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Holiday Blues

Christmas is the most beautiful time of the year, especially when you find yourself in a foreign country with different customs and traditions than your own. It is also a time to grow close to your host family as you will be celebrating the holidays with them. Some Au Pairs get to see snow for the first time, they get to participate in winter sports and get to decorate their very first real Christmas tree. There comes a price to pay for all these amazing experiences – you aren’t amongst your own people. With every fun memory will come a bittersweet feeling of longing for your own family, country and culture. It is important to know that you will most likely have these experiences for once in your life and that home will always be there.

We have compiled some tips to brush the holiday blues off your shoulders and to really embrace the situation that you are in.

1. Be open to new traditions – You may have an image of what you think the holiday should consist of, and this may not be what’s actually happening. Instead of holding on to what the holiday should have been, allow new traditions to unfold. Be open to new experiences, you might just like it!

2. Exercise regularly – Plug in your headphones and pop out for a walk around the block a couple of times a day. A quick 10-minute walk will get your heart rate up and release mood-boosting endorphins.

3. Go out and keep yourself busy - It might be tempting to treat your room as your own little safe haven, but spending lots of time inside will only make the homesickness that much worse. Isolating yourself will make your feelings more intense, as you'll spend even more time thinking about what you miss from home. Try to keep yourself busy by going on day drips, meet up with other Au Pairs. One of the main reasons we feel homesick is often to do with being in unfamiliar surroundings, so it's a great idea to set aside some time to explore your town or city so you'll feel more at home.

4.Keep in touch with home (but not too much!) - Whether it's a phone call, a WhatsApp group chat or a quick Zoom call, keeping in touch with your friends and family helps to close that gap and make you feel more involved with things back home. However, keeping in touch too much can actually make you feel the distance more. The trick is to not let it get to the stage where you're communicating with people back home more than you are with people around you. Always remember not to phone home in tears and vent about the negative feelings that you are experiencing.

5. Don’t compare yourself to other Au Pairs - It's easy to look at everyone else's Instagram and Snapchat stories and think you're not having as good of a time as they are, or that you're doing something wrong. But don't forget that social media just shows a superficial snapshot of what people's lives are actually like. Try not to compare your experience to others, and don't expect every single day to be the best one of your life.

6.Plan one nice thing for yourself a day - Staying positive can be a lot easier said than done. But making a concerted effort to carry a positive attitude around with you will help you to combat homesickness in a major way. Plan things into your day that you enjoy doing and can look forward to, whether it's socializing with friends or a nice hot bath and an episode of Bake Off. Staying positive also makes you a pleasure to be around, so you'll probably find it much easier to make new friends (which also helps to keep homesickness at bay). It is not a bad life, just a bad day.

The feelings will be over as soon as you know it, always stop and smell the roses and find something every day that you can be grateful for.

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