The most wonderful time of the year is almost here, and we are all adapting to a new normal of video chats and staying home more.
It's not a new concept to be miles away from your loved one for the holidays; however, this year has the potential to keep many more people apart. If going home or being with your loved ones is not an option, it is important to still connect with your family and loved ones.
Make your time together meaningful and make memories together.
Be flexible and get creative.
Modify a tradition or start a new one.
Make a Plan
Make a plan with your loved ones; schedule a day and time to video chat to celebrate the holidays.
Ways to virtually be together and stay connected even when you can’t physically be with your loved ones
Virtual Meals. Often holidays are about gathering for meals, so having a virtual holiday dinner party is a great idea to keep up holiday traditions. You can plan a theme or stick to your traditional holiday food.
Make Time for friends. Friendsgiving, Friendmas, or a virtual happy hour. Make sure to plan some time for your friends.
Watch Parties. Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon allow you to watch a show together and also have a chatbox to talk while watching. You can also have one person share their screen on Zoom, and everyone can watch. Maybe try going with a nostalgic movie that will bring up happy memories you can talk about with your loved ones.
Play Virtual Games. You can play a game online or through an app with loved ones. Many more games are available online these days, so choosing a game should be easy.
Play a Game. If you are not into online games, there are games you can play such as charades or a board game that everyone on the call has.
Virtual Story Time. If you have little ones or maybe for adults too, have family and friends read them a bedtime story.
Virtual Escape Room. Solve a mystery with family and friends. Many escape rooms have gone virtual, everyone in your party logs in, and off you go solving a mystery. They even make some that are kid friendly. You can give your local escape rooms a call to see if they have created one (to shop local), but since they are online you can sign up with one anywhere.
Virtual Tour. Many places are still closed but that does not stop you from taking a virtual trip there. Many museums around the world have tours; even Disneyland has a virtual tour.
Send Video Messages. Try sending a quick video message to someone to wish them well, happy holidays, just say hello or maybe even tell a funny joke.
Share Photo. Set up an account to share pictures either on an app or on social media. You can give the gift of a digital frame that allows others to share photos.
Gifts. If you exchange gifts, send your gifts early so you are able to open the gifts on video chat on the holiday. Maybe try sending a funny or worst regift, and once everyone has opened it, take a vote on who is the winner of the best worst gift.
Send a Care Package. Send a package to loved ones with reminders from home, photos, a holiday-themed package.
Remember it is important to take care of your own mental health while connecting with loved ones. Make sure not to overbook yourself and make plans that feel realistic for you to keep. It's normal to have mixed emotions such as being happy to connect, sad to be far away, and overwhelmed with all the changes.
Monica McNeeley is a licensed therapist, LCSW, provides online therapy in the state of California. She has been providing therapy services since 2011.
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