How to Build Relationships with Loved Ones During Virtual Learning
With distance education in the works, our students’ semester looks a bit different. Take it from a college senior, the thought of trying to make this isolated semester feel like every other year seems daunting. Yet, by adding just a touch of creativity and organization to our Passion Planner we can make this semester the most meaningful and connected one yet! Follow these tips to make the most out of this semester and schedule some deeper connection into your own virtual learning.
A Bright and Organized Planner!
The first step in making this the most connected semester yet is deciding exactly how to organize your Passion Planner; where will you schedule your time to stay connected? Creating a planner that is bright and organized brings the light you need to get excited about your week! Surrounding your week’s agenda with uplifting features like stickers with positive reminders and washi tape in happy colors might just be the extra sunshine you need to remember the positives. If those stickers aren’t for you, you have tons of Passion Planner ideas to help your customization spark joy! Color coding is a great method of planning, or you could even organize it based on your Enneagram Type. Choosing a design that feels like you is essential to connecting with your agenda, and getting exciting about all you get to do that week!
How to Combat Loneliness
Now more than ever, we are inundated with overwhelmed work schedules, weekly responsibilities, and the pressures of day to day life. Even with a packed planner, it’s easy to let loneliness find its way in. For that reason, it is increasingly important for us to prioritize scheduling in time to connect with both others and ourselves! Scheduling in connection is essential to transforming our planner from one that promotes loneliness, to one that promotes wholesome well-being!
Connecting with Others
Establishing a consistent and stable connection with others has an abundance of positive effects on our physical and mental well-being. This includes lowering anxiety, improving our immune systems, and so much more. That is why it’s necessary for us to go the extra mile in connecting with others during distance education; closing that distance will make a world of a difference!
1. Friends and Family
The physical separation of distance learning can be especially hard on your relationship with friends and family. Setting aside time to connect with them amongst your classes and responsibilities can elevate your semester online and reduce any feelings of isolation! While it may not be possible to always see them in person right now, there are many creative ways to communicate and gain the same connection otherwise.
Host ZOOM Game Nights
Pick someone to host the Zoom and invite as many guests as you want! There are tons of online game resources to choose from: Jackbox where you can buy and play games that are already made, or Kahoot where you can make and share your own trivia quizzes! Each of these resources provide an immense amount of laughter and smiles to remind you just how close your loved ones really are. They are the perfect family game night ideas. Add this to your Passion Planner to make Friday nights even more fun, and schedule in the benefits of family bonding!
Turn Friends Into Pen Pals
In a world of technology, such a simple means of communication is often overlooked. Yet, there is something about receiving a handwritten letter in the mail that feels more genuine to me than a quick text. To me, it feels as though the travel time of the letter equates to more effort, and the handwritten aspect adds a personal touch often lost in digital communication. What a sweet and sentimental way to remind someone that you care! Set up a pen pal system with your friends and experience the warmth of receiving a happy note in your mailbox to brighten your day. This will push your connection to transcend time, assuring you that your friendship can certainly go the distance. It is a happy surprise that may just meet you on a rainy day. Some planner ideas you can share with your pen pal include writing about the moment you receive your letters in the Good Things That Happened section, or even keeping your letters in the back pocket of your Passion Planner to reread when you need a boost!
Schedule a Connection Day
(This tip is a personal favorite of mine.) While these ideas may seem so simple on paper, often the hardship we face is learning when and how to make time for friends and family! When you’re feeling isolated from others, it can be easy to forget to make that personal effort amidst social media temptation, class work, Zoom calls, and all your other day to day responsibilities.
Schedule time to brainstorm these connecting events on what I call my “Connection Day.” On Saturday mornings, I spend the first hour drinking my coffee and thinking about everyone I haven’t connected with recently.
Then, I make my list.
- Who do I need to connect with today?
- How do I want to connect with them?
- When can I schedule time to reconnect with them?
From there, it becomes easy to see the goals I have for my own relationships. The next few hours are spent making those calls, sending those texts, or scheduling future connection time into my Passion Planner. Though it may seem simple, this is essential to ensure I organize the time to nourish my psychosocial health.
One of the best parts about the changing of the school year is all the new faces you get to meet in your new classes. While distance learning makes this look a little different, those new faces will still be there this year. Here are some tips to close the gap of taboo talking during breakout rooms and establish solid connections with your virtual classmates!
Host a Virtual Study Group
Setting up a virtual study group is a great way to extend your school connections beyond the classroom. Scheduling sessions on any video-calling platform is a great opportunity to not only get to know your classmates better, but to benefit your study process as well. You can work with your new friends on homework while you catch up on your favorite TikTok trend, and begin to build connections that extend outside of your regularly scheduled Zoom lectures. If you don’t feel comfortable setting up your group, reach out to your teacher and ask them for help! They are likely more than willing to help their students connect outside of class, and may even have more ideas for you.
Overcome Breakout Room Taboo
Breaking down that awkward breakout room taboo sometimes seems impossible. Yet having a few things prepared can help ease the tension and even make you some new friends along the way! Have a list of questions on hand that you can ask your classmates in your first breakout session with them. One of my personal favorites is to ask for movie recommendations. You can find out a whole lot about a person by knowing what movies they like, and it’ll give you common ground to talk about in the future. Being prepared for awkward conversations makes them not so awkward after all, and showing your classmates you’re actively listening to what they have to say will make you feel more connected all around.
Connecting with Yourself
The number one loved one you must connect with during a distance learning semester is yourself. Your relationship with yourself influences the relationship you hold with others, your engagement in classes, and your self-esteem. It is essential to ensure that you are scheduling time for YOU into your Passion Planner this semester. Here are some ways to reconnect with your inner self during these unusual times.
Find What Makes You Happy
Scheduling time to do what makes you happy is so important for your physical and mental well-being. Sometimes it’s hard to identify just what it is that makes our heart swell with warmth and butterflies. This semester, jot down a note of every time you feel happiness in the Space of Infinite Possibility of your Passion Planner. In your note, include the date and some details on where you were and what you were doing when you felt your joy. After a few notes, you’ll start to find some common ground and notice what brings you TRUE happiness. Once you do, schedule in more of that! Likewise, this activity helps you take note of the things you may be scheduling time for that don’t bring you too much happiness after all. Those are the things we want to weed out of our schedule. Not only will you feel happier all around, but noticing what brings you joy is one step closer to being entirely connected with your inner self.
Establish A Flexible Routine
Sometimes, finding a routine is all you need to feel in control of your own life. This is especially true when your bedroom is also your classroom. To stay connected with myself, I schedule in extra time to nourish myself physically. This means waking up 5 minutes earlier each morning so I can go on a morning walk or listen to a morning podcast. Though, I say flexible routine because sometimes you need to sleep in an extra hour instead. Most days, sleep is among the number one things college students need. After all, connecting with yourself is all about listening to what your body has to say. It’s important to know that sometimes an hour run feels great, while other times a bowl of ice cream sounds better (most times)! Listen to what your soul is saying, and schedule your Passion Planner accordingly.
Following these steps to connect with yourself, your surroundings, and others will lead to a distance learning semester that doesn’t feel so distant after all. This semester, make sure your Passion Planner is filled with people, activities, and things that make your heart swell with butterflies. Feeling these connections is a necessity for your overall mental and physical well-being, so your family game night is hypothetically as beneficial as that hour long run.
Kelly Sullivan is a college senior, pursuing degrees in Special Education and English. Outside of class, Kelly loves organizing her planner, having game nights with loved ones, and spending time outdoors. She feels passionate about helping others establish meaningful connections, and the power of maintaining a healthy mind!