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Traveling is a privilege and for some, like me, a lifestyle choice. With travel, a world of opportunities, new memories, stories and friendships become available for you. While there are many reasons why some must travel – for work, studying abroad, or just simply moving abroad for love/family – and there are many pros, we all share many of the same cons, including leaving behind loved ones and the pain that comes with starting over. It becomes especially hard to cope with the loneliness, especially during the holiday season (holiday blues).

Last year celebrating the Holidays with my family in Puerto Rico. My sis Annie, my brother Steve and my mom Haydee.

Here are some ways that I fight the holiday blues, especially now that I am away from my friends in New York, and even further away from my family in Puerto Rico (since I recently relocated to Berlin, Germany). I hope these tips can help you too.

My Godmother Neggie, my aunt Angie, my sis Annie, my cousins David & Janet.
My aunt Titi Sandra and My cousins in New York. They have been my New York family since we met in 2003.

Family is not about blood. It’s about who is willing to hold your hand when you need it the most.

Share your traditions

I am a big fan of the holiday season and since in the United States we celebrate Thanksgiving (which is not really celebrated in Europe) that’s the beginning for me, next my birthday, Christmas, and then straight through to New Year’s!

All of these holidays (especially Christmas) are normally celebrated with close friends and family. Thus, this year, I decided to join an international group of friends (that I met through ‘Meet Up’) in a Potluck meal to celebrate Thanksgiving. Each person is bringing a different dish and during dinner we’ll share stories and create new memories. The best part, some people who are joining in have never celebrated Thanksgiving before, but they are interest in, and excited about, learning more about this tradition.

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Make your favorite holiday dishes / drinks

I love cooking my traditional dishes and making my favorite holiday drinks and desserts. I think this is an excellent way to fight your holiday blues and to keep your foodie traditions alive wherever you go. For example, in my case, it is hard to find a Puerto Rican Restaurant in Germany, but I can cook arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas), roast some pernil (roasted pork), and prepare some coquito (Puerto Rico’s traditional drink, similar to eggnog). To top it off, I love to make my Godmother Neggie’s recipe for Flan de Queso (cheese custard). It’s still not quite like hers, but I am getting there!

When I went to visit Jamaica and I ended up making Puerto Rican Coquito with Jamaican Rum. Why not?

Decorate your space

What a better way to spark your holiday spirit than by decorating your home or work space! You do not need to get the biggest decorations (for example, a huge Christmas tree) but it could be something as simple as a small decoration for the door or table. Anything addition can make a difference in your space. I suggest scented candles with warm smells like cinnamon, pine or anything that you enjoy and that reminds you of home. You can buy a nice table cloth or even a shower curtain. Little things can make a big difference and put a smile on your face.

Another favorite: Best places to spend Christmas in Europe – Must see places in Europe in Winter!


Play your favorite holiday music

Most holidays are all about the music. Create a playlist with your favorite holiday songs and enjoy it while you are at home, or during your daily commute. You can also use it for a get-together. Do not forget to include some music for dancing (shake those hips)!


Volunteer your time

Holidays are about giving and what better way to do that than by lending a helping hand where needed. Why not volunteer your time locally (homeless shelter, animal shelter, nursing home) or just simply go around to feed the homeless. If you can make a difference in one moment in the life of a person, or make them smile, the resulting feeling of happiness is your reward! Remember, it’s all about paying it forward!

Suggested reading: Is It Time For A Break With Purpose? Africa has so much to offer


Share with us below: What do you miss most about your holidays at home? Do you have other tips to fight the holiday blues when you are away from home?

Want to know more? Are you having issues with depression while living abroad? Here are some recommendations.

One of my best friends, Stephon
One of my best friends and the best wardrobe stylist, Stephon.

Love, it’s the greatest of gifts. It can’t be placed in a box or wrapped in a bow…


19 thoughts on “Top 5 ways to fight the holiday blues when you are away from home”

    1. Dreams in Heels

      I am glad that you love the tips. Yeah, giving back is so important. It doesn’t take much to make a difference. πŸ™‚

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    Good suggestions. I lived away from home for the longest time and really was bummed during the holidays. Your tip about making familiar foods is a great idea and something I wish I would have done to have a memory of home.

    1. Dreams in Heels

      I am glad that you like the tip about food. I am a foodie Erica. Familiar food can definitely makes you smile. πŸ™‚

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    Some really good suggestions here – I spent a lot of time in my 20’s living away from home and although I did miss family and friends I always enjoyed learning about how the country I was living in celebrated Christmas. I love the idea of the potluck meal! Happy Thanksgiving for today πŸ™‚

    1. Dreams in Heels

      Thanks Tracy. Yeah the potluck is always fun. I am also excited about seeing how they celebrated Christmas here. I will definitely write about this soon πŸ™‚

  3. Avatar

    I enjoyed reading your post. It’s right on time because holiday season is approaching. Your tips about decorating home and choosing music are really appealing to me. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Avatar

    You have such a wonderful family! Since I mostly travel with my family, I hardly experience the blues but the tips you have mentioned here sound quite practical. Btw, I love your awesome Heels πŸ™‚

    1. Dreams in Heels

      Awww thanks for the compliment about my family and about my heels. I am living my dreams in heels! It is cool that you get to travel with your family. Enjoy the holiday season πŸ™‚

    1. Dreams in Heels

      Awww thanks. I am glad that you liked my post. Definitely the highlight of traveling and living abroad is meeting new people from around the world.

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