How to Beat the Holiday Blues as an Expat
By Jerry Andrew Nelson, American writer & author living the Expat life in Argentina.
Christmas is just around the corner and many will experience a different season of joy than is normally enjoyed. Besides being a time of happiness, the season can also magnify underlying emotions of loneliness for anyone separated from loved ones.
With the rise of Omnicron, international travel might not be an option as travel limitations make it impossible for expats to see family and friends.
Here are a few tips to deal with it and push those feelings back into the gutter where they belong.
Stay Connected Using Skype, Zoom and Other Tools
Staying in touch while you live overseas may make you miss family and friends more, so be sure and focus on the wonderful-ness of your host country and the positives which spring from your move. For instance, you have unlimited new places, people and feelings to discover that wouldn’t be experienced in your home country.
Yes, you can’t just pop in and visit family and friends, but a brief ‘catch up’ with them via the Internet can make you feel better and with modern technology you can experience a near alternative to seeing them in person. Video calls became useful during lockdown and long-term improvements in life have been found. With dozens of apps which allow you to stay connected, the pandemic has juiced the pace of change in technology and the apps are more user-friendly now.
Video calling has seen an improvement in quality and most now include added features. The most popular apps include Zoom, Skype, and WhatsApp, but Instagram and Facebook also offer video calling.
At Christmas, video apps are especially handy to see family and friends open any gifts you have sent them overseas. It is comforting and wholesome to see their true reaction and facial expressions, rather than receive a written message.
Fill Your Schedule
Carmen Fishwick, writing in How do I … spend Christmas alone? Shares ten ways, including:
Catch up on life admin with no one to disturb you or call you boring. When you’ve finished you’ll wake up on 26 December one step ahead of — or in sync with — the rest of the world.
If you’re too late to help out, there are always the smaller ways to directly help the people around you. Calling on a neighbor or starting a conversation with a stranger could be just the thing both of you need on Christmas Day.
Focus on Positives
This may seem easier said than done there can be some enjoyment still — maybe by doing something you usually wouldn’t such as getting up to watch the sunrise, visit a historic location or make an alternative holiday meal. That fact that it is different than normal might make Christmas 2021 something you will remember. Accept the situation and appreciate where you are and the benefits go a long way to soothing yourself and making Christmas feel as special as it should.
It’s important to always keep in mind that this situation is ever-changing. Whilst ‘normality’ may still seem a long way off, it is starting to feel as though it is within reach. Remind yourself that this is only temporary, and that next Christmas will hopefully be very different to what we have experienced this year.
Jerry Nelson is an American writer living the expat life in Argentina and winner of the Revi 2021 Reader Award. You can find him at any of hundreds of sidewalk cafes and hire him through Fiverr, join the quarter-million who follow him on Twitter or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you have heartwarming or interesting story you’d like to share about moving over holidays or moving in general? We would love to hear it! Shoot us a line and you could fly on us to reunite with loved ones. ’Tis the Season!
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