Have you moving abroad? Then over the past several months, you were probably all over the place trying to organize your relocation process, finding the right company, deciding what to take with you, packing your belongings, and so on. But once all that was over with and you’ve relocated successfully, you were able to settle down and relax a bit, right?
Well, not necessarily. Once you were done moving, you found yourself surrounded by people you don’t know, in the middle of a city you don’t exactly belong to, immersed into a culture you don’t fully understand. You started feeling homesick, or even anxious. Maybe you started regretting your decision to relocate in the first place. In fact, maybe you are even experiencing panic attacks.
If you believe this describes exactly how you feel, don’t worry. What you are going through is completely normal and more common than you think. In fact, it is so common that there is an official term for it – culture shock.
The usual symptoms of a typical culture shock include irritableness, fatigue, withdrawal from the community, lack or excess of sleep, feelings of animosity towards the new culture, anxiety, and even depression.
We won’t bother you with precise definitions of what culture shock is – if you’re experiencing it, you already know. What we have decided to do instead is help you cope with it. That is why we have put together some of the most efficient methods of dealing with this condition.
Share Your Experiences
Regardless of where you moved, chances are that your new city has an expatriate community. Connect with them and share your experiences. Finding more people who are going or have gone through the same thing will definitely help, at least to an extent. Listen to their experiences and advice and try to apply them to your own situation.
Maintain a Routine
If you had a certain routine back home, do your best to maintain it now that you’ve moved. Of course, some things will inherently have to change, but there are always those little things that you can keep on doing. Perhaps you used to run for thirty minutes every morning? Or maybe you enjoyed a cup of warm milk before going to bed. Whatever it is, keep doing it. It will give you a sense of familiarity that can help tremendously.
Every time you notice an aspect of the new culture that you find unusual, don’t just disregard it as being weird. Make a conscious effort to learn more about it. For example, did you know that Asian nations use chopsticks because they are convenient for reaching into pots of hot water or oil? Knowing why the people around you are doing what they are doing will help you understand them better.
If you ever find yourself panicking at the thought of spending your whole life in that new country, try to remind yourself that nothing has to be permanent. You can always move again, and again, and again, until you find the place where you truly belong.
If you can’t beat them, join them. That is to say, don’t fight the culture you are surrounded with – you can’t win. Instead, take baby steps to immerse yourself in it. You could take a language course or learn more about the country’s history, for example.
Ask For Help
Experiencing a culture shock is nothing to be ashamed of. However, not dealing with it properly can have profound effects on your quality of life. So if you feel like you can’t fight this condition alone, don’t hesitate to ask for professional help. Ask other expatriates or people you know for a good therapist who can help you overcome all your negative feelings.
We hope that this short guide helps you deal with culture shock. And in case you haven’t moved yet and need international moving services, I Love Moving is at your disposal!