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Christmas Blues and End-Of-Year- Depression in an Expat Life


In these times,many of us might feel the impact of the Christmas Blues. By definition this is “A popular term for depression which is most common in those who are alone—without family, friends—or otherwise ‘disenfranchised’ during Christmas, a holiday traditionally shared with family members”. Welcome to Expat Life!

While some of us may be able to go home to see their loved ones, others must spend the holidays abroad. But the End-Of-Year-Depression may affect even those of us who can go home for Christmas and, summing up last years achievements, will ask questions such as: “What have I done with my life” or “did I make the right decisions.” Thoughts that begin with the phrase “what if” or simply uncertainty about one’s future become a heavy burden, most commonly followed by the infamous New Years´s pledges.

For our personal and professional development it is important to learn coping with such open questions,  the absence of answers and enduring regrets. In my opinion, regretting and complaining should be the least thing to do in such a situation. After all, most of the decisions that we regret can no longer be changed anyway.  Rather than feeling miserable about mistakes, we should move on to brighter prospects. In a professional environment, frequent questions include worries such as  “will I get a job” or “will I keep my job” and are naturally difficult to answer. But a positive attitude and a constructive approach can help to improve the way things go.

In times of crisis, the chances that you will find a challenging and inspiring job that is related to your studies and furthermore offers a good salary are pretty low.  The secret is to make a compromise between adapting your expectations to the situation and maintaining a certain standard at the same time. After all, we spend most of our time at work, and it is no solution to accept a job which just makes you feel completely miserable. As an Expat living in Barcelona, this always involves setting priorities: Is it more important to you to have a really challenging job and a great salary, or do you prefer, casually spoken, to wake up under a blue sky almost everyday and gain some international experience? Both things are completely OK, but in order to achieve what you want, you have to define where you want to get first.

We should have in mind, that sometimes veering off course can influence our lives in a positive way. With this I don´t want to say that the only way to achieve true happiness is to live in the moment and not worry about the future.  The key is to learn from past failures, but don´t waste time on regrets. If you want to change something in your life, be it on a professional or personal level, analyze the situation and go for it, or accept it as it is and stop complaining.

It might sound cliché, but it’s true: every second you spend angry or upset is a second of happiness you can never get back. Therefore, do not shy away from taking chances, but do not leave the important decisions up to fate either. A first step forward in terms of jobs would be focus and a positive attitude during the interview, a friendly smile and a clear idea of what  you expect from life. That should help to gain a good action plan for the future.

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