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7 Ways to Connect to Family When They’re Far Away

7 Ways to Connect to Family When They’re Far Away

Family, it’s one of those words that conjures up different images for everyone. Family can be a group of close friends, your blood relatives, or a mixture of both.

For me, it’s the latter but, regardless of what we see when we think of our family, one thing that’s true for all of us is that we miss them when they’re not around.

With the holidays rolling in, a lot of us are going to be feeling this even more but, just because our family can’t join us at the table, doesn’t mean we can’t connect. Here are seven ways to do just that:

1. Gourdy the Traveling Gourd

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    This is a neat idea I actually got from a friend. Years ago, when she left for college, her family sent her with a plastic gourd that they had crafted a face onto. They named him Gourdy and asked her to send home updates on his adventures. At Thanksgiving, Gourdy came back to the family and all of his tales were told over dinner.

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    The tradition stuck and Gourdy actually started going with whoever was going away the farthest each year. I absolutely love this idea and there’s so much you could expand upon. Why not create a private facebook page for Gourdy? Or a youtube channel? What about a snapchat channel? This is really a fun way for the family to connect throughout the year.

    2. The Monthly Video Check In

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      Okay, so all of us have excuses as to why we can’t speak with each other every week, but what about once a month? Anyone can make time for that. Schedule a video chat out in advance, or have it on the same day and at the same time each month.

      There will be occasions where someone has to miss out because of life, but they should be few and far between. If it’s really a problem getting everyone together, why not break it down into small groups. Have one month be just the gals, one just the guys, and another for everyone. There are a ton of ways you can video chat with family. Get on Skype, Google Hangouts, or Tinychat.

      3. Tales of the Family

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        This idea requires some creativity, but the payoff is a fun, entertaining way to stay connected to family. One person buys an empty notebook and starts off. They use the notebook to write about their life in story form. The goal is to write two to three pages before passing the notebook on to someone else. That person writes their story and then passes it on again.

        At Christmas, the book is pulled out and the tales are read. Each year, the book is themed. So, one year the book could be titled Embarrassing Moments, another year you could have Adventures, and so on. The themes are voted on or pulled from a hat during Christmas. You could even do this online, instead of sending a notebook everywhere and you could self-publish your own book at the end of each year. This is a great way for the family to come together and learn about each other’s lives.

        4. The Pic Challenge

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          Create a group on Flickr (or any other photo site) for your family. Throughout the year, each family member uploads one or two of their craziest, silliest, or weirdest photos. At Thanksgiving, the pictures are pulled up and the family has to guess what the person was doing or where they were when the picture was taken.

          The person who gets the closest to the truth is awarded a collage of the images that were taken that year. There’s so much you could do with this. Why not make the prize a blanket with all the pictures printed on it? Or you could do a canvas bag or even a coffee mug.

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          5. The Family Blog

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            Create a blog for your family. You can do this easily through wordpress, blogspot, or any other platform that you’re comfortable with. Schedule posts once a week for each family member until the year is done.

            When it’s your turn, write about what is going on in your life, add pictures, or even videos. Really, the possibilities are endless. At the end of the year, your whole family will have something to look back on and enjoy.

            6. A Day In The Life Of

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              Create a channel on snapchat and assign a family member one day out of the year to do video updates throughout the day. You’ll have to make sure they log into your family’s channel to do the video and that they tag you as well so that you can save the videos for the holidays.

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              Once everyone has had a turn, start the cycle over. At the end of the year, compile all of your saved videos and send out copies. You and your family will love getting to see glimpses into everyone’s lives.

              7. The Hello Package

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                I saved my favorite for last. The Hello Package is literally what it sounds like. To start off, one person picks sends out three things: a postcard with a hello message, a small item that means something to them, and an item that means something to the person they’re sending the package to.

                The items themselves don’t have to be big and they can be representative of something else, like a keychain with a german shepherd on it or a magnet with a motivational message. The next person to get the package adds to it and sends it on, leaving what they received in the package as well. The package continues to get added to and sent out until the last person receives a big bundle of knickknacks and postcards. During Christmas, the postcards can be collaged and the knickknacks passed around. Then you can start the whole process over again.

