Sending Care from a Distance
Updated: May 3
Do you feel helpless to help your loved ones right now? Do you want to encourage and support your friends and family while also adhering to social distancing protocols? Recently I have had several people in my life go through hard things. The state I live in is under a stay-at-home order, as are most states right now, so I am not able to comfort that person in the way I typically would. What does my pre-pandemic self do to comfort my friends and family? Depending on the receiver, I spend time with them, I give hugs, I go on a walk with them, I call and comfort with my words, I help them with something, or I send a gift.
There is a book called The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. My sister-in-law gave me a copy before I married my husband. It has been a great tool in our relationship, to read the book together and take the quiz every few years to rediscover each others' love languages. I have also used this with great success in couples counseling. You can access the book by clicking on the image. You can also read my blog post titled "Communicating Love Effectively" for more info.
Right now, with the different restrictions meant to help protect us from spreading Covid-19, we are also limited in how we can show our family and friends that we love them. Some people have lost loved ones and had to grieve without attending a funeral. Some have lost their senior prom and graduation ceremonies. Some have had to postpone their weddings. Some have given birth and have not been able to have contact with family and friends they so desperately need right now. Parents are shouldering the burden of childcare and their children's education while also continuing to work from home. People are going through really hard things right now. And on top of it we are not able to be there in person for each other. So how can we be there for our loved ones without physically being there?
How to Show You Care
1. Calls. Video calls, phone calls, texting... just checking in by phone. (this would fall under words of affirmation and quality time)
This has been really important for our family. It can keep the kids connected to their grandparents, aunts and uncles, and friends. It is good to be able to chat with a friend and really spend time face to face. It can help combat loneliness for those who are living in a home without a partner, children, or family around. Facebook and Instagram have video chat options. We also recently downloaded the Marco Polo app where you can leave video messages for family and friends.
2. Sending letters and cards. (this would fall under words of affirmation and gifts)
We have been making hand print art, writing letters and cards, and sending different things from the kids to family and friends. It can be so nice to receive a personal letter in the mail, and hand print art is always a big hit with the grandparents. I found a variety pack of motivational cards you can shop for here.
3. Care packages. (this would fall under gifts, and, due to social distancing orders, we may let it count as physical touch, if you send a blanket, neck warmer, etc.)
Another way we have been giving and receiving love right now is through care packages. These can be simple or elaborate. We have sent and received them for holidays, birthdays, and just to cheer up friends and family during this time of physical separation. Are you crafty? Do you make jewelry, soap, art, etc? That could be the perfect gift to send with an encouraging note right now.
An encouraging scent
Do you have a friend or family member who is dealing with a lot of stress? There are these cute aromatherapy roll-ons that have a mixture of essential oils that are good for stress relief, sleep, focus, etc.
You can access each package by clicking on the image.
An encouraging message
I have two friends who have really been there for me to support me. They are both going through difficult things and I wanted to lift them both up somehow. I found these cute bracelets from Joycuff. I liked the message on the bracelet in this image, and there are also some funny messages I enjoyed. If your friend/family likes a well placed curse word, you can have fun with this. You can click the image and shop for different messages. I also found some messages in gold and rose gold.
If you have a hard time of thinking what to send, you can also send a pre-made care package. Some ideas of care packages:
I found this cute package on Amazon... with a tumbler, bath bomb, and bookmark, this is great for a friend who likes to take a relaxing bath with a good book and drink by their side.
Have a friend or family member who likes to snack? This care package will be right up their alley. And what better time to send snacks when most folks are avoiding grocery shopping until it is absolutely necessary. And on this topic, you can order groceries through apps like Instacart. You could order groceries for a loved one and let them know where and when to pick them up. Or, better yet, have them delivered! (this kind of gift could fall under acts of service and also gifts)
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Any effort you make to reach out and encourage your loved ones I'm sure would be appreciated. Above all, ask the person what they need, and they may be able to tell you exactly what that is. Encourage each other, and we will get through this together.