Expat Grief - Facing the Difficulties of Moving Country
Comparing your old life to your new one isn’t helpful if you can’t fix your feelings
Are you mourning the life you had due to moving abroad for work, or a perceived better life? Feeling sad and missing family, friends, your old house, your old life and everything familiar is perfectly normal, even if the move has brought about plenty of positive change.
How do you know you’re grieving? Ask yourself:
Are you experiencing feelings of isolation?
Have you retreated and not felt like going out or engaging with others?
Do you regularly cry?
Are you struggling to concentrate?
Do you long to go ‘home’?
Our home, even if we felt ready for the move, is our safe space. You’re not disappointing anyone by admitting things aren’t as great as they seem. Comparing your old life to your new one isn’t helpful, and you can’t fix your feelings.
Remember, when you move to a new country, you’re on a huge learning curve. You’re adjusting to a new culture, maybe a new language, different ways of doing things, such as healthcare, paperwork, banking, schools, different food, a hotter or colder climate, and more.
What can you do?
Try one small new thing a day.
Write it down. Journaling and acknowledging your feelings can take the sting out of them.
Be present - live in the moment without looking forwards or backwards. Going outside for a walk and taking in new sights can help.
Connecting with other expats who understand will help but avoid comparing their feelings to yours. They might be blissfully happy, and that’s their story, not yours, but asking them what they did to settle and acclimatise can help.
Reach out for help. If your feelings are all consuming and you’re struggling, you don’t need to do it alone. As a grief specialist, I can help (and other grief specialists) by giving you tools to cope with your feelings of loss.
Detola Amure is a Productivity & Women Leadership Transformational Coach. Detola is passionate about helping people recover from their emotional losses so that they can be better leaders and communicators. You can learn more about Detola here.