Surviving Long Distance Love This Holiday
The joys of the season are upon us. The feeling of good tidings in the air, joyous carolers, holiday gatherings, yummy foods, and gifts for that special someone. Holidays are a time of celebration, right? Most of us look forward to them but if we are being 100% honest, the holidays can also be a very stressful time. Research shows a whopping 44% of women and 31% of men experience a higher level of stress during the holiday season. This is understandable if we look at all the varying concerns: finances, family dramas, and trying to get that perfect gift. What about all of that plus trying to survive long distance love this holiday season? That sounds like some serious stress.
The truth is having a long distance relationship is a struggle most of the time but especially around the holidays. People in a long distance relationship may experience loneliness, sadness and frustration when trying to manage life without their partner. How can you combat these hard times and strengthen your long distance relationship at the same time?
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
This may seem like a very simple idea but it can be very difficult to convey everything you are feeling into conversation. My co-worker’s husband took a job out of state for a period of time and I remember her sharing that she felt she couldn’t say anything negative because he was going through his own stress. She later found this to be a big mistake. Your partner needs to know the little moments; stresses and victories throughout your day just as much as you want to know theirs. It’s about connection, feeling loved and validated.
Solid And Spoken Expectations
It’s common to often assume you know what your partner is thinking. You know them inside and out, right? This can be one of the biggest downfalls in any relationship. Assuming we know a person’s thoughts, feelings or expectations can lead to an argument, hurt feelings and even bigger fall outs. It’s important to have a solid plan and spoken expectations about the holidays. What gifts are going to be given to who? Who will go where for the holidays? How are the finances going to be planned out for the year? Being apart for the holidays or special events can be difficult and cause some emotions to boil to the surface if expectations aren’t discussed and are inadvertently unmet. Be clear to be sure your needs are met and compromise when needed.
Technology Isn’t The Only Answer
Video chats, texting, emailing and other apps have allowed us all to communicate miles apart. Although these conveniences are important to communicating with our long distance love, it’s not the only way to show appreciation. Snail mail – little surprise gifts, cards or actual photos can brighten up your partner’s day and send the message that they are a priority and you are thinking of them.
Creating New Traditions
The two of you are not in the same zip code but that doesn’t mean you can’t create new traditions. Decide to volunteer at your respective locations – at a church, an animal shelter or a non-profit organization. You will each be grateful to help those in need and will have something to share with the other later. You might like to binge watch your favorite holiday movies while on the phone with one another. How about writing down all the things that you are thankful for and sending it to one another? Find creative ways to interact and include one another in the holiday festivities.
This is incredibly important. You want to ensure you are maintaining your own self care routines to help maintain not only your physical health but mental health, as well. It’s crucial to take time for yourself so you are well rested and in a good place when you finally do get to visit one another. Meditation, exercise, reading a good book, a day at the spa…the choices are endless. Just be sure to choose activities that will bring you joy and reduce stress. Long distance love this holiday can be made more manageable if you are healthy!
Holidays take a toll on everyone in different ways. Remember, if you are struggling with the holidays, or stress in your relationship, near or far, I’d encourage you to seek out a meeting with a therapist. They can offer a fresh perspective, an objective listening ear and support to assist you through this difficult season. You are not alone.
How have you have been able to stay connected with your significant other through the holidays?