A Holiday Survival Guide for Expats - 3 Top Tips
By Dhyan Summers, MA, LMFT
Summary: Expats can sometimes find the holidays challenging. Dhyan Summers has some excellent advice on how to navigate the season and all of the unique stressors that expats encounter while living abroad.
As we delve deeper into December, the holidays take up more time and space. For some expats it can be a stressful time of year, whether you're going home, staying in your host country or going on a holiday.
Here are 3 top tips for making the most of the holiday season:
Tip # 1: Plan something new and different:
Wherever you're spending the holidays, try to plan something unique to do. This can be traveling to a new country, or simply suggesting something new to do on Christmas Day, like going to the movies. If you have a tendency to feel lonely or depressed around the holidays, this can be a great pick-me-up.
Tip # 2: Reach out to others:
If you're an expat who is not going home, try reaching out to others this holiday season. This might mean contacting other expats and starting a new tradition, or volunteering to help out at a Christmas dinner for those less fortunate.
If you're living in a non-Christian country, try inviting friends from your host country to a traditional Christmas brunch or dinner. When you shift the focus from yourself to others, it's guaranteed to lift your spirits, and that was the original idea!
Tip # 3: Make a budget and stickd to it:
Think about what you're willing to spend this holiday season, taking into account gifts, travel and entertainment. Then make your plans accordingly. The holidays can be expensive for everyone, and more so for expats away from home. Usually we decide what we want to do, and then figure out what it will cost. But this is really working backwards and creates added stress. It can be a great relief to put parameters around holiday spending, and who knows what kind of creative ideas you can come up with!
In general, the more creative you can be about how you spend the holidays this year, the more enjoyable they will be. Try enlisting the help of family and friends, if appropriate, so a good time can be had by all.
About the Author
Dhyan Summers is a licensed psychotherapist and director of Expat Counseling and Coaching Services. To book a free session, visit www.expatcounselingandcoaching.com and hit book a free session.
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First Published: Dec 20, 2015