Creating International Networks: How to Find Emotional Support Abroad
One of the most common fears people tend to express when considering a move abroad it the lack of community and international networks. They feel as though when uprooting their lives, they will be unable to rebuild, recreate or replicate those connections in a new place. Loneliness and isolation combined with the understandable fear of the unknown can be crippling at times. It’s no wonder that people need and actively search for emotional support abroad.
Meet Felicia, she’s a semi-empty nester who relocated from the island of Bermuda to the UK to be closer to her daughter who is currently studying in Spain. She has dedicated her life to helping people and companies alike maximize their potential, hone in on their talents and build pathways towards success. Today, we’re covering a topic that is extremely relevant to the over 50 million expats in the world.
Here are 5 tips on finding emotional support abroad
Most people rely on checklists of to-do items when planning to relocate. In the process of obsessing over documents, housing and utilities, most people fail to plan their emotional support network. The former can be managed with simple changes in appointments, but a good old-fashioned meltdown can easily send you into retreat mode, running for the familiarities of home. By understanding that not everything will go according to plan and creating a safety net of emotional support, you will help train your brain to understand that the difficult spells are simply moments in time. This will help you to settle into enjoying the journey!
Make note of what you enjoy before you move
With all the turmoil of uprooting your life and the uncertainty of settling in a new environment, it will be important to create positive emotional experiences. Use your journal to create a positivity section. Make a note of the activities that you enjoy and those that get your natural endorphins flowing. Once you arrive at your new home, make it a priority to seek out similar activities as soon as possible. This will help to offset any emotionally challenging moments that you may have.
Part of the moving process is also deciding what you will take with you and what you will purge. During this process you will realize that many of the possessions you have are not as important as you thought they were. On the other hand, some things will evoke an emotional response when you are faced with parting with them. Rather than overloading your suitcase, take pictures of them so that you can re-create those positive emotions at a later time.
Create a wellbeing budget
Consider this your “me” money! This could be set aside for anything from nail appointments to theatre tickets. The point is, you have already accounted for the expense of enjoying a few of your favorite things. Don’t leave it to figure out after you move as there will always be a reason to use the money for bills and other necessities. Having the budget set aside beforehand allows you more confidence to indulge.
Attend networking events
If you are a social butterfly this is an easy task. However, if you are more introverted, try using a gradual immersion technique. For example, you could attend an event with the goal of connecting with just one person. To alleviate your fears, come up with three questions you’d ask someone you’ve just met and another three about your new country. This way you appear more social and you can intently listen to the answers. By that time, the responses you get should generate enough information for a longer conversation. If the conversation runs out of steam and you begin to feel uncomfortable you can make a gracious exit. Be sure to repeat the process until you are building a social circle in your new environment.
Schedule checkpoints with loved ones
Moving is both hectic and stressful! It’s no surprise that it ranks high on the charts of leading life stressors. During the process you can get so tied up with managing task lists and problem solving that you overlook checking in on friends and family at home. Thankfully, modern technology can keep you connected no matter where in the world you are. Use your calendar to book recurring appointments with the people who can positively feed your soul. This way, no matter what trials come your way, you always have an uplifting connection to look forward to.
When in Rome…
Learn about your new culture both before you leave home and when you arrive. Stay true to your principles of course; but be bold in accepting and experiencing everything that your new culture has to offer. Make it a priority to understand local customs in greeting and parting with others. At a minimum, use these immediately. Showing acceptance and willingness to learn helps people to open up to you and welcome you to their corner of the world.
Felicia is a lover of travel and adventure who relocated 3,500 miles to support the educational paths of her children. Using her skills as a personal development coach, she helped them zone in on their unique talents. Splitting her time between the UK and her home country Bermuda, Felicia maintains a residence north of London with her husband and son while her daughter attends university in Spain. In addition to her work with corporate clients helping them to implement programs for employee success, Felicia works with her global coaching clients using Lifestyle Design™ strategies to help them create their best life and maximize accomplishments.