How to beat the Christmas blues if you’re far from home

Published:  2 Jan at 6 PM
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Tagged: Dubai, UAE
Christmas and the New Year are times for partying and getting together with friends and family but, for expats who’re on the other side of the world and can’t get home, the season can bring on loneliness and depression.

At its worst, a lonely Christmas in a strange land can bring on panic attacks and serious depression, especially if there’s no supportive expat community ready to ease feelings of isolation. Watching everyone else having fun and hiding your feelings in order to keep your co-workers happy makes for a very emotionally challenged Festive Season, especially if you’re a new arrival and haven’t yet become part of a social group.

In upscale destinations such as Dubai, every mall is crammed with decorations, folks walking around in Father Christmas costumes and excited children accompanying their parents on endless rounds of Christmas shopping. Christmas songs blare out, and those whose families and friends are far away can’t help but feel isolated. Studies have shown expats living and working in the UAE are more likely than their counterparts in many other world countries to feel depressed, sad, lonely and generally unhappy at this time of year.

Warning signs include low mood, sleeplessness, lack of enjoyment of food, drinking too much and feelings of despair. Being angry with yourself for feeling and acting this way is not the way to go, as it will only increase your sense of abandonment. The best way forward is to attend social events with colleagues and friends, thus being part of a social circle at this time of year. Mingling with others, even if they’re just acquaintances, gives a feeling of being a part of something, and looking ahead to the new year can have positive results, both in your personal life and at work. When you feel it’s getting too much, just sitting peacefully at home and listening to music will help you relax and rediscover your positivity.
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