Whether work is keeping you too busy to allow you to take time off or if you’ve just moved to another country, the reality is that many people will not be able to spend the holiday season with family and old friends. And, especially if it’s your first year away from home, that can be a tough pill to swallow.
Luckily, being away doesn’t have to mean you’re spending the early days of winter alone and miserable. There are ways to make the most of your situation, and we have a few tips on how to cope and even enjoy yourself this holiday season even if you’re thousands of miles away from home.
Bring Family Traditions to You
Even though you’re not home, you don’t have to separate yourself from the things that make your family’s holidays truly unique. Are mom’s potato latkes something you crave year-round? Learn how to make them. Does your family listen to Elvis Presley while decorating the Christmas tree? Throw on “Elvis’ Christmas Album” while you deck your own halls. These small acts can help you feel close to family even when you’re far away.
Call Home As Much As You Need to (and Can)
The beautiful thing about technology is it makes keeping in touch with people who are far away much, much easier. Whenever you’re starting to feel a little blue, pick up the phone and call your loved ones for some much-needed words of comfort. Also, set up a time to FaceTime or Skype in at the family celebration — it’s not the same as being there, but it can be the next best thing.
Find a Community
Just because you’re away from home this holiday season, it doesn’t mean you have to spend the holidays alone. Find a new friend group to celebrate with; look for local meet-ups online with like-minded people; or if you’re living abroad, find fellow ex-pats to celebrate with. Spending your days with new friends can help to lift you up when you’re really missing your loved ones.
Immerse Yourself in Local Activities
Find what makes your current home unique and truly embrace it. Go to the local tree-lighting ceremony, take in the church’s annual Christmas pageant, or go to the nearest ice skating rink or holiday market and take in the scenery. Exploring new things to do not only can quell any homesick feelings by keeping busy, but it can also help to make your new hometown start to really feel like home.
There’s no better way to feel the love during than to give love. Join a local charity initiative this holiday season for a cause close to your heart. Not only will you meet new people and help out those in need, but volunteering is mutually beneficial. Helping out others has been proven to decrease the risk of depression and lower stress levels.