Feeling quickly at home after moving abroad – Psychology Tips

Published by MartaCastro on

Feeling Quickly At Home after Moving Abroad - Psychology Tips

Who has never traveled and found themselves thinking, “I could live here!”? Some cities make us feel immediately at home, and others that, for reasons that we often don’t even understand, take a little longer.

In this article, I share some tips that I learned with my international moves, my friends, and some of my expatriate clients, with a hint of psychology. 

1 – Don’t Leave Things in Boxes

Having the travel boxes scattered around the house creates the feeling of being in the process of moving and not feeling totally at home. In addition, temporary, can easily become permanent, especially when busy and stressed with the new job, the new school for the children, bureaucracy in the new country, etc. And after a few months, we find ourselves with boxes still piled up in the middle of the living room.

The best thing is to take advantage of the change, to give a new organization and storage. As the famous author of numerous books about tidying up, Marie Kondo says, tidying and organizing the house also organizes our lives.

2 – Bring Personal Items

Having photos of family, friends, and good times facilitates the feeling of permanence and continuity when we are in the process of change or life transition. It helps to feel that, instead of “leaving everything behind”, we have brought everything with us or within us. In addition, it facilitates the feeling of belonging, which is so important for those who move to another country and are still finding themselves in this new space.

3 – Knowing the Surroundings and Neighbors

As human beings, we have a basic need for security, and what is unknown can, for this reason, bring discomfort. So, getting to know the spaces around our house, discovering shops, libraries, gardens, and learning how to get from one place to the other with ease, helps to create familiarity, to feel more secure and confident.

Introducing yourself to your closest neighbors is also a way to avoid awkward moments in shared spaces such as elevators and stairs. In this case, it is worth doing a little research on what is customary to do in the country where we are going. For example, in Japan, new tenants are expected to introduce themselves to their next-door neighbors and offer a simple gift.

4 – Keep our hobbies and create a routine

When I ask some of my friends who lived abroad when they first felt at home, many mention: “I felt myself at home when I had my routine”.

Keeping up with our hobbies, when possible, helps to create a sense of familiarity and also helps to establish a routine, so important for us to feel at home. Additionally, several psychology studies show the benefits of hobbies in managing stress, mood, and life satisfaction.

5 – Socialize and develop friendships

Many psychological studies demonstrate how social support and affective bonds are fundamental in well-being and even longevity.

Some of the things we can do are: not being afraid to ask for help or advice, exchanging ideas with other expats, getting involved in the local community, volunteering, etc. 

It is essential to create satisfying social relationships, to develop a sense of belonging and avoid isolation as much as possible. Actually, isolation can be very harmful in emigration and expatriation. Sharing concerns about the country, schools, health system, employability, etc., relieves a lot of stress. As the English proverb says: “a shared problem is half a problem”. Creating friendships in the new country and building a support network is essential for well-being.

It is important to give ourselves time to adapt, understand what is missing in our current surroundings, and to create the comfort we and our family need. Allowing time and space for a fresh start, a new adventure not only in our new home but also in our lives.

Categories: ENG


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