The festive season can be lonely. Find out how to avoid the Christmas blues
Louise Emma Clarke
What exactly is homesickness? Is it a form of depression? It can be compared to having the blues. When we feel homesick, we tend to have negative thoughts about ourselves and our circumstances, leading to feelings that we can only be happy if we are elsewhere. It is very different to being clinically depressed, as homesickness is a temporary altered mood and we can take steps to pull ourselves out of it.
Why do so many of us feel homesick during the festive season? Homesickness is more intensely experienced at festive times. We naturally want to be with our loved ones, friends, and family. These feelings are heightened when we see other people’s photographs on social networking sites. We assume that everyone is having fun and is warmly nestled at home with loved ones, while we feel very far away and isolated. Living far away from home can be challenging enough, but more so if we are confronted with festive lights, decorated trees and exhibited gifts, cards and a general festive mood. It also makes us miss the traditions of our childhood. Most of us fill our time with work, which can intensify the feelings of loneliness.
What steps can we take to cope with these feelings and enjoy the festive season? We might not be able to go home to the people we love most, but we can make a choice to accept the here and now. These simple mood boosters will make a big difference:
Step 1: Talk to someone about how you feel. Confiding in a friend will quickly improve your mood.
Step 2: Make a change to your routine. This could be something very simple, such as taking a different route to work or using the metro for a few days to give yourself a break from driving.
Step 3: Exercise. Even if you don’t feel like it, put on your trainers and do it. The endorphins that are released into the body during exercise are nature’s most powerful mood enhancer.
Step 4: Write it down. Keeping a journal is very therapeutic.
Step 5: Spread kindness. A simple act, such as giving way to another driver, paying someone a compliment or smiling at a stranger will quickly improve your own mood.
Step 6: Laugh. Watch a silly movie and avoid depressing ones. It will do you no harm to avoid watching the news for a few days.
Step 7: Listen to music. Music can improve our mood instantly, so press play on an energetic piece and listen to it for at least five minutes.
Step 8: Understand that these feelings will pass. Seasons pass and you won’t feel homesick forever.
Jumping Head to Bounce for its Christmas JUMP-er Party to feel a rush of happy endorphins as you jump on the trampolines to festive tunes. Dhs200. December 9, 8pm-11pm. 32, 4B Street, Al Quoz (behind Ace Hardware), Sheikh Zayed Road, www.bounce.ae (04 321 1400).
Pampering Book a Colour Harmonising Holistic Experience at Spadunya. The treatment combines colour therapy with pressure points massage to boost energy levels and improve your mood. Dhs585. Spadunya, Plaza Level, Shams 1, JBR, www.spadunyaclub.com (04 439 3669).
Laughing Cheer yourself up with at a screening of hilarious Christmas movie Elf at British gastropub Reform Social & Grill. Free with the purchase of food and drinks (hotdogs and popcorn complimentary). Bookings essential. December 9, 8pm. Reform Social & Grill, The Lakes, www.reformsocialgrill.ae (04 454 2638).