Connecting with family during the holidays will look a bit different this year. COVID-19 has changed the plans of millions of people around the world, no matter what or where you celebrate. Travel is off the table for most people, and even in-person gatherings are limited for many. Thankfully, families can still celebrate the holidays together virtually.
You’ve probably already made virtual connections with friends or family at some point this year. Whether it’s Zoom, FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, or another video call platform, technology has kept the world connected from both near and far away.
Holiday calls to family members who couldn’t make it to the gathering were already commonplace. This year will likely be one big family call for everyone. Video call platforms will take center stage in keeping families connected virtually throughout the holiday season.
Holidays are also a difficult time for some people. The season may bring up old memories or call the reality of strained relationships to the forefront. Feelings of isolation are magnified during the holiday season and the pandemic has made it even more challenging. Staying connected with friends and family during this time is crucial.
Why is it so important to make a virtual connection with family during the holidays this year?
The Negative Effects of Isolation
Negative effects of social isolation were clear long before COVID-19 forced people apart. The pandemic has only made it worse. Loneliness is associated with many physical and mental health risks, from disease to depression. Researchers around the world study the effects of social isolation and they’re cognizant of the risks that come with social distancing.
People are social by nature, even those who prefer to spend more time by themselves. The holiday season is one of the most sociable times of the year between company parties and family gatherings. This year’s holiday season will be a bit different, but it doesn’t mean you have to spend the time alone.
How can you handle social distancing during the holidays this year?
Social Distancing Makes the Holidays Difficult
COVID-19 has altered many aspects of this year and the holiday season will be no different. Although you’re probably used to the increased alone time by now, spending the holidays alone is probably a newer experience. You might have spent a holiday to yourself at some point over the years, but this year will see more people on their own than ever before.
Social distancing and other efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus make holiday gatherings difficult. In the past, November through January were some of the busiest travel times of the year. You aren’t alone if you prefer to avoid traveling right now. Many people are likely to spend the holidays at home this year.
Instead of gathering in person, though, technology allows you to connect with your family virtually. Social distancing and travel restrictions don’t have to keep you apart from your loved ones entirely. Find a few people who enjoy planning and team up to organize a virtual holiday gathering for your family.
5 Benefits of Virtual Family Connection
There may be a few benefits to doing the holidays virtually this year. Maybe you appreciate getting to avoid the annual probing questions. Perhaps the additional alone time is nice to have. Even if you feel you prefer a virtual gathering, trying to get through the holidays on your own isn’t a good idea.
It’s important to stay connected with family this year, whether it’s your birth family or your chosen one. There are many benefits to maintaining your family connection even though your celebration will probably be virtual. What are some of the benefits of keeping a virtual family connection during the holidays?
1. Building memories together, even from afar
The holidays are a time to build memories with your family. You may get to see family members you don’t see throughout the rest of the year. Maybe you have a new niece or nephew you planned to meet during the holiday season. Even though you can’t connect with them in person, virtual connections with family still let you build memories together. Even if it means that everyone is seated at their own table and has to cook their own holiday meals.
2. Maintaining a feeling of togetherness
Virtual connections with family let you maintain a feeling of togetherness even when you’re apart. Isolation is difficult to deal with, especially during the holidays. Isolation leads to plenty of negative side effects so maintaining a sense of togetherness is important, especially during this year. Make sure to gather with your family, even if it’s a virtual gathering, to help everyone feel less alone.
3. Observing family traditions
Family traditions are one of the most important parts of the holiday season. Most families have at least one or two traditions they carry on year after year. What are some of the annual occurrences in your family? A virtual family connection lets you keep those traditions alive this year without having to meet in person. You can even record the call so you have a video of the traditions this year!
4. Taking time to unplug and unwind
Even though holidays can be stressful at times, meeting with family gives you a moment to unplug and unwind. Turn off your notifications, disconnect from work, and tune into spending at least a few hours with your loved ones. You’re connected for most of the day every other day of the year; let the holidays be a time to step away from the constant distraction of your devices. You’ll have to use at least one to connect with your virtual family gathering, though!
5. Connecting with others gets you out of your head
If the increased isolation this year has you down, connecting with family gets you out of your head. A virtual family connection keeps you from having to spend the holidays alone. Catch up with family members you haven’t been able to see this year or stay current with those you already talk with. Showing up for a virtual family gathering gives your family members a chance to get out of their heads, too. Your attendance might even help them more than it helps you!
How to Connect With Family On the Holidays
There are a few different ways you can set up a virtual family connection during the holidays. The best platform depends on the number of people who want to attend the gathering. If you have a few people who want to meet up, using a conference call platform like Zoom is a great choice. Set up a meeting and send the link to everyone who wants to join in on the holiday festivities!
If it’s only you and another person, it’s easy enough to make a direct one-on-one video call through FaceTime or Facebook Messenger. You can also keep it simple and stick to a regular phone call to check in with a few different family members throughout the day.
It doesn’t matter how you choose to connect with your family on the holidays. Whether it’s a Zoom call, FaceTime, or a phone call, the most important part is that you find a way to spend some time with your family during the holidays.