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Thursday, April 29, 2021

Love Knows No Bounds: 6 Ways to Show Your Love From Afar Without Breaking the Bank

One of the hardest thing about the last year plus has been the loneliness for many people. Especially for people who live alone, not being able to see people because of stay at home orders have been extremely painful. Even if you are able to leave your house and see people, many people are still avoiding traveling, and some countries have closed borders so you wouldn't be able to even get to family if you live in different countries. Add to that elderly people who are more at risk and need to be careful about being around people such as their grandchildren, even if they don't live so far. And in non COVID times there also is the issue of many people being unable to travel to see their loved ones because of the expense of traveling.

While none of these are replacements for actually seeing each other in person, here are some ideas for showing affection and reaching out to loved ones so that you can feel their loving embrace even though you can't be together in person without breaking the bank.

6 Ways to Show Love Even When You're Apart


1. Video Chat

There are so many ways to video chat these days; we are really lucky. I remember as a kid with a grandmother who lived abroad we would get letters in the mail every so often and only would make international calls about once or twice a year, because it was really expensive. And then fortunately technology evolved and prices went down and calling internationally wasn't prohibitively expensive. Then we got email making communicating long distance free, and then messenger where we could contact each other instantly without paying a cent. 

Fortunately these days we can do even better than that. There are so many different platforms for video chatting, from Zoom to Whatsapp to Google Meet to Skype to Facetime and many more. Even if you don't have something specific to talk about, try making a scheduled video call with your loved ones, perhaps every day or every week, where you can just talk to them and share with them like you would if you were sitting together around the dinner table or in the living room. A friend of mine borrowed some books from me which she read to her grandchildren each day, on the other side of the globe. Reading stories, playing games, or just talking to each other is a way to make you feel like you're right there with each other... or almost.

2. Pictures

Ok, so video chatting doesn't always work; sometimes it isn't convenient and you want ways to show love even during times that you cant be video chatting, and some people are not tech savvy. Pictures are great ways to show your love. For example, CanvasDiscount.com has a Mother's Day sale where you can get canvas prints to hang on your walls for only $5. If your loved one has access to the internet in their home, you can get them a digital picture frame connected to the internet so you can upload recent pictures to it and they can keep up to date on your life and what you've been up to. Or you can give them a custom pillow with you or your kids pictures on it so they can literally "hug their loved ones", even if you can't actually give each other a real hug.

3. Snail Mail

Yes, we have email and we have instant messenger and we have video chats and we have phone calls. But honestly, sending someone a hand written letter via snail mail is sometimes the most precious. A heartfelt letter that they can hold onto, or a drawing your children did, or even a drawing that you did. My friend Ari drew me a picture inspired by something funny I said and I loved it so much that I made it my facebook profile picture for a while. Sending things by snail mail is one of the cheapest ways to show love from afar, but in some ways it is the most precious because you have something tangible to hold onto forever.

4. Gifts

Don't you love the internet? I feel like all the suggestions on this list rely on the internet. But really it is wonderful. You can order your loved ones a gift from the internet and have it gift wrapped and have it come to their door. If you know what they especially love (I hope you do if they're a loved one) you can buy them things that make them happy. For example, when my friend Michelle was an entire ocean away from me, I sent her mugs with loving or funny messages, because she's obsessed with her coffee and has a mug collection. Even though she moved back here she still uses those mugs because they bring her joy. Find out what makes their heart sing and order it online gift wrapped or buy it in person and send it in the mail to them.

5. Food

Can't forget food, now can we? Food is love, at least in many people's minds. (There's a reason many people's memories of loved ones include meals and comfort foods and smells from the kitchen.) While you might not be able to be there to make them their favorite dishes, you can order takeout for them from a local restaurant and have it delivered to their home. Or during non pandemic times you can give them a gift certificate for their favorite restaurant so they can eat out, on your tab. Alternatively, you can send them gift baskets of their favorite foods, whether it's chocolate, wine, or a fruit basket. I remember whenever we got fruit baskets growing up it was always an exciting time. Before you order any of these, look online for coupons- many of these places offer coupons as well.

6. Services

Sometimes the hardest thing about being far from your loved ones is when you're overwhelmed and you just want someone to take the reigns for you instead of everything being on your shoulder, but there isn't anyone there to actually help you out. For me, a big thing is cleaning help (or food, but I mentioned that above). When I'm having a hard time and no one in my family is able to help with the house, its rough. Hiring a cleaning service to help your loved ones can be really appreciated- a regular cleaning service can cost a lot of money, but just as a one off can still be helpful. Other services you can do is book someone a massage. Or paying for a babysitter so they can go out without their children. What type of service would be most helpful and appreciated will vary from person to person, but sometimes acts of service are the most helpful of all.

Yes, it is hard to be far away from loved ones, and of course spending time in person is the best option, as are long hugs. But when that isn't an option, it at least is helpful to know other ways of sending your love across the distance in a tangible way.

What are your favorite ways to show love to people who are far away? What are some things you have gotten from loved ones who live quite a way away that you felt the love from the most?

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