– by Iris Cremer
The decision of moving to a different country is a difficult one to make, even if the thought of it offers you a sense of excitement and thrill. Changing your daily routine might be beneficial to you, and that sounds wonderful if it is something you are really looking forward to. But change is not always easy for your mind to digest.
Moving to a different country can be a very rewarding experience, especially if you are leaving home for studies abroad or a once in a lifetime job opportunity. Regardless of the reasons to move abroad, the possibility of needing time for your body and mind to adjust will arise soon after you start living in your new environment. Here are a few healthy tips and suggestions on how to deal with such major changes in your life.
Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night not knowing where you are? Trying to figure out your surroundings? Well this is one feeling of dissociation that you might experience after moving to a different country, which you will name ‘home’ for the next few months or years. It is a sign that you are not yet fully adjusted and you need time to process the change. This is very common for people who move away on their own, without a family member or a partner accompanying them.
Don’t be afraid!
It is natural that you’ll need time to ‘wear’ your new life and adjust to new surroundings. It would be wise for you to start making friends who can help you get around and with whom you can share stories about your own background and culture as you learn about theirs as well. This will help you bring a ‘homey’ atmosphere to blend in with your new acquaintances and make you feel more comfortable with the novel environment. Try to learn as much as possible about the local traditions and habits of your new place of residence. This is a good way to learn about various aspects of a new culture that you may also come to enjoy. If you look close enough some common ground is always found among different cultures, and discovering this can help you feel more at home.
What happens to me?
Your mind affects your body, and both need stability to operate. When this stability is taken away your mind is trying to figure out what is happening, what kind of changes have occurred and what are the new images, movements, sounds, and smells registering through your senses. For a few days or weeks your system is in confusion. The way you feel about this big change, happiness or regret, plays a major role in how quickly this process will wind down. Having a familiar face around might be helpful during your adjustment. On the other hand it might keep you away from socializing and building a new life, so make sure to explore your new neighborhood and be open-minded about meeting new people along the way.
Tips for your body & soul
- Arrive a few days earlier (prior to the start of your new occupation) and choose your new living space. Unpack your things and organize your place as you wish.
- Take time to learn your neighborhood. Go out and walk! This will give you a good perspective of your new city, and orienting yourself will help you feel much safer in your new environment.
- Meet friends as you would do before you moved. If you are a student this will help you find a new family.
- If you still feel the need to talk about this transition and to learn more about yourself, it would be best to meet a counselor or psychotherapist who can help you clear out the reasons why you moved. Discussing your reasons for moving and the motivational factors with a professional will help keep you calm and conscious during the beginning of your new journey.
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