The volatile economy has forced more and more Americans to go where the work is instead of seeking jobs in their own hometowns. Long range commutes are no longer uncommon. Though everyone’s got to do what they can to survive it does put a strain on families when one parent is coming and going on a regular basis. Plus it isn’t too easy on the traveler, either. But here are a few simple ways to help ease the pangs of separation and travel.
Thanks to technology there are plenty of ways to stay in the loop with each other. In addition to phone calls and texts don’t forget to set up specific times for video chatting with your family. If you have a young child maybe you can even be part of the bedtime rituals even if you’re across the country.
Also note that while traveling it’s easy to lose track of the days so be careful not to miss out on any important dates like birthdays and anniversaries. If you can’t be there in person still make a concentrated effort to have a presence by sending flowers or gifts and making phone calls no matter what the time difference. Keep communication open with family members and be as consistent and present as you possibly can.
If your work takes you to many destinations in a short amount of time it is very easy to feel disconnected and confused. So wherever you are create some sense of ritual and continuity with photos, candles, a robe and slippers… any touches of home that your eyes can light on upon waking and going to sleep will have a stabilizing effect. There’s a reason high-end touring musicians have specific demands for dressing room continuity – not all requests are to be outlandish, some are to give a sense of home.
Make Use of Drive Times
If you’re driving long distances you’ve got ample time to listen to podcasts, language lessons or recorded books. And if you’ve got a hands-free arrangement you can tackle long talks as well. Just be careful that the stories you listen to aren’t snoozers that will make you sleepy.
And of course music was made for the road so don’t forget to create some spectacular playlists for your highways excursions. Feeling tired? Pump up the volume and rock!
Be Engaged When Home
If you’re away for long stretches at a time it can be difficult to fold yourself back into the daily routine back at home. It can be difficult for your family, too. If possible, try to talk about what you all need from one another, even if it’s just a few hours extra sleep or the chance to lounge by the pool for one quiet day. But as soon as you can start being engaged with the daily household events again. It would be easy to be too tired to attend band recitals or soccer games but these are times you can’t get back so be sure to make the most of them while you have them and to enjoy.
Long haul commutes aren’t easy but there are ways like these that can help smooth out the rough edges – giving you the chance to make the most of your time while away and when home again.
Written by Emily Rankin. Are you insured for those long drives? www.carinsurance.org.uk