Moving home is considered to be one of the top four most stressful life events. Relocating to a different country can increase the impact.

Depending on the particular scale referred to, moving home is generally found to be within the top four most stressful life events. This is understandable. Practically, the number of things to be done can seem endless, from sorting, packing and cleaning, unpacking and putting away; to cancelling and setting up utilities and organizing transportation – all to be done within a specific time frame that can build pressure to the point of overwhelm or exhaustion.

When we move from one country to another there is much more involved than purely practical matters.

Grief and loss: People and places become so familiar to us that we can take them for granted. Without their constant presence we feel their loss, particularly when we need reassurance or comfort. Maybe an email or phone call plunges us into sadness, or a song on the radio transports us back to a time before the foundation and structure of our life shifted.

Distance: Even with cheap travel, distances can feel like vast voids separating us from those we love. Time seems to stand still and forces us to face a choice: pine for the past or live in the present moment.

To gradually move from past to the present, we may need to straddle both past and present for a while, before we can settle fully into the new present. Acceptance and conscious awareness can ease this process.

Eventually the new will become comfortable, familiar and loved.

Change: Our new environment can hold many challenges and changes, requiring flexibility and adaptability. Traditions, climate, people, food and job may all be new to us. In addition, we may need to find our way around a new place, shop with a different currency and in a language that we have yet to learn. These things can all be stressful for a while – until they become the norm.

The process of change is a process of growth.

Comparison:  is a deeply engrained part of our psyche and survival mechanism. When we have just relocated, the process of comparison can make our lives seem overwhelming. At such times, everything is different and comparison can be harmful. A strict practice of accepting what is, can significantly reduce stress levels.

Choose not to compare. Accept what is.

Warning signs of stress:  Feeling tired, exhausted, overwhelmed or angry; sleeplessness, digestive problems, headaches, forgetfulness or being over-emotional.

Attitude: plays a vital part in wellbeing. We can greatly ease the process of relocating by developing an attitude of curiosity, interest and openness.

Be open, curious and interested.

If feeling super-stressed:  Stop and take 10 relaxing deep breaths – or more until you feel calmer.

Take great care of yourself.

For resilience: Set realistic goals, rest, relax, meditate, play and laugh – and be sure to get enough sleep, eat well and walk/exercise.

Be extra loving, kind and patient with yourself.

With love,

Gillian.

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