COVIDs impact on Winter vacation.
Like many of us living in Japan, the latest Omicron variant has upended the opportunity for anyone to return home for the winter vacation. In particular, the teaching community here has been, for the most part, devastated by the reality of another year without access to their loved ones. For many, last summer, a chance to return was significantly delayed waiting for vaccines. After the opportunity for vaccination, many looked forward to a chance to be with their loved ones, to be able to hold their parents and see their sisters and brothers. Sadly, it has been delayed again. A 14-day quarantine has made it all but impossible to return without risk to employment.
These delays have left many questioning whether living abroad is genuinely an option anymore. Is the sacrifice, the inability to be able to be near their loved ones at least once a year, something that is beyond reach with so much uncertainty about COVID and future potential pandemics? In addition, the spiraling costs of air travel add a financial burden on those who would be willing to endure quarantine if possible.
For many, the winter vacation is a significant time when gathering with family to see out the old year and hail the new one is a part of tradition and culture. The closeness helps ground their sense of identity and renew their connection with their loved ones and extended families. Zoom or other forms of online chat are not enough to replace the need to be close to one another and feel that familiarity that comes with being proximal to another individual.
During this time, we need to be very aware of our mental health. Being alone during this season can be very difficult for some, and the chance to reach out to others is a vital part of ensuring that your mental health is maintained. Do not let yourself be a victim of isolation. There are many here in Japan facing similar circumstances and should support one another during this time.
For those dealing with mental health issues, it is essential to be open and honest about your need for support and ensure that you have a coping mechanism to help you deal with undue stress and anxiety during this season. It is equally important to remember that there is no stigma with being open about your challenges with those that you trust. Remember that taking care of yourself is vital to getting through this season, and the more support you have, the better.
If there is a need to reach out, please do not hesitate to contact us. If there is an emergency, we can be available even if we are closed.
Please find below a link to excellent short articles on a guide to dealing with the season: