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7 Ways to Mentally Cope With Moving Abroad

7 Ways to Mentally Cope With Moving Abroad

You’ve packed your suitcase, you’ve said goodbye to your loved ones and you’re at the airport; “What am I doing?” you ask yourself “Have I made a mistake?”

If you are 22

    Moving abroad, be it temporarily or not, is one of the hardest things you will ever have to do. If you’re an expat like me, the thought of stepping off the plane in a country where you don’t know anyone is a daunting prospect. Trent Hand already covered 3 Brilliant Things to Do Before Moving Overseas, so I thought I would discuss 7 ways you can mentally prepare yourself before you step into the unknown.

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    1. Join an Online Social Group

    Meetup is one of the best websites for meeting new people with a common interest. Sign up and search for interest groups in your new city, or even better, if there isn’t one already, create one. Facebook is also very useful; I’m an au pair and I made all of my new friends through the city’s au pair group.

    2. Schedule a Regular Time to Catch Up With Loved Ones

    It’s easy to miss your loved ones when you have conflicting schedules; especially romantic partners. Schedule a time every week, regardless of the time zone and/or the circumstances and speak to each other on Skype (it’s free to download if you don’t already have it).

    If you make this a regular habit, it will comfort you when you start to miss them too much because you always know you’re going to catch each other online. Sundays are often the best time for this.

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    Talk about what you both have been doing, how much you miss one another. and what you’re going to do when you both see each other.

    3. Do What You’ve Always Wanted to Do

    As much as we adore our loved ones, sometimes we get complacent and hold ourselves back from what we really want to do, such as working on a business plan when you really want to go and watch the game with your friend.

    However, being alone can sometimes give us the kick in the ass that we needed. Now that you have a lot more free time and fewer distractions, you can pursue a hobby you’ve always wanted to do. Being alone also gives you the opportunity to meet new, like-minded people.

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    4. Learn to Embrace New Challenges

    Many people see challenges as negative, but they can be very fulfilling to overcome, and living abroad is no exception. This will push you to your very limits, but know that by the end of it, you will be a better-rounded person for it—not many people can say they’ve come out the other side, so don’t be one of them.

    5. Write a Note to Yourself to Read When You Feel Most Challenged

    There are going to be times when you’ll want to throw in the towel and quit; it’s all too common to let your emotions affect your rationality. Don’t let that happen—instead, write yourself a note (I have mine on my iPhone notes) and look at it whenever you feel most dis-empowered. It was written by your best self, to you. The irony is that you may never even need it; I wrote one to myself and never ended up looking at it, so I deleted it.

    6. Seek Comfort in Something You Can Always Have With You

    We seldom root our comfort in the simplest of pleasures like a cup of coffee, a picture in your wallet, a favourite album / book / movie, but when you’re abroad, you won’t have your home to comfort you when you have a bad day. This is what people mean when they say they’re homesick: they miss what their home provides them—comfort.

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    Always have your favourite personal belonging at hand to look at whenever you feel sad. I have my favourite albums on my laptop and whenever I feel homesick, I listen to them because it takes me back to a happy place, regardless of where I am in the world.

    7. Celebrate Your Successes

    Celebrate every success you have, regardless of how small you think it is. You don’t always have to share it with someone, because it’s yours. Write it down in a journal and reflect back on it when you feel you can’t move forward. Maybe you were really anxious about meeting your new co-workers, but they all greeted you with open arms. Build up this forward momentum of little successes and soon you’ll be on your way to acclimatizing to your new home.

    More by this author

    5 Reasons You Should Volunteer Abroad 5 Self Esteem Hacks You Can Use Now 7 Ways to Mentally Cope With Moving Abroad

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

    your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

      Why You Need a Vision

      Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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      How to Create Your Life Vision

      Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

      What Do You Want?

      The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

      It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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      Some tips to guide you:

      • Remember to ask why you want certain things
      • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
      • Give yourself permission to dream.
      • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
      • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

      Some questions to start your exploration:

      • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
      • What would you like to have more of in your life?
      • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
      • What are your secret passions and dreams?
      • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
      • What do you want your relationships to be like?
      • What qualities would you like to develop?
      • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
      • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
      • What would you most like to accomplish?
      • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

      It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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      What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

      Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

      A few prompts to get you started:

      • What will you have accomplished already?
      • How will you feel about yourself?
      • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
      • What does your ideal day look like?
      • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
      • What would you be doing?
      • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
      • How are you dressed?
      • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
      • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
      • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

      It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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      Plan Backwards

      It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

      • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
      • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
      • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
      • What important actions would you have had to take?
      • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
      • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
      • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
      • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
      • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

      Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

      It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

      Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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