You might think that after overcoming the first few difficult months of living abroad, the rest of your expat life would be all rainbows and sunshine. However, this is naive and unrealistic, your expat life is not immune to the highs and lows that everyone experiences throughout their life.
Even if you have settled in well, found a good group of friends and even managed to master the language, there will be times when you are just fed up with life abroad and you’ll contemplate about going back home. The expat blues sneak up on you when you least expect it, at any stage of your expat life.
But before you let the blues overwhelm you and you’re packing your bags to fly home, take a moment to breath; it’s in your power to pick yourself up again. Here are some little tips to nudge you in the right direction.
Is the grass really greener on the other side?
When you’re feeling blue, the grass always seems greener on the other side. Nostalgia is a wonderful thing, we can reminisce about the good times back at home, but don’t let it distort or manipulate your decisions.
When you’re feeling somewhat down in the dumps, ask yourself: what is triggering this feeling? There might be multiple answers to this question making it difficult to pinpoint exactly what the problem is. However, with a little introspection you might be able to identify what it is that is really bothering you. Try making a list of the things you think might be bothering you, this helps to organise your thoughts. Think of ways to solve these problems, whether it be something proactive or simply a change of mindset.
It’s normal that there are things that you don’t like about your expat life, but nothing is perfect. Take a step back from the situation and ask yourself: are the things that bother you most about living abroad intolerable or mere annoyances? Try putting together a list of things that make your expat life so worthwhile to remind yourself why you decided to move in the first place. Are those things worth giving up by moving back home?
There’s nothing better than releasing all of your frustrations during a good workout. Research has proven that exercise and an active lifestyle boosts your endorphins and improves your mood. So let those endorphins flow: go for a jog, join a sports club or try outdoor exercise classes. If you’re not a gym person, you could try regular walks as fresh air can do wonders for your mood.
Try something new
We all get stuck in a rut sometimes; everyday routines become monotonous if you go to the same places over and over again. Rediscover your inner adventurer, venture out and explore your city and beyond. Even if you have lived there for years, you might discover hidden gems that could alter your view of the city.
There’s no time like the present to try something new or pick up a hobby that you have meaning to start for ages. Stepping out of your comfort zone, developing a new skill and creating opportunities to meet new people all contribute to uplifting your mood and making you feel more at home while living abroad.
A change of scenery
To recharge your batteries why not book a getaway, even if it is just for the weekend. This, of course, depends on your budget and schedule, but even a day trip to a nearby town is a great way to get a change of scenery. Don’t be scared to go on a little trip on your own, you’ll feel independent and adventurous for doing so. It also gives you something to look forward to at the weekend, keeping your spirits up.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
This is probably the most important thing to remember. Everyone has their sad days, weeks or even months, and that’s okay. Acknowledge that you are feeling this way instead of repressing it and reach out to people. You don’t have to go through these feelings all by yourself. The chances are that when you let people know how you are feeling they will be there to support you because they know exactly how you feel.
Try not to let that negative feeling get the better of you as it can ruin your experience abroad. Being an expat can be challenging, but it is also very rewarding.
How do you handle the expat blues? We’d love to hear your tips and tricks!