10 tips to deal with relocation
Notes from the talk at Brno Expat Fair 2023
1) Sleep enough, eat well, do physical activities.
Those are the, often unspoken, factors that contribute to emotional stability and well-being. Our metabolism and hormones, which have a great impact on the emotions and capacity to deal with distress are influenced by sleep, nutrition, and physical activity. Those are also proven to be factors influencing the development of some mental illnesses, included dementia.
Do you want to read more about the impact of sleep on your health? https://open.spotify.com/episode/1WtITGcwwZYQZHVJGciMJp?si=q4Yn1CIDTJWnxS6alER4Mw
2) Reassess what works for you and what does not.
... in terms of habits, activities, posessions, relationships, work. Don´t be afraid to ask for adjustments or to say "no" to whatever doesn´t make your life better in a long run. Don´t be afraid to throw away things, that are just taking up space. Ask for changes in the relationships, that are not satisfying anymore and quit those, which are outright toxic.
When it comes to habits, once you find out, that you are addicted (either to substance or to activity), find your way out of it. Addictions are shortcuts to a pleasure, that never work in a long run. Listen to Dr. Anna Lembke to understand more about the dynamics of addictions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDeqvrhY2ZM
3) Embrace awareness.
In your daily life, get used to facing inconvenient thoughts and emotions, be fully with them, cry, let yourself feel anxious or angry. Let them rise and fallm be honest with yourself. Allow yourself to be trully you.
4) Sharing helps
Many people underestimate the power of sharing our feelings with others. In fact, it helps in terms of releaseing stress and processing emotions. Let the energy out by talking about your inner states and hidden feeling with your friends, family, your therapist or a journal. As an expat, you can share your feelings about living abroad with your expat community.
6) Find out what makes you feel grounded and include those activities to your weekly routine.
It might be any type of activity that brings calm and feel safe and confident, or at least not judged. For some it might be more energetic dynamic activities like sports, social events, travelling or dancing. For others art, being in nature or self-care. Or close connection to someone you trust. Identify 3-4 grounding activities and make sure you do any them on a regular basis.
7) Bring into awareness some typical aspects of being a foreginer and feelings around it.
Your life is influenced by living abroad and by a role of a stranger. How does it feel to be away from home, family? And what does home actually mean to you? Have you managed to build a community that satisfy your needs? And what does community mean to you? Is living abroad connected more with feelings of freedom and relief or loneliness and sadness or burden and discomfort... Another topic is a role of a stranger, is it more of excitement or is it a tiring experience? Have a talk about those topics with someone you know, with your therapist or write your thoughts and feelings down in your journal.
8) Immerse yourself in the place where you're living.
Find ways to connect with the place and culture, that you live in. Being a stranger is emotionally demanding, so in order to feel being a part of the place, be proactive. It can be learning the language, finding more about the history, figuring out mentality of the place. Or volunteering, contributing to the local events, becoming familiar with the local community.
9) Be ready to say "no" to living abroad, once you find out, that it doesn´t work for you.
I understand, how difficult it must be to come back home after you made a decision to move out of your motherland. However, it always is just an trial-and-error kind of experience. There is no shame to quit it once you find out that you miss your country, your family far too much, or that you cant find a way to "get into" living abroad. It is completely okay to say "enough" and come back home.
10) Appreciate what you have attained so far.
Living abroad goes hand in hand not only with more stress but also with personal growth. So don't be to harsh to judge yourself when you are not doing well and celebrate, when you do. Be kind to yourself and spend at least as much time thinking about your successes, as you do about your mistakes.