How to Handle Stress: Dutch Style

In: Marjan Charness

25 Oct 2011

Now that the semester is halfway over and the initial excitement of being in Holland has begun to wear off, I’ve realized something – life abroad can be really stressful.  Living in another country can be really awesome most of the time, but other times (like when your internet gets shut off and you have no clue who to call or if they speak English), it can be easy to yearn for the familiarity of home.  Traveling outside of Rotterdam can be great, but furiously biking to Centraal Station in the pouring rain only to miss your train by five minutes can be a true test of your patience.  Add these problems to the general discomfort that can come from being in a foreign country, and it’s enough to make even the most resilient and well-adjusted student want to hop on the next flight home out of Schiphol.

Unfortunately, my parents wouldn’t be too pleased with me if I booked a transatlantic flight without their permission and with their credit card, so I’ve had to think of other, slightly less expensive ways to deal with stress.  Lucky for you, I’ve decided to share some of my stress-busting secrets:

First off, analyze the problem at hand.  Can you do something about it?  Yes?  Then do that.  No?  Then stop worrying – there’s nothing you can do anyway.  I’m a big advocate of making lists, so if you think of a problem that needs to be addressed and you have no clue how to go about solving it, write down a list of possible solutions.  It’ll help.

Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or for help.  If the problem is Dutch related, find a Dutch person who can help you – I hear there’s a ton of Dutch people in the Netherlands. 

Finally, try not to stress out over the little things.  Once enough small problems build up, it can start to seem like one big, heaping mountain of trouble.  Take each day one day at a time, and remind yourself that the world probably won’t end just because your bike broke or you lost your metro card.  Remember, you’re in Holland!  Enjoy yourself and don’t let the little things get you down.

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