The festive period is meant to be a time to relax and have fun – and this might be the case for many people; but for expats, the holidays can often be a synonym for stress.
For those who are living far away from their loved ones, making choices about how to spend the holiday periods can be stressful. There can be obligations and expectations to travel in order to meet families, at the same time that – when ‘home visits’ are not possible – holidays can turn into a time of loneliness.
What’s more, many expats can experience tough times when having to spend the festive season in a foreign land, adapting to new traditions as they don’t feel in the right place to follow their own.
It’s important to keep a positive mind-set and stay true to your priorities so that you can enjoy yourself. Follow these tips for coping with some of the stress and loneliness that the holidays can cause.
Reach out to loved ones
Family and friends back home or abroad may want to share with you during the holidays, and expect a visit. While you may not be able to meet their expectations, you can try your best to keep in touch – a phone conversation or spending a few minutes chatting with a loved one can make a big difference, and lift both your and their spirit.
Make the most of it
Adjusting to new traditions can bring up mixed feelings and emotional struggle. Try not to put yourself under too much pressure. Embracing the new, while maintaining a sense of tradition to your new surroundings, can help you feel better.
Don’t let the hype affect you
You may feel surrounded by images and ideas of what the perfect holiday should look like – but the truth is that holidays can be stressful emotionally and financially. Don’t let the media get into you and avoid comparing yourself to unrealistic depictions.
Try not to isolate yourself
Make an effort to spend time visiting places that can bring you joy, find ways to connect with friends abroad or spend time with new local friends that can comfort you when you’re feeling down.
People who are going through difficult situations, such as grieving the loss of a loved one or dealing with the break of a relationship – can be particularly vulnerable and experience further emotional stress with the holiday season. It’s important not to ignore your feelings. Reaching out for support specialists or counselling sessions can help you examine your feelings and cope with overwhelming emotional struggle.
Find your balance
Take time to reflect and think about what works best for you. Whether you can or want to visit relatives abroad or spend the festive season in your host country must be in tune with your personal priorities and needs. Finding the balance that is right for you is essential for your mental health.
Source: Based on an article from The National.