Last year in December, I came to Newcastle for the first time, as the lockdown restrictions were being lifted. I hoped that things were getting better, and my university experience would become somewhat normal. Silly me.
Around that time, people were starting to go home for holidays early. Some of my new flatmates in the uni halls were going the day after my arrival. The last person from my flat left the day I got out of self-isolation after travelling from abroad. In the whole house, there was no one. Just me, myself and I in a foreign place. And I knew I would have to spend my Christmas there.
I had to come up with a plan to enjoy my time even by myself. There were two options: 1/ try not to let it get to me and act like it’s just a day like any other; 2/ admit being disappointed about not being able to spend the time with my family. I went with the first one.
Every day I would go for a walk, explore the city a little bit, cook something nice for myself and binge-watch shows and films that I hadn’t had time for during the term time. I was thriving, or at least thought so; however, slowly but surely it was getting harder and harder to get up in the morning, I was getting out of my routine and you could even say that I got depressed without me noticing.
Luckily, I was able to go home shortly after Christmas, but my mental state didn’t change until at least two months later. Now, a year later, I finally see how bad it was and if I had to go through this again, I would choose option number two. Therefore, my advice to anyone spending Christmas far from their loved ones is to be honest with yourself. If you’re sad, that’s okay. If there’s anyone you can spend your Christmas with, please do so. It may not be the traditional Christmas you’re used to, but it will certainly give you the warm feeling people are so desperate to get, and Christmas with friends may be another unique experience added to the collection.