                I hope these seven tips help to bring you and your family closer. Your family is your tribe, the ones who support you the most and connection with them helps keep you in an emotionally healthy state. Hopefully, this holiday season you and your family will have a few new traditions to try out.

                Featured photo credit: wikimedia.org via upload.wikimedia.org

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                Jessica Willing

                Freelance Writer

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                Last Updated on September 17, 2019

                10 Simple Ways To Always Think Positive Thoughts

                10 Simple Ways To Always Think Positive Thoughts

                Positive thinking can lead to a lot of positive change in your life. Developing an optimistic outlook can be good for both your physical and mental health.

                But sometimes, certain situations arise in life that makes it hard to keep a positive outlook. Take steps to make positive thinking become more like your second nature and you’ll reap the biggest benefits.

                Here are 10 ways to make thinking positive thoughts easy:

                1. Spend Time with Positive People

                If you surround yourself with constant complainers, their negativity is likely to rub off on you.

                Spend time with positive friends and family members to increase the likelihood that their positive thinking habits will become yours too. It’s hard to be negative when everyone around you is so positive.

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                2. Take Responsibility for Your Behavior

                When you encounter problems and difficulties in life, don’t play the role of the victim. Acknowledge your role in the situation and take responsibility for your behavior.

                Accepting responsibility can help you learn from mistakes and prevent you from blaming others unfairly.

                3. Contribute to the Community

                One of the best ways to feel good about what you have, is to focus on what you have to give.

                Volunteer in some manner and give back to the community. Helping others can give you a new outlook on the world and can assist you with positive thinking.

                4. Read Positive and Inspirational Materials

                Spend time each day reading something that encourages positive thinking. Read the Bible, spiritual material, or inspirational quotes to help you focus on what’s important to you in life. It can be a great way to start and end your day.

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                Some recommendations for you:

                5. Recognize and Replace Negative Thoughts

                You won’t be successful at positive thinking if you’re still plagued by frequent negative thoughts. Learn to recognize and replace thoughts that are overly negative. Often, thoughts that include words like “always” and “never” signal that they aren’t true.

                If you find yourself thinking something such as, “I always mess everything up,” replace it with something more realistic such as, “Sometimes I make mistakes but I learn from them.”

                There’s no need to make your thoughts unrealistically positive, but instead, make them more realistic.

                6. Establish and Work Toward Goals

                It’s easier to be positive about problems and setbacks when you have goals that you’re working toward. Goals will give you motivation to overcome those obstacles when you encounter problems along the way. Without clear goals, it’s harder to make decisions and gauge your progress.

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                Learn to set SMART goals to help you achieve more.

                7. Consider the Consequences of Negativity

                Spend some time thinking about the consequences of negative thinking. Often, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

                For example, a person who thinks, “I probably won’t get this job interview,” may put less effort into the interview. As a result, he may decrease his chances of getting the job.

                Create a list of all the ways negative thinking impacts your life. It likely influences your behavior, your relationships, and your feelings. Then, create a list of the ways in which positive thinking could be beneficial.

                8. Offer Compliments to Others

                Look for reasons to compliment others. Be genuine in your praise and compliments, but offer it frequently. This will help you look for the good in other people.

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                9. Create a Daily Gratitude List

                If you start keeping a daily gratitude list, you’ll start noticing exactly how much you have to be thankful for. This can help you focus on the positive in your life instead of thinking about all the bad things that have happened in the day.

                Getting in the habit of showing an attitude of gratitude makes positive thinking more of a habit. Here’re 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude.

                10. Practice Self-Care

                Take good care of yourself and you’ll be more equipped to think positively.

                Get plenty of rest and exercise and practice managing your stress well. Taking care of your physical and mental health will provide you with more energy to focus on positive thinking.

                Learn about these 30 Self-Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit.

                More About Staying Positive

                Featured photo credit: DESIGNECOLOGIST via unsplash.com

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