The life of an expat, especially the new expat is an emotional roller coaster which if not addressed sanely might affect the wellbeing, goals, and overall quality of life of an expat.
Some of the emotional challenges and the way to overcome those are enlisted as:
1. Sadness and Depression
Sadness and depression are common in new expats, as there are multiple factors involved. Of course, the expat has recently left the country where they spent their entire lives and felt the happiest experiences there. Coming to a place where everything is out of their comfort zone and explains a new challenge or trouble might induce sadness in some of them. If not addressed in time, it can turn into depression.
Cognitive-behavioural therapy and talking to loved ones can help the individual get better in a lot of ways. The feelings of sadness are also relieved when the person focuses on creating new memories in the place so that they can have some association with the new country.
The undue pressure to keep up with everything, let alone the basics of living, can cause a person to go under massive stress by time. This stress can seriously damage the overall mental and physical health of the person and can confiscate them out of many opportunities that await the new expat in the country.
Mindfulness techniques help in calming the individual from such stresses. Taking one thing at a time and trying to move ahead with the policy of divide and conquer will help the individual go through difficult moments like these in a relatively easier way.
The stress we just talked about if not controlled can result in anxiety. The fight or flight mode is always activated, and the individual stays paranoid about certain situations. The positivity in life is pretty much blocked through this condition.
The best way is to make the mind focus on only one thing. Counting backwards, focusing on a colour present in a room, and breathing deeply and mindfully can alleviate chances of severe anxiety attacks in an individual.
The expat might start to feel guilty about missing out on their friends and family members in the native land. These feelings multiply in intensity when the expat is out all by themselves and have no one to accompany them.
The best manner to deal with this guilt is to stay in touch with your loved ones as much as you can and convey your honest feelings to them from time to time. Honest communication will help you get over these emotions.
5. Fear of Missing Out
You don’t want to miss your cat’s thirteenth birthday, and you don’t want to miss the trip your friends have been planning since your childhood. We get how much you want to just fly to your homeland and attend all those events, but right now, it may not be possible.
You need to acknowledge that there are a lot of things you would need to let go with love as you have come to a new country and here you will only pursue what is lying ahead of you. Live in the moment and try to seek chances of happiness and success in the country you have arrived.
6. Identity Problems
Identity crises and character irregularities might become common when you have arrived in a new country. When our environment is drastically changed, it is normal to start questioning your values, beliefs, motives, and sentiments in your life as you might think that there are many traits that got influenced just because of the environment you were brought up in.
It is alright to feel like this; just try to remain honest to yourself and seek the answers in every opportunity and event you deal.
7. Lowered Self-Esteem
When you feel out of place in a totally new country, it becomes tough to feel confident about yourself. You don’t know how to dress, talk, write, and do simple things like these in the manner locals there are doing.
Instead of getting hard on yourself through this, it is important to give yourself space where you absorb the change gradually and begin seeing your strangeness as something to be proud of rather than making it a thing that would lower your self-esteem.
8. Negative Self-Talk
There are already too many challenges an expat has to face. Don’t be your own enemy in such times and try to listen to what your mind has to say to you. If there is any internal conflict that is troubling you, listen to your mind with no judgements and think of the ways how you can rationally and humanely exit that problem the best way.
Talk to a therapist who might specialize in the field and look for resources that help you to organize your thoughts. Keeping a journal might also help some individuals.
If you have travelled to a new place on your own, you might feel lonely. Even if you have moved with your family members, there are times when you can’t help but miss your extended family, colleagues, friends, and even random people you would interact with off and on in your native land.
It is natural to feel like it, and you can get rid of this feeling by first going through it. Don’t get involved in any behaviour that reflects escapism as it will only block you from healing deeply. It will result in only feeling lonelier than before. Examples include drug and alcohol use in excess amounts.
Feeling uncertain is a bit too common for an expat. However, this doesn’t mean that an expat has to feel uncertain and negative about it all the time. Look for some things that help you feel grounded. Self-belief can also alleviate these feelings and help you feel in more control of things than before.
Also, take out some time to thoroughly organize your plans and set practical goals, so you know you are on some path and don’t feel uncertain about anything.
Being an expat is fun, and by managing these common emotions the right way, you build yourself the path to get more successful as you continue to work for the life you want as an expat.