When I am with my clients - who are mostly expats and international professionals - we often talk about culture. But this is not the only change you need to deal with when you move across the globe.
As Fall spreads its warm colours in nature, many of us are also affected by the seasonal changes. We tend not to notice so much when days are growing, in Spring and Summer time. We feel it a lot more when days are decreasing and a sense of 'darkness' starts to spread. There is less daylight, fewer sunny days...
While most countries experience seasons (with the exception of those on or very close to the Equator), once you move you realise that even seasons are different. The large majority of those coming to the Netherlands, for example, came from regions closer to the Equator (than the Netherlands). This means that, in these regions, there is a smaller difference in day length between Summer and Winter but also that days never get as dark in winter. At the summer solstice, a day can be 16h50m long in the Netherlands, while in the peak of winter it is only 7h45m. If you came from Portugal like me, it would range between 14h55 and 9h30m; for those coming near (central) India, Mexico or Hong Kong it would be between around 14h00 and 10h25m. You would barely see any difference, however, if you moved to the Netherlands from London, Berlin, Vancouver or Seattle. As the days go by, those 2 or 3 extra hours of dark can, in extreme cases, really promote a state of depression associated with seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
It is worth acknowledging the impact that changing our latitude can have on us. It affects our energy levels, our average mood, our willingness to go outdoors and socialise. In terms of work, it often means we are less productive and less creative during winter.
If you have experienced these changes, you can read more about SAD, its symptoms, and possible ways to address it (they exist!) online. From my side, I would like you to first notice these changes, recognise when they tend to start (and finish) and invite yourself to plan and adjust accordingly. If you can expect your energy levels and mood to swing in a certain direction, what tools and tricks can you use to steady your mood and motivation throughout these months? Some of mine are eating roasted chestnuts, seating by a fire place, listening to some of my favourite music, reading a nice book, and more recently even some crochet... Yes, some Netflix too! They all make me feel good :)
Wishing you a warm and happy Fall/Winter time :)
[First published in the Seeds for Growth & Joy newsletter, 13-10-2022]