Loneliness as an expat
Are you feeling down today? Probably you are not alone, as today it’s officially ‘Blue Monday’, the most depressing day of the year. While you are battling your ‘January Blues’ on your way to the office, don’t forget to spare a thought for all the expats that on the top of ‘January Blues’ are suffering of ‘Expat Blues’.
‘Expat blues’ can be difficult to explain, particularly to those who have never experienced it before, but essentially, is a feeling of loneliness and longing that an expat can feel about their home country after their move abroad. Whilst some people suffer more from ‘expat blues’ than others, the time when you feel like a tourist will soon fade and everything will no longer feel like a novelty. Nevertheless, by no means does this mean that you will not enjoy living abroad. You might find it difficult at first, but once you have passed this stage of the ‘expat blues’, you are likely to have the time of your life. Here are five ways you can successfully combat loneliness when living abroad:
Do everything in moderation
Living abroad can be a lonely experience, particularly if you’re making the move alone, which is why it is paramount that you do everything in moderation. If you have moved away because of an unmissable career opportunity, for example, you might get carried away completing exciting tasks and other responsibilities. Whilst some people are more than happy to throw themselves into the deep end head-first and start arranging to meet new people after working hours or on the weekend, others are more tempted by the thought of returning to their bed at the end of a long day, and avoiding this sometimes-awkward phase of settling in. The trick to avoiding loneliness when living abroad is to establish a balanced routine that works for you. It is a given that when you move abroad, you will want to do everything at once, but it is essential to ensure you get enough rest, eat healthily and take time to engage in leisure activities you enjoy. Through doing this, you may find yourself meeting new and exciting people who are living nearby.
Know that you’re not to blame
If you ever feel lonely when living abroad, know that you are not to blame. If there is doubt in your mind, know that many other new-expats, just like yourself, have questioned whether living abroad was the right decision. If you are experiencing feelings of loneliness, reminding yourself of why you moved abroad in the first place, the exciting opportunities you are likely to experience, the new culture and all of the other benefits to being an expat may provide you with comfort. In order to bounce back, don’t be too hard on yourself.
Join an expat Facebook group
A great way to combat loneliness when living abroad is to join expat Facebook groups. There are a number of terrific expat groups on Facebook which allow you to communicate and engage with people just like yourself who may be experiencing loneliness or simply want to expand their group of friends. This particular format is a great asset for mentoring groups, and is perfect if you are looking for a little bit of inspiration to move forward in your new life abroad. Moreover, Facebook groups are a great way to connect with people you may not have met naturally, as well as like-minded people. Most countries around the world have a thriving expat community and joining a Facebook Group could provide a great opportunity to access this community.
Another thing you can do if you feel lonely abroad is to not hide from the fact that you’re feeling low. People at home will often ask you about life living abroad, and whilst you might want to boast about how great it is, being honest and open with those around you and back home may help you to effectively combat the expat blues. Instead of hiding from your feelings, acknowledge them and the reason behind them in order to get the support you need to overcome homesickness or the current feelings you are experiencing.
Work on positive thinking
In order to combat loneliness when living abroad, work on your positive thinking. Whilst working on this can be easier said than done, when you start to write in a positive manner, use only optimistic words and direct your thoughts, you’re likely to feel far happier than only thinking of the negative aspects of your move. Though you are likely to miss a lot of things, avoiding negativity can help beat those expat blues! Instead, come up with ideas of how to turn negative thoughts into more positive ones.
There are several ways you can combat loneliness when living abroad. From working on your positive thinking to improve your attitude and boost happiness to joining an expat Facebook group to meet like-minded people, you can treat your ‘expat blues’ by joining forces with those that understand what you are going through, and who may even be experiencing the same feelings at the same time.
If you’re set to become an expat, and you’re looking for extra support, contact a member of our expert team today to find out how we can help you.