'Tis the Season


"Do you want to build a snowmaaaaaaaaaaan?" "Yes, Anna, as a matter of fact I do. But I can't because I live in The Netherlands now and I haven't figured out how to build one out of rain and darkness that starts at 4pm." "C'mon let's go and play!" "Yeah, I'd really love to but I'm in quarantine for ten days and need to keep my distance from everybody so I don't think the GGD would approve."

My version of the song "Do you want to build a snowman?" from Disney's 'Frozen' probably would not have made it into the film. Anna was asking her sister Elsa to come out and play, but if she asked me today, I would definitely tell her about the great opportunity she has to change her song to reflect the reality of the times.

December is finally here. It came fast, but not fast enough. Usually, it's one of my favorite months filled with celebration - Sinterklaas, my birthday, family and friend birthdays, Christmas and New Years Eve - but this year, I honestly am looking forward to it being over. Call me a grinch if you will, but 2020 extinguished some of my characteristic effervescence.

That said, I think that's ok and I know I'm not alone. For example, we recently conducted a well-being survey of Bachelor Data Science students to see how they were coping with this unusual academic year. 39% of respondents - especially international ones - answered that they are experiencing additional stress as they try to complete their studies. I can relate.

This year, I was introduced to the author Susan David, PhD and the concept of Emotional Agility. Instead of using positive thinking as the answer to get through difficult times, the idea is to get real with your emotions and get in touch with how you really feel. As a wise student told me, it can help when you do something to "let some unhappy energy leave." Sometimes that's a good cry. Sometimes that's taking a moment to commiserate with a friend. Or sometimes it's just acknowledging it is boring to be doing the same thing, day in, day out with little variety between the days.

There have been some good moments this year and there are some upcoming virtual parties I'm looking forward to, but as a whole, I'm done with this year. In true 'Frozen style', I'm ready to Let it Go.

Send me a message if you need someone to commiserate with. It doesn't cost much but it's a gift I can happily give to you this festive season.

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