Image: Family/Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Defiance of distance: staying connected to family abroad

The holidays are a great opportunity to spend time with your family, but what if half of your family live 4000 miles away?

My mum and sister have lived in the US for almost two years now, and I rarely get the chance to spend time with them. This Easter, I decided to visit them in the US. Unfortunately, due to the global health crisis, we have been forced to self-isolate. It is unlikely that I will be returning home to the UK for a while, meaning that I cannot see my Dad, my friends, or my boyfriend. Maintaining relationships is hard, especially during this unprecedented time. However, there are several ways to make it work and to enjoy each other’s company from the safety of self-isolation.

One of the easiest ways to keep in contact with your loved ones is through FaceTime. It makes such a difference when you can see another person’s face. I can honestly say that speaking to my Dad about the lack of toilet paper in every British supermarket has never been so exciting. House Party is also a great app which allows you to video call up to 20 people, which is perfect for larger friendship groups. While on the call, you can play games, send drawings and invite other people to join. For those who are suffering from self-isolation blues, House Party is a great way to make sure that you never feel alone.

Music is another great way to keep in contact with loved ones over the holidays

The hardest part about self-isolating from the other side of the world is the time difference. Right now, I am four hours behind the UK, meaning that the window of opportunity for speaking to people is much smaller. My boyfriend and I have been trying to make the most of a bad situation by keeping in almost constant communication with each other. Whether it’s sending a text, Face-Timing or sharing memes on Instagram – we try to prioritise our relationship, even through these difficult times.

The perfect date for us usually involves visiting an art gallery, so today we tried a virtual tour. Despite the technological difficulties, it was a great way to see some of our favourite pieces again in a new and exciting way.

Music is another great way to keep in contact with loved ones over the holidays. Sharing playlists with your friends and family will not only keep you entertained during self-isolation but offer a unique talking point for when you see each other next. If you’re interested, my self-isolation playlist includes everything from The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac to Lana del Ray. They say that music has the unique power of bringing people together, and now more than ever do we need that kind of positive energy.

There are ways to stay connected, you just have to be a little creative

Finally, exercise is so important, especially during this period of self-isolation. Last week, one of my closest friends streamed a Yoga class online, and I think that is a wonderful way of staying connected. At-home workouts with your friends and family can help build a stronger relationship as well as a happier mind, body and soul. I find that Youtube has some great online workouts that you can easily share with your friends, and also help you to meet new people.

Maintaining long-distance friendships and relationships over the holidays has never been as hard as it is right now but, there are ways to stay connected, you just have to be a little creative. It is important to remember that self-isolating is the best way to keep everyone safe but it doesn’t have to prevent you from spending quality time with your loved ones and your friends.


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