#18 Relocating and its effect on mental health

in life •  last year

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Relocating is fun, and has many perks as well. But there are lots of downsides to moving as well. While some of the issues can be minor, like not being able to go to your favorite pub anymore, others can be quite intense and affect the balance in our body. We often ignore these issues and sweep it under the rug, but more often than not, they can cause serious mental health problems in us. I want to share my experience with that and how I have been dealing with these issues.

First of all, relocating means that we leave our family and friends behind. Although technology has enabled us to be in touch with them, it is not the same as you being with them. Life goes on and we start missing stuff in their lives and they miss out on yours. Speaking from my experience, this did leave a small void in my heart. I obviously want to be there for them and they want to be there for me, but it is just not possible the way it used to. Specially when you are sick or have a bad day, this void can make you feel lonely. 

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I am quite not sure how I can explain the one issue that has been really important to me. When I was in Nepal, I had shaped my life in a way where I was not only focused in my career and personal life, but I was actively involved in social causes. I was a part of a group that wanted to facilitate changes and be of aid to society. Now, I can offer aid to Nepal in terms of financial help but it is not the same as being actively involved in issues. After the terrible flood in Nepal recently, I felt quite deprived of that part of me. So dealing with that has been quite challenging to me. 

Recently, I got an opportunity to meet another Nepali person who has been living here for the last 23 years and she had faced similar void. She is now working with other expats to help them feel at home between two cultures as well. This brings us to the third issue, the culture change. I come from a culture with is on the complete different end of the spectrum from the culture in The Netherlands. From the way people interact to the relationship rules, everything is completely different. Although you can learn the new rules, the heart longs to more warmth and the old ways. 

I am not saying that everyone that relocates experiences the same things and faces problems, but there are people who do. You can be a really strong, independent person, and still need a little help now and then to adjust. So my first suggestion is to cut yourself some slack and accept that you are having a hard time. We are brought up thinking that it is not okay to scatter but it is. It really is okay to fall apart sometimes and rearrange yourself.  I was so hard on myself and I did not let myself accept that I was feeling all these absences in my heart which is not healthy. So, stop doing that and embrace the fact that you are human and you miss certain stuff from home.

Get busy in your electronic devices and search for activities around your area that appeal to you. Get involved in classes or activities that you can do on a regular basis. This will help you a lot to keep you active and your mind occupied. And as an added bonus, it will help you make new friends who enjoy at least one thing that you enjoy too.

Lastly, talk about what you are feeling with loved ones. Sometimes we want to protect our loved ones, and sometimes we want to protect our egos and we do not accept that we are not doing as well as we pretend we are. This can only increase the distance between you and your loved ones and it makes you feel even worse, because on top of feeling not so good, now you have lied or hidden stuff from your family or friends, or your partner. So open up, and talk about what you really feel. Do not bottle up emotions. And if you ever want to share your experiences on this matter, leave your comments behind. 

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