How to connect with loved ones from afar

How to connect with loved ones from afar

As the world continues to struggle with the coronavirus pandemic, social distancing has taken its toll on people everywhere. During the holidays, that’s especially hard. But even if you have to miss your mother’s famous turkey dinner or your sister’s latkes, there are a host of ways to reach out to loved ones from a distance. With some planning, you can still fill your holidays with love and celebration. Here are some strategies for connecting when you can’t be together in person. 

Maintain routine via video:

Online video call tools have made it possible to see people’s faces while doing socially-distanced activities together, like eating dinner or enjoying a cocktail. Try hosting a weekly video happy hour with friends to share how your week has gone. 

Other ideas for socially-distanced gatherings include:

  • Coordinate a virtual wine tasting one evening every month. Have everyone purchase the same bottles of wine and take turns tasting and sharing your impressions.

  • Host a video dinner with family and friends you miss. If you want to take it further, you can cook the same recipe or order the same kind of takeout.

  • Set up themed family calls, such as video calls, where everyone wears their favorite costume.

  • Host a virtual trivia night. You can use trivia websites to create your own questions or use an app that has a built-in trivia component to play. 

  • Watch a movie together. You don’t have to be in the same room to share the same viewing experience. You can video call your loved ones and start a movie at the same time. Try using “screen share” options to allow all viewers to watch together.

Try distanced games:

Thanks to technology, you can now play games with other participants, even if you aren’t in the same room (or city). From virtual escape rooms to virtual board games, there are ample opportunities to get competitive from afar. You can use gaming tools like Tabletopia, Houseparty, and Jackbox Games, but you can also play games the old-fashioned way via video chat.

Start a book club:

Consider reading the same book or listening to the same podcast as a friend or family member and discuss it along the way like a book club. There are many online discussion groups you can join, which would allow you to meet new people in the process.

Write a note:

If you’re missing someone, consider sending a heartfelt letter or a card to let them know you’re thinking about them. (You can find printable cards of all varieties on Etsy.) This is a great activity for children and grandparents. 

Mail a care package:

If you want to go bigger on your token of appreciation, you can mail a gift to someone’s house. You can find almost any product to ship online, and sending someone a gift can make their day during periods of isolation. You can even send someone a meal by using a food or grocery delivery service.

Make plans for the future:

Having something to look forward to can keep you hopeful for a future beyond the pandemic. Try planning a great vacation or trip with a loved one for when things return to normal. The anticipation and planning for a brighter future will give you something to look forward to. 

Because human beings are hardwired for connection with others, the isolation during the pandemic can be tough on anyone. No matter what, it’s important to remember that relationships are about more than proximity. With thought, effort, and a little technology,  you can make the people in your life feel loved and appreciated—even if you’re miles away.


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