Before I moved across to the other side of the world, I had no idea how emotionally challenging it was going to be. Maybe I just severely underestimated how hard it was going to be, or maybe I’m just an overly emotional person, but the first few months were some of the toughest of my life. I wished I had someone to give me a guide on how to get through all of those bad days, but I barely knew anyone who had left their old lives to move abroad. It may be a bit late now, but for my past self, here is that guide you so badly needed on how to cope with moving abroad:
1. Bring photos of people who you love
Print photos of the people you love and adore and plaster them all over your wall. This way when you are feeling lonely everyone back home doesn’t seem so far away. There is nothing better than coming home from a crappy day at work and being greeted by many familiar smiling faces (even if they can’t talk back). These are the people who you know love and support you even from a million miles away. Instant mood lift!
2. Join online groups
The best way to find out what is going on in your new town is to find out from the locals! Everything will seem unfamiliar to you when you first arrive so add yourself to as many groups as you can. Try searching your new town in the groups section on Facebook, this way you can also pick up some great bargains on buy swap sell, find cheap places to rent and can easily post questions to a public forum of local help.
3. Give yourself permission to be homesick
When you move to a new place you just want to feel settled in and comfortable immediately, but this isn’t always the case. You can sometimes make it harder on yourself by holding everything in. Changes in your life take time, allow yourself to adjust and know that it is okay to be sad. Be cautious not to make this sadness a permanent state of mind. Take time out to breathe, let it all out, dust yourself off and know that tomorrow is a new day. Give yourself time, don’t put yourself down for not feeling positive all the time. Trust me, soon enough these sad moments will become less and less frequent, but for now just know it’s okay to not be okay.
4. Surround yourself with positive affirmations
Remember when you were young and your parents would plaster the bathroom walls with times tables? They will forever be embedded into your mind. This method works the same with positive affirmations. The more you see or read positivity, the more you will take it on board. Seeing these everyday will lift your mood, confidence and shine brighter than any of your negative thoughts. Say out loud the parts of yourself you are proud of, or even whiteboard marker some lively words over your mirror to read whilst you get ready in the morning.
5. Go for lots of walks
You only really begin to fall in love with a place once you have found all your favourite spots that make it feel like home. Go for a walk and explore on your own as often as you can. Discover your favourite places to grab a coffee or a bite to eat, find all the shortcuts to get home and pick a your very own park bench or special spot that you can retreat back to regularly to take it all in.
6. Write down 3 things you are thankful for each day
This one has to be my favourite and most regularly used tip that I got from my brilliant mother. Every night, write down 3 things that you are thankful for. This way even on what may seem like the absolute worst day ever, you can still find something amazing to be grateful for. It’s also a nice idea to write down 3 things you are wishing for, in a few months you can go back and review your wishes and see how hard you have worked or how lucky you have been to see many of them came true.
7. Find the right balance between holding on and letting go
Sometimes holding on too tightly to your old home makes it extremely difficult for you to settle in and move forward. Keep in touch with your loved ones but don’t let your old life consume you. You will never forget about all the people that are special to you and they will never forget about you. I guarantee when, or if you ever return, the people who truly love you will pick up your relationship exactly where you left off. Allow yourself be open to new friendships and don’t feel bad if messages and contact with your old home become less frequent. The most important person you have to look after is yourself, even if that means letting go.
8. Remember how strong you are
If moving across the other side of the world or moving anywhere was easy, EVERYONE in the world would be doing it. Always remind yourself that you are one step ahead of yesterday. From the moment you stepped on that plane you did what many people talk about doing but never really do. You are a one of a small minority of people that saw an opportunity and actually had the guts to do it.
By Alisha Marshall