Enter Your Email To Receive Our Awesome Newsletter
and stand a chance to win great prizes!

How do you handle the holidays when you’re not where you want to be?

The reality for millions of expats around the world is that major holidays and festivals are often spent away from the embrace of family and close friends. These times can (obviously and understandably) amplify feelings of isolation, homesickness, longing and loneliness.

So, how do you cope when circumstances keep you away from the traditional family gathering at holiday time?


Acknowledge the significance

‘Missing out’ on special events is an inherent part of expat life and it can be easy to dismiss the impact a special holiday can have on the intensity of your emotions. But that one date on a calendar can make an enormous difference. It is wise to acknowledge that the influence of distance is greater at this time of year, and understand that extra self-care will be needed to help you keep your emotional equilibrium.


Get active!

Public holidays can be a great time to catch up on much-needed rest and relaxation except when you are celebrating a major holiday away from home. A long day of ‘nothingness’ can only increase your likelihood of feeling lonely and broody. So, be prepared. Fill your day with pre-organised activities and events. In this way, you will wake with a sense of purpose, spend the day in delightful distraction and, hopefully, fall into bed exhausted. Note: spontaneity is always fun, but having a full schedule planned prior to the date will reduce the likelihood of you falling prey to loneliness-induced apathy (ie. “I can’t be bothered”).


Don’t emulate; formulate

As tempting as it be, resist the temptation to recreate hometown traditions. Trying to follow the same schedule, adhere to the same traditions or cook the same food will only amplify the inevitable difference in culture, ingredients and/or weather and highlight the divide between “there” and “here”. Instead, use the opportunity to invent new, more achievable celebrations that are fun, fulfilling and location-friendly. In this way, you will not only negate the constant reminder that you are far from home, but you will create life-long memories and fun anecdotes for the future (“Do you remember our Singapore Christmas when we …”).


Create connection

Loneliness is always the result of disconnection; a sense of being apart from others, or not belonging. Therefore, make meaningful connection an important part of your day. Celebrate with friends that you know well, or socialise with people you would like to know better. Spend time with the underprivileged of Singapore, bond with your immediate family or simply get out and consciously connect with nature. Gift yourself the feeling of valuing something or someone outside of yourself, and being valued in return.


Choose happiness

No external factor can ever “make” you feel good about the day; nobody around you is responsible for your happiness or enjoyment. Therefore, it’s vital for your own wellbeing that you practice acceptance and gratitude to the best of your ability. Sure, you may experience moments of sadness or isolation over the holiday period, but if you make a conscious effort to be grateful for what you have (however small, insignificant or inane) you will find always have a foundation of happiness to return to.

Spending special holidays away from your home base can be difficult. However, with a little effort, it is possible to turn these lonely moments into happy lifelong memories. Be gentle on yourself, fill your day with activity, connect with others who are also in need of support, and choose to celebrate the day in new and memorable ways.


About The Author

I am a mother, nature lover, holistic wellbeing advocate and kindness enthusiast. As an award-winning author, educator and consultant, I combine cutting edge science with spiritual philosophy to inspire holistic wellbeing and fullness of living. Born in New Zealand, I have lived in several countries - now in Singapore.

Looking for some drops of goodness in your day? Visit www.kimforrester.net for a range of courses, content and consultations that will help you thrive in life. Plus, check out the Eudaemonia podcast on your favourite podcast app, for thought-provoking conversations about the traits and practices that can inspire you to flourish.


4 December 2019
Great article. The reality for millions of expats around the world is that major holidays and festivals are often spent away from the embrace of family and close friends. These times can (obviously and understandably) amplify feelings of isolation, homesickness, longing and loneliness.


28 November 2019
Are you being YOU right now? The answer may not be as simple as you think. Studies show that we can all become ‘someone we are not’ in order to fit in socially or avoid unpleasant feelings. This means it takes conscious effort, commitment (and a little confrontation) to live truly authentically. Authentic You is a four-week online course designed to help you reclaim and celebrate the essence of who you are. Nourishing, empowering and thought-provoking, Authentic You will give you the tools to: Unlearn inauthentic or ‘people pleasing’ behaviours Make wiser, more inspired decisions Challenge yourself with new ideas and perspectives Purchase the 4-week Authentic You online course With an investment of about an hour per week, let me guide you on a month-long journey toward a more fulfilling, more authentic expression of you. US$95.00 Find Out More Here: https://www.kimforrester.net/courses.html