How to Stay Connected to Your Family During Long Absences
Astronaut skills for real life
Astronauts are regular people in extraordinary circumstances.
The International Space Station orbits the earth 50+ times a day while the astronauts stationed there perform their daily tasks of maintenance, work, experimentation as well as 2 hours of exercise a day. While these men and women are living their dreams in space, like all of us here on earth, they also have family and friends that make their lives meaningful. Family and friends keep us rooted; they remind us who we are.
Today?s astronaut has free, unfettered access to be able to communicate with their families. They have technology like ?Space Skype? where they can see and hear their loved ones at any time. This helps them stay connected and helps with the insurmountable distance between them. If an astronaut can stay in contact with their loved ones, do we really have an excuse?
Here are some things astronauts have taught us about dealing with staying connected to family during their long absences:
Have a communication schedule
The International Space Station can have a crew of 3 to 6 astronauts at a time. This, combined with their heavy workload, means they need to schedule everything from meals to sleep. If you are away from your family, it makes sense to schedule a time to call where both or all of you are available. This way you ensure that you can stay connected. Also, there is always email and texting!
Quality vs Quantity
The quality of communication is more important than how many times you communicate or for how long. Staying connected has more to do with sharing intimacy, private thoughts or feelings, than spending hours chatting about things. Yes, chatting about your day has its value as well but these things can also be shared in an email. Make sure that when you are communicating you say the important things (i.e. ?I love you?, ?I miss you?).
Think of communication like vitamins
Absence has a tendency of having us forget or disregard the necessity to stay connected to people. Much like our health, if we are not sick, we do not seek treatment. However, emotional connections are more like preventative medicine. We need constant doses or reminders that we are valued to fortify us from potential issues as a result of stressful situations. Knowing we are loved and supported keeps us healthier.
Not everyone is having an adventure
If you are the one who is away, you need to remember that your family back home is still living their lives. Like the astronauts, you may be having an adventure far away but your family is living their routines without you. The effort to stay connected needs to be prioritized so that you can enjoy whatever you are doing and they are comforted in knowing you are well.
The key to all relationship is communication. Staying connected is also important to our well being. People in relationships report higher rates of life satisfaction and health than those who are not. So, it may be a short call or a quick text to a loved one but to your heart, it is everything!
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