Expat Life: Expat Blues and How to Beat Them
Moving across oceans, to an unknown foreign land isn't just one long holiday. Many expat women have trouble adapting to their new lives as so-called 'trailing spouses'. Expat life is not all about lounging in the sun, going to four-hour brunches and raising amazing bilingual children – though those are unquestionably a few of the perks.
For some, there are issues that arise apart from adapting to a new culture. And, these struggles have been known to lead to depression in the first months and years of living abroad.
My first year living in China, I barely left the condo and didn't attempt to eat anything besides foods I cooked myself or was familiar with, like pizza and McDonald's. I'll also admit, that first year, was more of a drunken-blur.
China was by far the most unhappiest time in my life.
I wasn't yet aware that there was a thing called the Expat Blues.
Eventually, I made some friends and learned my way around a Cantonese menu. Living in a foreign country became a little more normal as the months passed. Until, I woke up and realized I'd spent most of my time trying to numb my dissatisfaction.
I wanted to get the hell out of China.
So, we went to Bangkok.
With all the perks China didn't have, when we arrived in Bangkok, I also hid away for the first few months. Being an expat can be exhausting. You have to be resilient in a way no one else understands. You have to push past your own feelings and desires to physically, mentally and emotionally be the support your kids and husband need.
There is no more YOU.
At least, not if you're a newbie expat and you haven't learned how to not lose your identity when becoming a traveling spouse.
There is truly, much to learn about living a life abroad.
Making life-long friends can be difficult. And, don't even get me started on the time zones.
However, there is a way to beat the expat blues.
Here are my top tips.
#1: Give yourself time to adapt.
It's okay to take things slow. No need to feel as if you have to be jolly all day long when you'd rather crawl up into a ball and cry yourself to sleep. In my opinion, go cry, and then, you'll come back feeling refreshed.
#2: Make like-minded friends
Just because you're lonely doesnt mean you should settle for crap friends.
#3: A little understanding.
It's important to remember that you're not the only one going through a problem. There are others just like you, trying to adapt and make it through the day. When things don't go as planned, kindness and understanding can go a long way.
Have some expat tips? Share them in the comments below!
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