So the alliterative cures I list below, and which I used last night, work pretty well. They keep one busy.
My better insight though is that a sense of purpose helps more than creating busy-ness.
If I am missing people, it is best to imagine how this time away from them can be used best, so that when I am with them my time with them can also be used best.
-bath and a goodnight's sleep = I will be more resilient and relaxed when I pick the kids up from school the next day.
-morning walk, tea and focused reading of work = I have to do my job too, and if I work harder now, I can slide a little and not have to be thinking of work around the edges of being with loved ones when I next get to be with them.
This is also a very constructive (or so it feels to me) reframing of the narrative that had in the past led to self- pity and flagellation. In other words, replace "You are feeling bereft because you deserve it" with "Feeling lonely? Get busy now so that when you are with loved ones you can relax and enjoy it."
This is a version of my father's advice on Christmas morning when I was weeping about missing the children: "Oh, stop it!" He said, at the end of his rope with me, "Shut up, have another cup of coffee and read your book. Soon you'll be back with everybody and they will be driving you crazy with something." Touche, Pappa. Touche.