“The most important thing in the world is family and love.” – John Wooden
A few weeks ago I talked to my little sister on Facetime. She just had a beautiful baby girl, and because she’s on the west coast and I’m on the east coast its difficult to see each other often.
She’s an incredible and loving parent. She’s also a stay-at-home mom who doesn’t have the opportunity to get out much or socialize due to a combination of her location (suburbs), the kids’ ages (6, 3, newborn) and the sheer demands of motherhood.
In speaking with her I learned she’d been feeling isolated and lonely with no friends to turn to and not much to do for herself. Her adult time is limited to when her spouse is home (he works long hours) and when our mom is home (they all live together). At one point in our conversation, she said the year prior she’d be crying herself to sleep every night because she was so lonely.
My heart ached for her, and I immediately knew I haven’t been the sister I should be or the sister she needed me to be.
I should have been checking in with her. I should have been giving her an outlet to talk and freely vent her frustrations or the funny stories of motherhood. I should have maintained a relationship with her. Distance does not excuse me not trying.
All of this became my inspiration for this article, as I suspect many of you might have family members who are scattered across the world, and while you know you should keep in touch you just don’t (at least not regularly).
If you have a family member who needs you but you’re not able to be there physically, here are 7 things you can do to support them from afar:
1.) Use Social Media to Connect
At least once a week, reach out to your family member via social media. Send a quick message (such as: “was just thinking about you, and wanted to say hi!”), share an inspirational quote or story or tag them in a funny video.
This will only take a few seconds and will let your family member know they’re on your mind. What’s more — it’ll also keep the lines of communication open.
2.) Send Text Messages and Pictures
Did you capture a gorgeous scenic picture of nature? Are you in a place you’ve been before with this particular family member?
Send a text or picture message! It only takes a few seconds, and it’s a non-disruptive way to have a conversation or check in on your family member at any time.
Plus, a thoughtful text is sure to lift their spirits!
3.) Make It a Point to Call At Least Once a Month
I know, I know — you don’t like talking on the phone. You’d much rather send a text or meet in person. I feel you, but it’s REALLY nice to connect via phone regularly with family members (especially when they need you and are far away) and have an in-depth conversation that isn’t possible through text or social media.
Choose a day and time every month that you both can commit to and enjoy spending the time talking and being there for each other!
4.) Write a Letter
How accurate is this meme? These days, we’re all so inundated with electronic mail that we rarely open everything we receive, and oftentimes emails slip through the cracks.
But when we send a letter, card or postcard to someone it feels special and sacred. This is because most of us open the mail expecting to receive bills and promotional offers, so it’s such an unexpected treat when we get a letter from someone we love!
Aim to send your loved one a piece of snail mail once every few months. Although this will take longer than sending an email or calling, it will mean a lot more.
5.) Send an Inspirational Book
Have you recently read a book that left you feeling uplifted and inspired? Share it with your family member!
When you’re feeling down there’s nothing better than receiving something empowering that’s potentially life-changing.
6.) Tell Them You Love Them Regularly
In life, there are no guarantees so never hold back your feelings. Tell your loved ones you love them as often as you can. Sign off on messages, emails, letters and phone calls by telling them you love them!
This is especially important when you have a family member going through a hard time. Challenges can be isolating and scary, and it’s nice to feel comforted by the warmth of all-encompassing love.
Every time you talk to your family member, make sure you tell them how much you love them!
7.) Do Something Nice for Them Unexpectedly
Oftentimes, when things are hard or we’re facing challenges in life it can be difficult to see the silver lining. Luckily, one act of kindness can profoundly improve your family member’s life and perspective.
Think of something nice you can surprise your family member with to lift their spirits — send them groceries via Amazon, buy them a spa package, send a gift basket of things they need (such as toiletries), pay their phone bill etc. Find a way to give back unexpectedly, and do it!
Here’s the bottom line: it doesn’t take a lot of extra time or effort to support your family member(s) from afar, especially when they need you. But, it will make a massive difference in their life, and yours too.
What do you do to support your family members when they’re having a hard time?
About Antasha Durbin: Antasha is a spiritual writer, life-long student of the universe, and psychic tarot card reader. Her website, cajspirituality.com, is dedicated to casualizing the spiritual experience and making it attainable for anyone, anywhere, anytime. Follow her for free, easy-to-digest and highly actionable advice on spirituality, mindfulness and empowered living.