If you are living an expat life, then you should be fairly accustomed to loneliness. You are not alone in feeling this, as many expats consult therapists seeking a solution or merely want them to listen to their stories
When you are planning your stay abroad, the prospect is quite thrilling at first. Particularly in the start, you get excited about settling in an entirely new place. But after some time, when the initial excitement starts fading away, your new colleagues return to their routine and you are away from family and friends from back home, is when the dreadful situation arises. You yearn for friends, your comfort zone at home, or are held back by cultural differences. These feelings are completely normal and shall vanish soon. .
You initially have difficulty in settling. This is also nothing new, as almost every expat deals with this.
Well, there are many ways to beat the loneliness, when you are living abroad. We have some handy tips to help you overcome your loneliness.
1. Start By Building A Routine
During weekdays, you are bound by pretty rigid work routines. Weekends and off days are fluid, so you have ample time to try new things. But you need to overcome your temptation to hide in your new home. Research for things that you can do in your new location. Choose what appeals to you the most and make time to do it at least once a week. Chances are solid that you will end up discovering things that even the locals don’t know about.
2. Connect With People
The best way to curb loneliness is to connect with people, but how? Here are some suggestions.
- Discover Facebook groups in your new city.
- Meetup.com is a fantastic option; you can arrange a meet up at a place of common interest.
- Sign up for a language class.
These few options will give you access to similar people like you.
3. Do More Than Just Official Work
It is comprehendible that your job in your new location will be daunting at the start. You want to make your mark there, but that doesn’t mean that you just sink yourself into work. You also need to avoid the temptation to binge-watch television after returning from work. You should try to get involved in some activity locally. Like some book club, sports club, or some literary club. You need to get out of your comfort zone to combat your loneliness. You could also volunteer for some social groups because your empathic side can help you and needy people simultaneously.
4. Don’t Ignore Your Mental Health
A prolonged feeling of loneliness can have adverse effects on your mental health. This can lead to expat depression. It is vital that you recognize the symptoms, and don’t shy from seeking help and assistance to fight them. If the signs aren’t grave enough, you can feel better by meditating exercises, spending time outdoors, or simply disconnecting from social media. Talk to your friends or family, whatever makes you comfortable.
5. Engage In Physical Exercises
Tune your body into staying physically active. Making time for a high paced walk thrice a week or doing high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for just half an hour everyday can have positive effects on your health and endurance levels. Doing this can be difficult to begin with, but once you get the flow, you will love the time spent exercising.
6. Avoid Calling Home Often
This is an unusual piece of advice, especially more because you feel tempted to call home when you are feeling lonely. But expats who succumb to loneliness by calling their homes often end up feeling more miserable. They shut themselves and don’t want to connect to the outside world which further aggravates their loneliness. You won’t be meeting new people, and you won’t truly settle in your new home this way. It’s imperative to strike the balance.
7. Enroll With A Class To Curb Loneliness
Language classes serve the purpose well here. Besides learning a new language, you will be open to meeting new people from different nationalities. It will do you good to have local and expat friends. Don’t get scared by the language class because most of the communication is visual. You simply follow the instructor. The good part is that native speakers extend support because they know your shortcomings.
8. Learn To Make The First Move
You will need to initiate the move to make friends, don’t be lazy. You cannot expect to receive countless invitations, because there won’t be any. Step out of your zone, by inviting your colleagues or language classmates to lunch. It will be good to know them outside the office or class atmosphere. But beware as these won’t always work, because some of these encounters may be awkward just like first dates. You will also have to witness rejections which can suck the entire positive energy.
9. Connect With Fellow Expats Through Blogs Or Other Groups When You Feel Lonely
You will be surprised to discover that there is no dearth of expat blogs on the internet. Rather many are devoted to expats living in the same location. By browsing through the posts, you will find plenty of things common between you and the other person. If you find relatable interest, contact them and see if they also show interest in meeting you.
10. Join A Group, Club, Or Team That Fascinates Your Interest
Now, this tip has pretty diverse implications. Because this is by far the most effective way to bring people together of the same interests. For example, if you love soccer, you can always find soccer fans wherever you go around the world. You can connect with the teams if you haven’t ever played the sport. Being an active member will bring you close to other people having mutual interests. This will increase your chances of building valuable friends, hence overcoming loneliness while living abroad.