Not going home for the holidays? You’re not alone.
I know I’m not the only one feeling sad, lonely and anxious right now. In fact, many international students who study abroad just simply can’t see their loved ones as much as they want to. Airplane tickets are expensive when your family doesn’t live in America.
Holidays are a time of joy and celebration and when you feel sad and lonely you’re made to feel guilty about it.
I thought I would write a blog post sharing my experience on how I deal with the holidays and how I overcome the sadness and guilt for not being with my family. This is not the first Thanksgiving break without my family. I’ve probably gone through this season for 4 years without having family and I’m doing ok.
The holiday season often invites unwelcome guests.
For me, the holiday season triggers many emotions. I call it emotional overload because for some reason many of the big changes in my life occurred during the holidays and that’s why I can’t help but look back and reflect on it.And when you live alone all that voice in your head just amplifies up and it feels like you can’t escape! 🙁
But I want to let you know that you can overcome the holiday blues and be thankful for what you have. Don’t compare your holidays with the one on TV where you see that big family eating together and buying nice gifts for each other.
Just don’t compare yourself to other families! All families have their own problems even if they look like they’ve got everything.
I don’t know how many times I’ve cried in the past wishing that my holiday sadness and grief would go away only to see it pop up again during this time of year. It can be hard when your friends are with their loved ones and you are left to spend thanksgiving break alone.
My first thanksgiving was with a vending machine in the basement of my dorm room in New York City. I didn’t even know it was thanksgiving and I was supposed to do something. Most of the students were away and I felt like I was the only student on campus. That day wasn’t a good day and to make matters worse, I got into an argument with my father because I had to drop out of Sarah Lawrence college.
Every year I’m reminded of that incident and all the other not so happy memories that happened to me. Sure, it could be the weather because the days are getting shorter and it’s getting colder outside. The weather has such a big influence on your mood. It may seem like I’m victimizing myself but I am not. I still haven’t forgiven my father and I’m just trying the best that I can each day to get by and process those unresolved feelings. Thankfully LA has great therapists 😉
Each year it doesn’t get easier but I get better at handling the holiday blues. I know what to do when a bad feeling comes up. And I am proud of myself that I can do this all alone. Calling my parents and talking about my “feelings” is not an option so I came up with ways to combat it on my own.
So how do you find joy and comfort in the holidays when you’re studying abroad and living alone?