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Gap Year Abroad

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02/12/2016

Dealing with Stress and Exhaustion in a Foreign Country

A particular phenomenon has been brought to my attention recently. Normally I’d only heard it used to describe relationships, but apparently the so-called “honeymoon phase” applies to living in new places as well. You know, the feeling of suddenly being irrationally disenchanted with the object in question after approximately two weeks of unabashed affection. Last week, I found myself struggling to keep up with an admittedly light and uncomplicated schedule despite being enamored with my situation just days prior. Fortunately for me, I’m on the way out of this slump, but I figured it could serve as an example for others. Most importantly, though: don’t worry, Seville. I still love you.

For many people dealing with problems of anxiety or mood swings, the best remedy is often a strong, consistent support group. Now, my friends here - bless their hearts - did a wonderful job helping me through some difficult days and I love ‘em to bits; however, I don’t have exactly same tight-knit circle of kindred souls that I did back home. I had to get used to solving some very perplexing issues not only in a completely new environment, but among less familiar faces as well. In the case that one develops such problems in such a situation, here’s some sage advice I wish had been bestowed on me:

  • Do your best to maintain a schedule. You’ll likely have to dial it back to the bare bones of what’s necessary, but ensure that it’s a schedule nonetheless.
  • Eat regularly and well. Quite nearly drown yourself in vitamins, especially vitamin D. That also means getting some sun.
  • Go on walks, see the city/town/wherever. Explore. Anything, and I mean anything, but sitting in your room alone for extended periods of time. If the weather’s good, you just knocked ‘getting sun’ off the list as well.
  • Talk to people, especially any close friends at home or abroad. Try your best to be confident in the day to day as well, it really makes a difference.

IMG_4209It also helps when your city is absolutely gorgeous. Across from Calle Betis, along the Guadalquivir.

I'm very glad that I've begun to rebound so quickly, and I honestly can't remember much of how I was feeling because it was so brief. What really pushed me through was simply spending valuable time with friends; as it turns out, people usually stay friends with you because they like you. By extension, trying to be who I know my friends enjoy being around made my recovery substantially faster. Fake it 'til you make it, they say.

Now, I feel particularly guilty that I've been taking all these wonderful pictures of my everyday environment and there's hardly a soul who I've shared any with. These are some of my favorites so far. Enjoy, I'll see you next time.

 

IMG_4180One façade of the incomprehensibly large Cathedral of Seville. Featuring oranges.

 

IMG_4217Interior of the Parliament of Andalusia, the place to go in southern Spain for... government, I guess?

 

IMG_4176   The interior of the royal Alcázar once more. That's the throne room dead ahead.

 

IMG_4188Lastly, the view from the magnificent Giralda tower, the tallest building in all of Seville.

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