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Navigating Distance: Supporting Family from Afar
Recently, living far away from my family has been feeling extra challenging. My siblings are going through a difficult time, and I can't help but feel a sense of guilt for not being with them in person and be able to give them a big hug. We all live in different countries, and navigating the distance and time zones can sometimes be tough.
Despite the miles between us, I'm determined to support them as much as I can. I've been making a conscious effort to reach out and check in with a simple text, a call, or by sending them a cute animal video. I've also found that asking them directly how I can help has allowed me to meet them where they are and support them in a way that's meaningful to them.
Navigating how to support them during these times has been a learning experience. There's no one way to do it, and it is normal to feel a bit lost. I've realized that showing up, even in small ways, can make a big difference. Whether we have heartfelt conversations or video chats as we cook dinner, these shared moments have helped us feel closer and even more connected.
I've also learned the importance of prioritizing self care and making time for myself. I've been going on nature walks and bike rides, watching my favourite comfort shows and practicing new sewing skills. It's been a process, but self care has helped me feel more balanced and grounded and has allowed me to recharge.
When helping loved ones or friends, it's important to remember to be kind to yourself, make time for self care and reach out for support when needed. Check out the sections Self Care While Helping a Friend to learn more tips about taking care of yourself and How Can I Help My Friend for guidance on how to best support them. Don’t worry, these also apply for family members as well!
Valentina is a graduate from Western University with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Transitional Justice and Post-Conflict Resolution. Valentina has experience working with newcomer youth, helping them to develop essential skills, build resilience, and gain a sense of belonging. She believes that youth voices should be at the centre of the conversation and decision-making when it comes to mental health. In her free time, you’ll find her salsa dancing, painting, taking care of all her plants and re-watching her favourite comfort show, Friends.
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