This is an opinion article. Any views expressed belong solely to the author and are not representative of The Cluster.
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In times of need, aid is typically handled by governmental systems, but what happens when these systems fail us? People turn to their community.
When one hears the words “long distance relationship,” it initially stirs a bit of intimidation. Well, at least it did for me. Think about it, you’re not able to see your significant other the way you normally would. Not only is the distance intimidating, but the ability to maintain a connection becomes harder. Whether we realize it or not, most of our connections are based off of proximity. This makes things even more difficult as college students; creating the idea that there’s a barrier that blocks a relationship from functioning while long distance. While that may seem probable, I’m here to tell you that a long distance relationship can work. Here are five ways in which you can keep a connection in a long distance relationship. Keep a schedule Having some sort of digital or physical planner will not only help you organize your personal plans but also help you in visualizing when you and your partner are available to give each other time. Whether it is during your lunch break or right before you go to bed, you will have an understanding of when to prioritize connecting with your partner. Commit to communication Make sure that you are finding a way to communicate with your partner. Sometimes the conversations will be three hours and other times three minutes. I understand that there are times when we do not feel like talking, but making that known to your partner, instead of ghosting them, will probably help them understand you and be more considerate of that. And contrary to what you may think, speaking to your partner might actually brighten your day and clear your mind more. Incorporate date nights Not being around each other does not mean that you can no longer have dates. With technology, anything is possible! So throw on your finest outfit, order some takeout and video chat your significant other for a virtual date. You can also have a movie night. Gather your favorite movie snacks, slip on a robe and watch a movie with programs like Netflix Party or Zoom (using share screen). You can get even more creative with this by adding your own little twist. Adhere to their love language I believe in the importance of knowing your partner’s love languages. There are five: acts of service, physical touch, quality time, receiving gifts, and words of affirmation. Adhering to their love language will help you understand how to love your partner even while you’re away. For example, my love languages are words of affirmation and acts of service, and although acts of service are difficult to do when apart, my partner will randomly send me thoughtful and reassuring messages, and this reaffirms our connection. So, study your partner’s love language, express it in your own way and let them know that they are special to you. Cherish your moments together Although there are several things that can be done to keep the connection going, I believe that it is important to make the effort to see each other. This can be done by planning trips to your desired location or visiting your partner wherever they live. And when you do, make the most out of the time you have together. Cherish each other’s company by doing activities that will make you grow closer. Overall, long distance relationships will require effort. If you are in a space where you are able and willing to make it work, it will not feel laborious at all. When you remain optimistic and change your thinking, you can think of this as just another step towards a healthy, flourishing relationship.
Living in a world permeated by COVID-19 has affected many areas of our lives. Our health, education and occupations have changed in some capacity, making many of us wonder what is next. This sort of questioning has affected the way in which many people go about their lives. Uncertainty leads to a lack of motivation. How can we find inspiration in a world that seems to exhibit no sort of stability? Here are six ways in which you can find inspiration after losing it. Acknowledge that you have lost what you once had. The first way to solve an issue is by addressing it. Take the time to effectively reflect upon what you are currently experiencing. This not only helps you understand the specific aspects that have caused you to get to where you are, but it also allows you to understand what needs to be tackled. Loss is a part of life, and living in denial of that will only get you so far. Surround yourself with people or things that bring you clarity. We sometimes tend to get so wrapped up in our heads that we forget the very things around us that give us hope. Whether it be by hanging out with family and friends or listening to your favorite album, do something that will allow you to gain a sense of clarity. Go outside. You would be surprised at how refreshing the outdoors can be. Whether you live in a noisy city or quiet neighborhood, exposing yourself to the outside world can open up your mind to ideas and concepts that you probably would never think of in the comfort of your bedroom. Inspiration is everywhere; you just have to go out and find it. Immerse yourself in a good podcast. A new interest I have picked up lately is listening to podcasts. I believe that they are an excellent way to find entertainment while also gaining insight about practically any topic. Sometimes, hearing about other people’s experiences will help you tap into your own. A couple favorites of mine are Small Doses with Amanda Seales and As We Bloom by Anie Spratt. They both aid me in my self-reflection process. Work with what you’ve got. Inspiration does not come from one idea. It is a process that progressively becomes better. If you have an idea, write it down even if you think it is “bad.” Everyone has to start somewhere. Writing down an idea before working towards it allows you to better visualize what needs to be done. And who knows — that idea can lead to something even greater. Be patient with yourself. Just like everything else, finding inspiration is a work in progress. If you rush inspiration, it will only run farther away. Let it come to you. By being patient with yourself, you allow yourself to fully process what is happening and embrace it.