Connecting While Socially Distanced this Christmas

E.B. Johnson

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by: E.B. Johnson (Image via Twenty20.com)

This holiday season is already proving to be one of the most challenging yet. From the surging rise in COVID cases, to the political uncertainty and unrest that confronts us everywhere — this holiday season is going to require an abundance of creativity. It's not just creativity, though. To create happy memories this Christmas, we're going to have to find a silver lining that feels very, very deeply buried.

Don’t allow social distancing to ruin your Christmas. There are still ways for you to connect and make memories with those that you love, but you’re going to have to find a way to shift your thinking and your perspective. They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder…and it does. That fondness comes with a price, though, and that price is one we have to navigate together. Find the deeper joy in loving one another from a distance and create a Christmas you'll value forever.

Making changes in the way we celebrate.

No matter how it plays out, this Christmas (and this year) will be one we never forget. With the presidential elections drawing to a reluctant close, we are looking ahead at a winter filled with rising unemployment across the globe, as well as the continued ravaging of the pandemic. For this reason, many of us will be separated from the ones we love when we want them near most. What can be done? With a little creativity and persistence — everything.

You’ve probably heard the old adage, “distance makes the heart grow fonder,” and it’s true. When we are separated from the people that we love, we desire their physical (and emotional) presence even more. That can be difficult to manage when dealing with social distancing, but we can manage by shifting our perspective and actively acknowledging the way distance actually helps improve our relationships.

You can either make the decision to let this Christmas be ruined, or you can get determined to make it better. You can still find joy together, even if you're on other sides of the country. It may look and feel a little different than it did before, but it's no less valuable. Prioritize your schedules and master the art of deeper communication as a team. Then, you can find ways to wrap your situation up in a silver lining and come up with exciting new traditions that bring the festive spirit back into your homes and your hearts.

Accepting the benefits of space.

Believe it or not, distance can be a great benefit to our family relationships. When we give ourselves space, we give ourselves a different view of the people we love, as well as a different level of appreciation. We also enhance the way we communicate and build a greater trust in one another. So, what’s the point? Acknowledging these benefits can provide us with both comfort and acceptance.

Enhanced perspective

Getting space from someone grants you a more honest and more accurate point-of-view. You become better able to enjoy who they are and how they fit into your life. When we’re really close to something, it’s hard to get the entire picture. You turn your head from left to right, and you’re still absorbed where you’re at. Taking a step back, however, allows us to see things as they really are. From there, we can make more accurate plans for resolution and connection.

Increased appreciation

If you’re looking for a way to appreciate your loved ones again, there’s hardly a better way you could do it than with distance. The more time we spend away from our loved ones, the more we come to appreciate when you do spend time together. You’ll also get to know one another on a deeper level and appreciate who you really are both apart and together. It strengthens your emotional bonds, and it enhances the way in which we see one another’s capabilities and strengths.

Better communication

This enforced distance can also be great for improving our communication as loved family and friends. Separated by space, we have to get better at using our words to feel the same level of connection and joy. We ask more questions, find different ways to cheer one another up. Distance enhances our communication, and this allows us to better resolve conflict and really get to know one another as to who we authentically are.

Mutual personal growth

Individual growth is so important, but many of us lose sight of it when we become too wrapped up in the relationships that are closest to us. We take on the traits and habits of others and sometimes forget to look within at the things which matter most. By getting some time on our own, we can spread our wings and better test out the limits of our skills and our capabilities. In that space, we grow and discover who we are on an individual level.

Instilling trust

Distance is always a challenge when it comes to the people we love. Caring for someone makes you crave their presence and being separated from them can feel like a death of sorts. It builds greater trust and faith in one another, though, especially as time goes on and you continue to open up and be vulnerable with one another. Distance pushes you to figure out what your relationships are really made of. That’s a good thing when it breeds trust.

Boosting creativity

The best way to deal with space during the holidays is to be creative, and that’s exactly what the distance forces us to do. As humans, we have short attention spans and we crave fun and excitement. To stay connected and enthusiastic toward one another, we have to get more creative about the ways we connect. We can create new and exciting memories together by thinking outside of the box and figuring out how to use technology to brings us close to our loved ones this holiday season.

Stay connected across the distance this Christmas.

The distance that separates you and the ones you love doesn’t have to put an end to your festive cheer. You can still connect with one another and you can still find joy. It’s just going to take some creativity and a commitment to seeing things in a totally different light.

1. Align your schedules

When we are lucky enough to enjoy one another’s presence full-time, we can find ourselves taking advantage of that perk. Confident in your ability to pull your loved one up at any time, you get swept up and buried in the business and the stress of the season. “I’ll see them tonight when I get home.” But what if that isn’t the case? In order to stay connected across distance, we have to consciously and intentionally prioritize our schedules together.

Prioritize aligning your schedules on the days you plan on talking or getting online. Don’t wait until the day to try to fit everything together. Sit down a few days earlier and figure out what you’re each going to be doing. Intentionally make time for one another when you can connect without distraction and without pressure.

You have to make this a regular part of your communication. Sitting down weekly and making a schedule isn’t so weird when you’re looking at a long month of celebrations and leagues and leagues of distance between you. Be mindful of one another and compromise so that you can find a time to connect without interruption and without the pressure of making this count. We should prioritize our relationships; within the holiday season or without.

