What to do if your health prevents travel

Q: It’s the time of year when many people take trips to see their loved ones. What could I do over the holidays if I can’t travel to visit family because of my health?

A: Health prevents travel for many people. If unable to visit loved ones because of an illness, injury or other health-related issue, it may be difficult to be away from family. There are a few things you can do, though, to make the situation a little easier. Here are some ways to stay connected even when you can’t travel.

1. Stay in touch with friends and family online. Conversations through social media or video chat can help you feel closer, and they can see your face and hear your voice. Enlist help if you don’t know how to use these applications or internet-based services.

2. Send them gifts. If you can’t be there in person, sending presents is a great way to acknowledge you are thinking of them. Online ordering is easy or, more traditionally, send gifts via the mail. The United States Postal Service and other delivery companies will pick up items from your location. Reach out to others if you are unfamiliar with how this works.

3. Plan a phone call. If you’re not able to have a video chat, call your loved ones. This allows you to hear their voices and catch up on what they have been doing.

4. Write letters or cards. Another way to stay connected with friends and relatives is by sending letters, cards and photos. Sharing thoughts and feelings in more detail can be very meaningful for the recipients.

5. Make a visit when you are able. Schedule a trip to see your family in person. This will give you something to look forward to if your health improves.

Staying in touch is important

Maintaining connection with people is important for a few reasons. First, it helps us feel connected to the world beyond our personal space. When we are unable to see loved ones in person, it is easy to feel isolated and alone. Staying in touch with them online or through other means helps prevent those thoughts.

Second, staying connected also helps us feel supported. Emotional support during difficult times can be especially beneficial when feeling lonely and apart from family activities.

Finally, staying in touch keeps us connected to our culture and community. A sense of belonging is important for people living in a newer location or far away from their hometown or country. Attending community events during the holidays is a great way to find community connection, and you may even discover events similar to your own holiday traditions. These celebrations might include parades, tree lightings, festivals, group gatherings or other festive activities.

If you’re unable to attend community socials, there are other activities you can do without going anywhere. Watch the events on TV, listen to holiday happenings via live online broadcast or on the radio, or read about the events in the newspaper. You can also chat with friends who are attending the events in person.

Other interactive ideas if your health does not allow for travel are playing online card or word games, watching movies or reading books with family through video chat. And, baking cookies, creating decorations, making gingerbread houses, hanging lights, or sitting outdoors with friends are all terrific ways to celebrate the holidays at home too.

Staying in touch with your loved ones even when you’re not able to see them in person, plus keeping busy with other activities can ease the feelings of missing out on family celebrations. Wishing you good health!

Karen Casanovas, PCC, CPCC, CLIPP is a health, wellness and simplified living coach practicing in Anchorage. If you have questions write to her at info@karencasanovas.com.

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