This article is courtesy of Vivian Chiona and Expat Nest.
What am I doing here?
Have you been wondering how it can be that everyone in your family has settled in abroad, school has begun again, and you feel left behind? Maybe you’re even doubting being in your new location. You wonder how you’ll ever make friends here, real friends, and do something other than playing taxi driver for your kids and making sure your family’s needs are taken care of.
You’re not alone.
Isolation, loneliness and worries about career are the main challenges faced by expat partners. Despite the perks, expat life is not a fairy tale. Tiredness of relatives, relationship troubles, stress, as well as not having a job, can be difficult to navigate at times. The latter is true particularly if you gave up your career for the relocation abroad – after all, our jobs are often a key part of our identity and give us structure, appreciation, results and often. sense of power. That is not easy to replace, especially as it takes time to build up a new life and new friendships abroad.
It is totally normal to feel unlike yourself abroad, while you are adapting to your surroundings. You’re out of your comfort zone! It is a process of rediscovering and recognizing the power you have inside, when the familiar signposts of life back home fall away. However, sometimes we fall into the trap of starting to think we are “useless”, or we compare everything to home.
3 Tips to Start Rediscovering Your Power and Joy Abroad
1. Give yourself permission to have fun
Sometimes when we don’t make money from a job, we might feel we don’t deserve to do nice things for ourselves. You might even feel guilty that your partner is working hard while you do “nothing” (which couldn’t be further from the truth, of course!). Give yourself permission to enjoy life and to feel valuable regardless of whether you have a job and make money or not.
2. Acknowledge yourself
Applaud yourself for the challenging steps you have taken and are still taking. It is no mean feat to move halfway across the world, to rebuild your life and that of your family, to navigate unknown territory, to learn a new language… Most people live their entire life within a 20-kilometer radius from the place they were born; you went much further. Being an expat partner/spouse is also hard work, and you have to shape your own life every day.Acknowledge yourself, not by feeling sorry for yourself, but by recognizing how far you’ve come and by trusting yourself to have the skills and power to make this work.
3. Do things you love
This one may take time to figure out. Maybe you never consciously thought about what gives you joy, about the moments and activities you truly love. Make a list – and include anything from buying a bunch of fresh flowers to brainstorming a new idea. Aim for a minimum of 50 things. Every day, do at least one thing from your “love list”.Go out and experiment with activities offered in your new location. When you do things you love, there’s also a good chance you’ll meet friends who share your interest and passions, and are aligned with who you are.
When you feel uncomfortable because you don’t earn an income, it is easy to forget that you are multi-talented and deserving of happiness. As you grow in confidence and remember that you are valuable, no matter what, you will also begin to see – and enjoy – new possibilities and opportunities within your life abroad.
For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.