Expat Loneliness - How To Survive It
Choosing to live the expat life can be the most exhilarating experience of adventure, growth, living outside your comfort zone, offering many opportunities and new connections.
Yes, the expatriate road is open with possibilities and much to gain. Yet, it can be fraught with obstacles, hurdles, and instability as we lay down roots in a new city or live a nomadic lifestyle.
However, there comes a time for most expats where we reach a place of loneliness; perhaps you just broke up with someone or moved to a new city where you don't know anyone, or your close expat friends moved home or to a new country.
Whichever the reason, feeling the pinch of loneliness comes to us as expats. How we deal with it is what makes or breaks our experience, and overcoming loneliness can set you free and into a life full of love and connection!
Here are Her Expat Life's tips on surviving a wave of loneliness along the road of expatriates.
1: Take care of yourself
It can be easy to wallow, call home a lot, and start to neglect your expat life as loneliness takes hold. Do things that you enjoy and make yourself a priority. Build a routine, engage in physical exercise, and don't ignore your mental health. Remember why you started this journey and lifestyle.
2: Reach out to people
It can be challenging or daunting to reach out to people you don't know and initiate the connection instead of waiting for others, yet there lies the opportunity, a chance for a new friendship to form, if you take the first step to reach out. There are groups online that arrange meetups for fellow expats or talk to someone in your new yoga class. Ask your new co-worker to hang out for a coffee or attend an 'InterNations' gathering, mingle and network with a cocktail in hand.
Ok, so you have been living in a city for a while. If you feel stuck and lonely, take a trip somewhere you have never been before, even if it's just for a weekend - people are always more friendly and open when you are in travel mode, and a change of scenery can sometimes make you feel better. You never know who you might meet and form a connection with. Keep your options open and be forthcoming with people you meet along the way :)
4: Make your place/space feel like home!
Work on making your space homely, with pictures of family and friends and work on making it relaxing & comforting. Have familiar items around you that make you feel connected.
5: Make sure you get out of the house!
Simple things like going to a cafe with your laptop or a book, keeping busy in active employment or volunteering. Even grocery shopping & making sure you go for a walk in new neighbourhoods actively add to healthy decisions. Agree to social engagements - if your neighbour asks you to attend a house party, you never know who you might form a bond with!
Her Expat Life is For Women of All Lifestyles
The first step to becoming an expat is getting a visa and work permit if you're not already a citizen or have a residency permit. Your marital status, dependents, professional skills, and passport play a significant role in building an expat life.
We welcome all women who want to live a global lifestyle and share our mission and values.