Many of us when moving homes focus deeply on the logistics, packing, shipping, closing contracts for the internet or other utilities. And that is true not only during an international move. But so many of us forget to look after our mental well-being during this time. It is a big change to pack your whole life into a couple of suitcases and move it to another location, and it does have an emotional effect on us too.
Below you can find a couple of tips on how to minimise the negative emotional effects of such move – ideas on how to say a healthy goodbye to your current home and prepare for arrival in the new location.
Visit your favourite places
In the midst of all the crazy packing and logistics, it is good to try and make the time to visit your favourite restaurants, parks or theatres. You can do as much as you can to build up the positive memories related to this place and fuel your energy for the upcoming weeks. Setting aside even just 2 hours on the weekends leading up to the move gives you something to still look forward to and be excited about.
It may seem like just one more thing to do before you go, but in reality it allows you to relax and unwind in the places you know well and enjoy. It is extremely important to look after your mental health during any major life change.
I can tell you that I did not do this when I was making the move from Poland to the UK and it was a mistake.
I was missing many things at first and nothing here was good enough to make up for the places I liked back home. As I started going back for holidays or long weekends, I made sure to close that chapter properly. Later on, when I was moving homes within London, I knew I will most likely not go back to the area I was living in previously. It’s simply too far away and not t h a t worth the trip. So before the move, I managed to have nice meals in the favourite restaurants nearby, and take a walk around the neighbourhood as well.
Meet with friends and throw a goodbye party
It is hard to make the time for everyone just before your move, I know. Especially if you don’t have much time to prepare. Getting everyone together for a house party, or meeting with two different groups over two evenings, will give you the opportunity to actually speak to everyone, make sure to come up with ideas to stay in touch and have a clear conscience that you did make the time to meet with people who matter to you.
We know from the previous blog posts that a big full-on party might not be the best option for all the personality types, but any form of spending some quality time with people you care about will do.
Maintaining long-distance relationships with your friends and family is not easy. Though nowadays the technology facilitates it a lot and we should make use of it. Try to schedule a set time, especially if time zones may be a blocker, to speak with your friends. If you all stick to this time, it will become a nice new tradition and will enable you to stay in touch despite of the distance.
Another advantage is that it allows you to keep each other updated regularly during the time of the biggest change, when you experience the different culture deeply and need someone to listen and support you.
I must say that there was a time during the 3,5 years I’ve lived abroad where the contact with my friends loosened a bit. We were all based in different locations in and outside of Poland and it just naturally happened. At one point, we discussed and decided that it just simply cannot be the case! We know and love each other far too much to let the distance separate us. We made a conscious decision to meet on Skype regularly and during every Skype conversation we set up the time in our calendars for another virtual meeting. In addition to this, we decided to meet more often in real life for the weekends (though I do appreciate that we are all based in Europe and everything is 2-hours away on a plane). Since we made this decision, we have already seen each other three times this year in Gdansk, Poznan and Warsaw, and already have the next trip planned as well. It’s mostly a matter of choosing your priorities.
Prepare for what is to come and do your research
It is not particularly uncommon to focus too much on the moving logistics and not research the new location or make any plans. I think it is especially important to plan some exciting things there, so that you can look forward to something. You can plan your first sightseeing trips, walks around the neighbourhood, cooking a nice meal using local spices or products that you are excited to try.
If you are going to work in this new country, take some time to do the research about the culture and working world. Sure, you can’t prepare for everything. But you can use the existing research to make you feel more comfortable and knowledgeable in the new environment.
Here are some blog articles that can help you with that:
The above three things should help you minimise the stresses related to moving abroad and make it a bit easier for you emotionally. Sure, there might still be something you didn’t predict or didn’t prepare for – but isn’t this just life? 🙂 As they say – hope for the best, prepare for the worst!