of miles apart (or during quarantine – a few streets away).
Keep making memories. Usually being distanced means looking forward to the next time you get to see each other. Right now, that is different for me too because It’s hard to plan a trip when you don’t know if you’ll be able to actually take it. If there’s a show that everyone is binging at once (here’s looking at you “Tiger King”) then use that as a talking point to discuss with your friends and family. If something major happens, don’t forget to still update the ones closest to you. They may not be able to grieve or celebrate with you, but there’s something about your favorite people still knowing the details of your life that are irreplaceable. Another great thing to do is to send actual snail mail or packages when you know something is happening in their lives. I love to use a service called Greetabl, which sends a custom box with pictures and messages you create and a small gift inside. Even just a handwritten letter goes a long way and it’s so easy (especially when there’s nowhere for you to go).
These are great things to keep in mind all the time, not just when we’re socially distanced. Remember that like with all relationships, you get what you give. Relationships near or far are two-way streets and if you stay connected in ways that are significant, you’ll never fall out of touch with the ones who matter most.