Although living in a culture you know nothing about can be exciting, it can also really get you down and cause depression abroad. There are times you might find yourself not connecting to anything around you and wondering why you moved abroad in the first place.
First, thing I want to say is this is completely normal, but please don’t give up just yet. Also, you are not alone. It’s so so normal and please get in contact with me if you just need to talk with someone who gets it. I’m alway here for you guys.
Here are some tips of things that worked for me when I was miserable in a different environment.
1. Exercise- It sounds so simple, but I know it can be so hard at times. I find that printing out an exercise schedule helped me a lot when I had no motivation. If you are like me and feel accomplished by checking something off a list I recommend printing out a calendar and marking it with the days you are planning on working out. The next step is to set a time in the day. Don’t just say “I’m going to run on Tuesday for 20 minutes.” Write down “I’m going to run on Tuesday at
The next step is to set a time in the day. Don’t just say “I’m going to run on Tuesday for 20 minutes.” Write down “I’m going to run on Tuesday at 7am for 20 minutes.” At 7am, I would be grumpy as hell and cursing the earlier me that made such a stupid schedule, but I would get up and run, and I would feel better. Exercise doesn’t need to be about getting in shape or overworking your body. It can simply be about feeling good physically and mentally. I find myself more motivated for the rest of the day after I run. Find what exercise works for you and go do it. I promise it will help.
2. Meet Up With Friends- If you don’t yet have friends in your new home country, read my tips for making some here. If you do already have friends, make plans with them. While living in Germany I found it almost impossible to motivate myself off my couch during the cold dark winters. Sitting at home only made me feel worse, but it was just so hard to get up.
Eventually, I vowed to do at least two social things a week. Going out twice a week with friends really isn’t that much and it made me feel a million times better. I quickly found that I was more willing to say yes and go out three or four times a week once I built up a good social schedule. One important thing to remember is that it is crucial to surround yourself with people who are happy with the current situation they are in.
In Germany I had friends who had no desire to be there. As much as I loved those people, they were not always the right people to spend time with when I was dealing with depression. If you surround yourself with people who love the place they are in, their outlook on life it will rub off on you.
3. Talk To Family and Friends From Home- Personally, this doesn’t always work for me. I love my family dearly and sometimes talking to them just makes me miss them more, but sometimes it really helps to talk to someone familiar in a place where nothing feels like home.
Not only do your friends and family know you best, they also talk about things you can relate to. I find I feel a bit better just hearing my family say things like “oh the new town library opened last week.” and “we went to that good sub shop on Main street yesterday.” These little sentiments can relax you because you will know exactly what they are talking about in an environment that can seem completely confusing at times.
If you need a way to always stay in contact, you should definitely check out Tep Wireless.
4. Embrace Silence- It’s amazing what a little quiet can do for depression. Even in the middle of winter on days where I never leave my apartment, I still try to sit on my balcony for at least ten minutes a day and just reflect. Fresh air and reflecting on life helps put everything into perspective. We all move entirely too fast in our lives. Remember where you came from and where you plan on going. Remind yourself of your place in this world and the amazing things you’ve accomplished by moving abroad. It will rejuvenate you.
As I said in the beginning of this article, please reach out to me if you need someone to talk to that can relate to what you are going through. If things get bad please please seek help.
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