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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

            day-in-the-life

              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 20, 2018

                7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

                7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

                What do I want to do with my life? It’s a question all of us think about at one point or another.

                For some, the answer comes easily. For others, it takes a lifetime to figure out.

                It’s easy to just go through the motions and continue to do what’s comfortable and familiar. But for those of you who seek fulfillment, who want to do more, these questions will help you paint a clearer picture of what you want to do with your life.

                1. What are the things I’m most passionate about?

                The first step to living a more fulfilling life is to think about the things that you’re passionate about.

                What do you love? What fulfills you? What “work” do you do that doesn’t feel like work? Maybe you enjoy writing, maybe you love working with animals or maybe you have a knack for photography.

                The point is, figure out what you love doing, then do more of it.

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                2. What are my greatest accomplishments in life so far?

                Think about your past experiences and the things in your life you’re most proud of.

                How did those accomplishments make you feel? Pretty darn good, right? So why not try and emulate those experiences and feelings?

                If you ran a marathon once and loved the feeling you had afterwards, start training for another one. If your child grew up to be a star athlete or musician because of your teachings, then be a coach or mentor for other kids.

                Continue to do the things that have been most fulfilling for you.

                3. If my life had absolutely no limits, what would I choose to have and what would I choose to do?

                Here’s a cool exercise: Think about what you would do if you had no limits.

                If you had all the money and time in the world, where would you go? What would you do? Who would you spend time with?

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                These answers can help you figure out what you want to do with your life. It doesn’t mean you need millions of dollars to be happy though.

                What it does mean is answering these questions will help you set goals to reach certain milestones and create a path toward happiness and fulfillment. Which leads to our next question …

                4. What are my goals in life?

                Goals are a necessary component to set you up for a happy future. So answer these questions:

                Once you figure out the answers to each of these, you’ll have a much better idea of what you should do with your life.

                5. Whom do I admire most in the world?

                Following the path of successful people can set you up for success.

                Think about the people you respect and admire most. What are their best qualities? Why do you respect them? What can you learn from them?

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                You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.[1] So don’t waste your time with people who hold you back from achieving your dreams.

                Spend more time with happy, successful, optimistic people and you’ll become one of them.

                6. What do I not like to do?

                An important part of figuring out what you want to do with your life is honestly assessing what you don’t want to do.

                What are the things you despise? What bugs you the most about your current job?

                Maybe you hate meetings even though you sit through 6 hours of them every day. If that’s the case, find a job where you can work more independently.

                The point is, if you want something to change in your life, you need to take action. Which leads to our final question …

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                7. How hard am I willing to work to get what I want?

                Great accomplishments never come easy. If you want to do great things with your life, you’re going to have to make a great effort. That will probably mean putting in more hours the average person, getting outside your comfort zone and learning as much as you can to achieve as much as you can.

                But here’s the cool part: it’s often the journey that is the most fulfilling part. It’s during these seemingly small, insignificant moments that you’ll often find that “aha” moments that helps you answer the question,

                “What do I want to do with my life?”

                So take the first step toward improving your life. You won’t regret it.

                Featured photo credit: Andrew Ly via unsplash.com

                Reference

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