Drivers are used to spending holidays on the road away from families. While it certainly doesn’t make it any easier, it’s likely that a lot of people may not be able to spend as much time with family for the holidays this year.
The warmth of a cozy family gathering in a loving home with delightful smells of a home-cooked meal is hard to replace - even the bickering and family stress has its own sentiment. We’ve compiled 6 tips to help ease homesick drivers and bridge together families who aren’t able to connect this holiday season.
Think Outside of Zoom and Video Calls
Yes, technology is a wonderful thing and it has helped us all connect more during these times...perhaps a little too much. Zooms and video calls have become too “normal” right now.
Create special moments by sending a simple letter or driving by a family member or friend’s house. Send a special (printed) photo book to your parents, siblings, or grandparents. The more traditional methods of sharing moments are shining brighter than the new modern technology in some ways and it’s a great time to take advantage of that.
Nothing Says “I love you” Like Food
Everyone has heard the phrase, “the way to a [man’s] heart is through his stomach”. There is a lot of truth to that statement, especially during the holidays! Many, myself very much included, associate the holidays with rich, delicious foods and treats.
While it is easy to send your family cookies and chocolates for the holiday, take on the challenge of figuring out their favorite holiday treats and win “best uncle/aunt/dad/mom/whatever” award!
Get creative - try sending meal kit subscriptions for the elderly, protein powder for the health nut in the family, or even part of a whole cow to your sister who has WAY too many kids. Functional and personalized gifts go much further.
Being there for your friends and family is important. Supporting your family financially and physically is only part of the puzzle. In order to support your family emotionally and mentally, you need to take care of yourself.
Driving long hours and spending time in solitude can be draining for a lot of individuals.
Take breaks when you need them. Get a massage regularly to loosen that stiff back or tight neck. Splurge on a self-help class or gym membership to keep your mind and body sharp and healthy. Most importantly, spend time doing what makes you happy. There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying yourself a gift - a new set of golf clubs or hiking boots, dinner at a fancy restaurant, a new gaming console/computer game, a ticket to a show or movie, or even a nice bottle of your favorite high-end spirited beverage or cigar (obviously to partake in while NOT driving).
Bring a Pet Into the Mix
Pets can not only help us feel less lonely, but they also connect their owners. If you don’t have young kids, pets can sometimes provide a family with a shared sense of responsibility, linking everyone together tighter.
Even while you or your family member is away, there is a sense of togetherness through your pets. Spouses, partners, or other family members often send each other pictures of kids and/or pets while the other is away to “show off” what they are up to. The shared love of each other along with the shared love of a pet can promote a stronger bond.
Holidays are difficult, especially for drivers and those working in the transportation industry. Loads are in high demand and there is pressure to move quickly. Keep your family informed about where you’re going and what your week looks like.
Set expectations with them to outline how much time you will be home, able to talk on the phone, and be available.
Planning your time home and time away is not always easy, but looping your family into those conversations and decisions can make holidays a little less stressful.
Have a Little Fun (and Competition)
Find activities and things you and your family can do apart to still interact. Mobile games can be cooperative or competitive, allowing you to engage and interact with your friends and family from afar.
For an even simpler idea, try a workout challenge or a daily trivia question to unite your family by focusing on a common goal. The main goal is to make your family/friends feel included in your day as a focal point that brings joy and warmth.
The holiday season should bring your family closer together, sharing moments of joy, laughter, strength (and, yes, sometimes pure chaos). Even while on the road or away, these moments are achievable with a little bit of extra effort and thought.
Don’t be a scrooge and let this season slip away with a cold heart. Seize the opportunity to take a less-than-ideal year and end it on a high note! Choose to be happy and fulfilled this holiday season and make it happen.