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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 September 20, 2018

    How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

    How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

    Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

    If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

    1. Breathe

    The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

    • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
    • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
    • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

    Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

    2. Loosen up

    After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

    Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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    3. Chew slowly

    Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

    Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

    Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

    4. Let go

    Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

    The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

    It’s not. Promise.

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    Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

    Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

    21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

    5. Enjoy the journey

    Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

    Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

    6. Look at the big picture

    The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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    Will this matter to me…

    • Next week?
    • Next month?
    • Next year?
    • In 10 years?

    Hint: No, it won’t.

    I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

    Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

    7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

    You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

    Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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    8. Practice patience every day

    Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

    • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
    • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
    • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

    Final thoughts

    Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

    Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

    Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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