There is no way to sugar coat it, traveling for work can be difficult on relationships. For some people being out of town is a common occurrence and relationships thrive. Overall, though, traveling can make it more difficult to stay "connected" with spouses, partners, family members and children when not sharing the same house or zip code.
Most of us would agree, the most important and rewarding relationships in our lives are those with our families. When life is good and you are connected with each other, you feel amazing while supporting and being supported by other family members. Everyone is on the same page, up to date on life, reassured by each other's need for one another, and feels confident in the relationship and most importantly loved!
Going through a difficult time with loved ones, being disconnected or unhappy are issues we have all faced. When tough times happen, they just don't affect our interactions with relatives, but seep into every aspect of our lives. We become sad, irritable, distracted, angry etc. and if traveling for work is involved the solutions can be harder to find.
There are ways that can help couples and families stay better connected while being separated from each other. So when difficult times delve into work, you can feel confident since you already have a plan in place for staying connected which works in good and bad times.
Ultimately, feeling loved, supported and thought about will help keep a relationship strong and connected. Below are some ideas to help make your relationships stronger and more connected when work calls for late nights or long distance travels.
1. Plan Daily Check-Ins: This can be over the phone, email or ideally Skype or Face Time so you can catch up face-to-face.
2. Plan Ahead: Hide a card (homemade is the best) in the traveler's luggage or leave a hidden note for those at home.
3. Schedule Quality Time: Before and after a trip, schedule one-on-one quality time with each other … take a walk, go on a date, play a game, etc.
4. Do Something Special: Organize non-routine activities to do while apart, such as a girls' night, movie night, bike ride, Waffle Wednesday with the kids, etc. Keeping busy and active makes the time apart go faster while also having something new and fun to share with your traveler.
5. Read Together: Pick the same book or magazine that each of you can read while apart and then discuss when you connect in person or over the phone.
6. Use Technology: Record a short video message or email of what the kids made or learned in school. The traveling parent can record a short book or poem to share before bedtime or any time the kids are missing mom or dad.
7. Develop Hobbies: Pick up a new hobby (drawing, music, coin collecting, photography) individually, as a couple or for the whole family. Practicing while apart allows you to show your progress when together again. This helps you stay focused, goal oriented and connected.
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8. Do Something Fun: Plan a scavenger hunt and hide little things around the house before leaving. You can send clues and hints via text message or email. Create one for each day you're gone.
9. Share Digital Pictures: Visualizing where your loved one is can be reassuring and it makes conversations meaningful. Snap a photo of your hotel, a landmark, the weather or kids doing their homework and share before your daily connection.
10. Remember the Traveler at Home: In a family situation, discuss how parent/spouse is working hard for the family even while away on a trip. Mention how proud the traveling parent would be to see schoolwork accomplished or chores finished. Give an extra goodnight kiss from the missing parent and keep a positive outlook and mindset. Kids react to their parents' behavior and mood.
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