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Ways to Combat Seasonal Depression While Abroad

November 29, 2019

Now that temperatures have dropped and the sky has been gray and stormy more often than not, at least for those of us living in places with colder climates, it can be difficult to constantly feel as though the sun might never show its face again.

This can be all the more challenging when you are abroad, and therefore, away from family and friends who might be able to ease the burden of seasonal depression.

 

Seasonal depression used to be part of my routine once winter rolled around back home, but I would at least be able to enjoy fall because although temperatures dropped, the sun would still shine through the cold, misty atmosphere.

However, now that I have moved to a city with a rainy climate, and not one, but two rivers running through it, I feel as though I am being continually bombarded by torrential downpour and gloomy skies.

 

Usually, this type of climate would be unbearable for me. For example, last year I studied abroad in Paris and for months, I thought that I just did not like Paris that much and that it was a depressing city. I could not fathom why people fell in love with it when I could not feel that special affinity for the City of Lights. Then, when May came around and the sunlight started lasting for longer than ten minutes, I suddenly grew an immense fondness for Paris, myself.

Despite my having come around to living in Paris, I strongly no longer wish for the climate of a place to affect how much I appreciate my environment and whether or not I am able enjoy my travels. Perhaps there is a genetic aspect to it all, but I refuse to have my views skewed by the temperature in every city I visit. Of course, this is easier said than done, but there are some methods that I have recently been implementing that seem to be working well so far. 

One of these methods includes simply wearing bright, warm colors such as yellow, orange, and scarlet as well as rich purples, blues, and pinks. As a New Yorker, this goes against my natural instinct, which is basically to dress in all, or almost all, black; however, the more I diversify my wardrobe with these bright colors, the easier it has become to wear them more often instead of just every once in a while. These days, though black is comfortable and powerful, I find myself wanting to wear bright colors because I have noticed how much they improve my mood.

 

Another method I have been using is a no-brainer, but as an introvert, it can sometimes be an arduous task. This method is merely socializing more often and having stimulating conversations with friends, rather than just dull, mindless small talk with acquaintances.

Personally, it is easy for me fall into the trap of staying alone and only socializing when necessary, so almost all my free time would become alone time, but I have recently been a lot better about arranging plans to meet up with friends, which might be the most prominent reason for which I have not yet been ensnared by seasonal depression.

 

Lastly, I try to stay busy and though I am technically “traveling” by living abroad, I like to keep busy by planning my future trips to other places because despite the effective methods that I have been using, a little sunlight and time at the beach in a new place couldn’t hurt either!

 

Naná is a proud Brooklyn native and aspiring digital nomad. She enjoys travel, nature, and art. Her other hobbies include reading fantasy novels, binge-watching series on Netflix, and language-learning. Find her @blackbelletravels 

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