5 ways to overcome loneliness when living abroad
The “Expat blues” can be difficult to explain, particularly to those who have never experienced it before, but essentially it 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 than others, most expats experience it, when the novelty and feeling of being a tourist in their new location fades.
Loneliness as an expat
If you (or a friend or loved one) are experiencing the “expat blues”, it’s important to remember that this too will fade. In time you will settle into your new life, and hopefully really enjoy your new home abroad. You might find it difficult at first, but once you have passed the “expat blues”, you are likely to have the time of your life. So to help you through it, here are five ways you can successfully combat loneliness when living abroad:
Create a balance in your life
Living abroad can be a lonely and exhausting experience, particularly if you’re making the move alone, which is why it’s paramount that you do everything in moderation and not burn yourself out. If you have moved away because of an unmissable career opportunity, for example, you might get carried away completing exciting tasks and other responsibilities. 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.
Whichever type of person you are, one trick to avoiding loneliness when living abroad is to establish a balanced routine that works for you. When you move abroad you may want to do everything at once, but it is essential to ensure that you get enough rest, eat healthily and take the time to engage in leisure activities you enjoy. Through doing this, you may find yourself meeting new and exciting people who are living nearby and who have similar interests in a less pressured, organic way.
Know that you’re not to blame
If you ever feel lonely when living abroad, know that you’re not to blame. If there is doubt in your mind, know that many other new expats have questioned whether living abroad was the right decision. Unfortunately making close friends takes time, so a level of loneliness during the adjustment period is normal when undertaking a big move.
If you are experiencing feelings of loneliness, remind 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 of 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 who, like yourself, may be experiencing loneliness or simply want to expand their group of friends. It’s also great for mentoring groups as well as information and inspiration before you move.
Facebook groups are a great way to connect with people you may not otherwise meet, as well as connecting with 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.
Face your emotions
If you’re feeling lonely while living abroad it’s important to not hide from the fact that you’re feeling low. People at home will often ask you about life living abroad and your adventures in your new home. 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 your feelings as well as from them, acknowledge and face them in order to get the support you need to overcome being homesick or the feelings and emotions you are experiencing.
A positive mindset
In order to combat loneliness when living abroad, work on your positive thinking. Whilst working on this is easier said than done, when you start to write and talk in a positive manner, focus on optimistic thoughts or adjust your approach and mindset towards things you’re likely to feel far happier, energetic and motivated than if only were to dwell on the negative aspects of your move or current situation. Thinking positively and focusing on the good can help you beat those expat blues!
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. Or tackle your ‘expat blues’ by joining forces with those who understand what you are going through from experience or who may even be facing the same challenges at the moment.
If you’re set to become an expat and are looking for extra support, please feel free to contact a member of our expert team to find out how we can help you.