Updated: Mar 16, 2020
From time to time I miss home so much...
Sometimes I feel so lonely and left behind in a new city...
It’s so hard to fit in....
Do these thoughts sound familiar to you? That’s not uncommon!
Relocating for work or love is one of the most stressful events in life you have to face – leaving your home with family and friends for a foreign country with different customs is quite challenging. The transition might be even harder for you, if you moved for your partner’s career who is taking on a new challenge while your own future might seem uncertain.
The struggles of relocation can not only put a lot of stress on yourself, but on your relationship as well. Living in a foreign country can – and probably always will - be chaotic and confusing at times.
While an expat life can be a dream, many expats experience loneliness, anxiety and depression.
Neither in our work nor in our private lives can we avoid stress entirely, which is nothing to worry about in general. But high stress levels are detrimental to individuals and companies and studies indicate that relocating for work and living abroad triggers a significant amount of stress.
Research also shows that increased stress levels are associated with decreased health. This reduces productivity and innovative thinking, since the human brain works differently under stress.
In general, the expat's spouse or partner can provide a lot of support and help with the adjustment process. Research shows that partners influence resilience following relocation, as well as enabling strong performance at work.
However, stress also diminishes our ability to communicate appropriately in demanding situations and, thereby, triggers relationship problems and team conflicts at work.
Hence, good stress management skills are essential for expats. It is especially important to understand your personal stress factors, the way you perceive stress and to identify your individual strategies to deal with stress better when you're living abroad.
A good start to reduce your stress level and increase happiness is integrating relaxing moments in your daily routines - for example a mindful coffee break or a mindful walk.