So you have arrived. The kids are settled into school and your husband is enjoying his new job. But now the boxes are unpacked and the house has been set up. What are you, the expat wife, going to do all day?
Fighting the Expat Blues: Tips for Expat Wives
Table of Content
Defining Expat Blues
Expat wives face many challenges beyond the initial culture shock. Moving and living abroad “demands a great deal of emotional strength”, according to Dr. Cathy Tsang-Feign, a HongKong based psychologist who counsels expats and is the author of Keep Your Life, Family and Career Intact While Living Abroad: What every expat needs to know. Life abroad can be stressful, not to mention dull at times, and various triggers cause bluesy feelings ranging from sadness to frustration.
We all have different ways of coping with challenges but overall it’s all about having the right mindset. You should be open to new experiences and not be comparing your new home to your home country. But when the blues hit, different things work for different people. Here are a few ideas: –
Acknowledge Your Blues
In Dr. Tsang-Feign’s words, “awareness is half the cure”. She writes that many expat wives struggle to feel grounded in their new culture because they see their life abroad as temporary. Others wrestle with maintaining their self-identity. The loss of a professional identity can be especially frustrating for women who are unable to work abroad.. Obtaining a work visa and sponsoring employer can be a monumental task. Understanding the underlying causes of how you feel and acknowledging your feelings should be your first steps to dealing with the expat blues in a productive manner.
Build a Supportive Network
Reach out to other expats, especially other women, who can relate to what you are going through. Meet them and discuss how they deal with the blues. Expat forums like InterNations can be great to provide you with a sense of community. Or blog about your feelings to get it out!
Find and Do Something that Fulfills You
Find something that interests you to fill your day. A hobby or online course or volunteering can make you feel like you are achieving and/ or contributing something. Join groups like InterNations or Culture Studies Group Nepal who have like-minded expats and locals.
Don’t Isolate Yourself — Find a Way to Connect