Taking the stress out of your first overseas relocation

Taking the stress out of your first overseas relocation

Taking the stress out of your first overseas relocation

What is expat fatigue, and is it curable?

Like so much else in our modern-day lives, expatriation is yet another challenge which can lead to exciting possibilities or crash us into depression. Obviously, it’s not a diagnosed illness, but it’s real enough to those who’re enduring it as an unexpected part of a massive lifestyle change. Add it to divorce, bereavement and moving house and you’ve got the stress-related picture! It’s a recognised phenomenon which can wreak havoc in your new life overseas. Culture shock is normal when a new and unfamiliar culture isn’t just in your dreams, it’s in your face!

Challenges like driving on the ‘wrong side of the road, dealing with unfamiliar bureaucrats speaking an unfamiliar language and not being able to express yourself correctly can all lead to disorientation and cultural fatigue – emotional and physical exhaustion due to a fear of not surviving in an alien culture. None of this is good news when you’re attempting to impress your new work colleagues. However, the positive news for most sufferers is that your subconscious will adapt itself after a period of six months or so, leaving you free to get on with your life.

For those experiencing the onset of expat fatigue, the easy way out is to give up and go home, a response which is reasonable when a challenge proves too much. Otherwise, there’s a strategy aimed at getting you through the worst and allowing you to get on with your life. It starts with making notes abut your feelings and taking steps to improve your health and sense of wellbeing. Exercising, eating regularly, not drinking too much and sleeping comfortably after doing something you really enjoy is a good start. Learning the local customs and language of your new country helps you fit in and feel more ‘at home’.

Getting used to being a stranger in a strange land brings confidence and helps you deal with any negative reactions you may experience. Living in an ‘expat bubble’ is the wrong thing to do, but going native doesn’t work either. The trick is to adopt the host culture’s most congenial aspects without losing your own cultural identity, and changing a few of your worldviews and core assumptions can make fulfilling your potential is every way far easier. Relocating overseas is a vast learning experience, with making the most of it the best way to succeed in business and in your personal life.

Related Stories:

Latest News: