It's now official that winter is my least favourite season of the year. Trying to cope with the short days and long nights has proved a major fail for me. I still can't get used to the sun setting at 4p.m and rising at 8a.m (Thank God it's now Spring!). Though, I must say, I am supposed to actually be grateful that I'm not living up north in Scandinavia. Mid-December is that time of year when I start craving for the scorching sun back home - the discomfort of dust and humidity included. Homesickness usually sets in around this time. Everything about December, especially the romantic and opulent German christmas markets, only ups my nostalgia for the hot equatorial sun. However, not being of the private-jet owning lot, I have found ways of battling and eventually coping with homesickness during the cold months. Here are five of them that work for me:
Increasing social activity
Having like-minded people and friends around during my free time is something that helps me take my mind off off obsessing about home. It's always wonderful to have a spontaneous evening out with the girls or a coffee with friends, just like the good old times back home, I guess.
But things get tricky if you are a single 30-something-year-old with friends that have now got families to take care of - that is to say, friends who increasingly have less time for you. Well, thank God for Meetup.com, InterNations.org and all those other websites with like-minded locals and internationals meeting up at social events! I've gotten into the habit of going to some of these social events and have met many interesting people.
Be it working with machines in the gym or doing cardio-vascular exercises, I have found sports to be the sweet pain that my body and mind seem to enjoy while I'm at it. Interestingly enough, I have found out that my mind is occupied with other things other than homesickness when doing sports. Even though getting myself motivated to do sports is a daily hustle, it does pay off in the end.
Keeping in touch with family
Obviously there might be the danger of counterproductivity if you talk to a parent back home that terribly misses you. On the other hand, family is probably familiar with your decision to live abroad and will help you look on the bright side of living abroad. Skype or FaceTime sessions with family may help you get emotionally grounded and/or enable you to see things from a different perspective.
Redesigning living space
Since much more time is spent indoors during Winter, it's quite important to make your living space cosy and inviting. And this doesn't have to cost you a fortune. You might just have to move some furniture around. Youtube is a great source for ideas on how to redesign your living space.
Watching a good movie/series
Even though it sounds cliché, a good movie, a good series or good book is often a rewarding distraction.
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