2. Commit to communication

What is your communication like with your long-distance loved one(s)? Do you talk on a regular basis? Send text messages throughout the day? While talking a lot is important, it’s not as important as the quality of our conversations when dealing with connecting over a distance. How much are you and your spouse or loved ones really opening up to one another? Are you going through the motions or are you really being vulnerable over the line?

Focus on quality communication — not just the amount of time the two of you spend chewing over mundane things. Ask your partner questions about the experience they’re going through right now; listen to their nostalgic stories about the past. Share your feelings, your doubts, what’s going on at work and in your mind.

Become master communicators. We all have different ways of opening up, and we all need to be supported differently. Share those needs with one another and be candid, frank, and clear in all that you say and do. Leave space for one another to be yourselves and to share whatever needs to be shared. Better the ways in which you express your needs and your feelings and likewise encourage your loved ones to do the same. We can fill the space between us with better communication than we had before.

3.Look for the silver lining

Despite what you might think, even the challenge of a socially distanced Christmas comes with a silver lining. When we are pressed against difficult circumstances, we find strength and growth within ourselves that we probably didn’t know existed. We discover new skills, new opportunities, and even new dreams that can lead us closer to our sense of fulfillment. So what’s the silver lining to your current situation? What about this moment in time can contribute to your growth as a person or partner?

Consciously and intentionally focus on the benefits that you’re all gaining from this situation — no matter how hard it may be. Maybe you’ve finally got the time to finish that “to read” stack of books that you’ve been eyeing since the New Year. Maybe you’ve used some of the time you would have been “hanging out” feeling out a new fitness routine.

There’s usually a better way to look at things if we try hard enough to break out of our negativity. You can brainstorm this silver lining with your loved one, or do it alone. The choice really comes down to what works for everyone involved. Be kind to yourselves and kind to one another. Don’t let the darkness of this holiday season completely wreck the joy you find — even across the growing physical and emotional distance being caused by the chaos of this world.

4. Create exciting new traditions

How often do you and your loved one use creativity to address the problems you’re facing? Do you routinely allow yourselves to break out of those same old day-in, day-out customs? Or do you stay locked into the same schedules and let yourselves (and your love) go on autopilot? We can’t connect like this. We need sparkly and we need spice — especially during the holiday season. Rather than allowing yourselves to space out, create new traditions to fill the distance instead.

Find new ways to celebrate with one another. Sit down and get on a video chat. Brainstorm ways you can turn your holiday rituals into digital affairs, or exciting new expansions that make you feel festive and bright.

Cook a meal together digitally. Sit down and watch a marathon of your favorite holiday films together — chatting all the way through. Don’t be afraid to fall asleep on camera together. Don’t be afraid to write letters, or send unexpected packages with small (but meaningful) gifts. You could even set up a scavenger hunt by contacting shops and purchasing small items for them to save behind the counter. Send your loved one to pick them up and celebrate the joy and excitement.

5. Invest in Christmas self-care

While it’s important to find new ways to connect with the people we love over Christmas, it’s also important to nurture ourselves. No matter what you do, there’s a good chance that this year’s festivities won’t be the same as they were before. That’s okay. Allow yourself to grieve the things you’ve lost and allow yourself to feel your negative feelings as equally as you feel your positive ones.

Don’t overwhelm yourselves, or push yourselves beyond your means trying to create some “perfect” holiday experience. Cut some time into the schedule for yourself and make sure that you’re nourishing your physical and emotional body. Without having your own emotional battery charged, it’s going to be impossible to fiind the joy.

Treat yourself this holiday season. Brighten up your own day or your own month with little celebrations of your own. Cook yourself a nice meal, sit down to your favorite film. Set up a luxurious bubble bath every night, with your favorite bath-bomb of choice. Do what you need to do to reconnect with some sense of specialness and relaxation this season. Be kind to yourself and find your own sense of holiday cheer and excitement.

Putting it all together…

This year, we’re looking at a holiday season that looks a lot different from any we’ve perhaps known before. With the COVID-19 battle far from over and politicized families who can hardly see eye-to-eye — we’re looking at a festive season that is filled with distances both voluntary and involuntary. It’s still possible for us to stay connected, however, by being proactive and committed to creativity.

Prioritize your schedules and make intentional time to connect and share with one another. The holidays are all about being present and loving with the people we care for most. We can still do that across the distance that separates us. Master the art of communication as a team and open up to one another regularly and with honesty. Share your feelings, but don’t forget to make it about fun too. Work together to find the silver lining and dress up your situation in any way that makes you both feel better about where you’re at and what’s going on in your lives. Find new traditions that can bring you closer together and don’t forget to be creative as you make your plans and brainstorm. Above all, however, remember to be kind to yourselves. Make space to grieve and thrive on your own. Self-care is important, especially when we’re dealing with distance from loved ones over the holiday.

#NBChristmasCheer #Christmas #Family #Advice

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Certified Life Coach | NLP-MP | Author I create transformative personal development and self-help content that helps you improve your life and your relationships across the board. You have the power to transform your life, but you have to heal yourself first.

Pelham, AL
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