8 Things to do if you are feeling lonely abroad
Published: Tuesday 5th January, 2021.
The one thing to know and remember is that you are not alone. In whichever country you will settle, there will always a lot of immigrants, migrants or expats in a similar situation as you. Like at home, there are a lot of different options abroad to help you combat loneliness. There are no reasons why you should struggle. Also remember that people do like foreigners, you are interesting and different from what they may be used to and in no time you will build a good network of friends.
Suggestion #1 Engage in “small talk”
You will most likely be leaving behind you a lot of good friends, friends you have had since primary school or university. It can be quite difficult and lengthy to build new friendships and relationships, it will not happen overnight, mainly if you are a little introverted. But it is important to connect with people. What you can do day by day is build connections with people you see regularly by engaging in small talk with them. For example, people you see when collecting your children from school or when going to the grocery shop or the park. Engage with small talk every day and eventually you will build a good connection which may develop into friendship.
That is exactly how I met one of my friend Weixi 5 days after I moved to England. I engaged into small talk with her on the school playground. She has been in my life ever since and she is the friend I can always trust and rely on.
Suggestion #3 - Go online, get connected
There is nothing better than going to your local coffee shop with a bunch of friends to enjoy a freshly grounded coffee. But this is not always the most convenient option and you may have to “meet online”.
There may be situations like with Covid-19 that prevent the ability to physically meet up so you may just wish at first to connect with others online from the comfort of your home until you feel confident and comfortable enough to go and meet face to face.
Meeting or chatting to people online can also be to find some verbal support, to share your worries or ask for some advice. However, always be selective to join an online community you can trust with people who share the same ambitions and interest as you.
Suggestion #4 - Eat an elephant but remember, one bite at a time!
What we mean here is that everything in life that seems overwhelming, scary and impossible can be accomplished step by step, a little at a time.
Building your life abroad can be very demanding, stressful and challenging however if you focus on one thing at a time you will see and feel the progress you are making.
Firstly, you may want to address your loneliness issue and make plan to join groups, clubs or networks to begin to socialise. Then you will feel more confident and can search for a job. Also, those interactions may help you to that effect.
Suggestion #5 - Invest in yourself and the small pleasures in life
To achieve most things in life you need to be in good spirits, to feel happy and healthy, rested and relaxed. You need to look after yourself and your body to ultimately give your mind the best chance to succeed.
Invest if your own environment to make yourself feel more comfortable. For example, in autumn and winter I always invest in nice candles, bath salts and good books as I will be spending more time indoors.
What about writing a list of some small pleasures you could implement in your daily routine.
Suggestion #6 - Write a daily journal
Keeping a daily journal is something which can help you control your thoughts and feelings, and which can impact positively on your anxiety. It can help improve your mood and keep you on track.
Instead of keeping all your problems, fears and concerns inside your brain which may feel like it is going to explode, putting your thoughts and fears down on paper will help you prioritise them and learn ways to control them better.
Write a daily journal without judging or criticising yourself. Just be open and you will soon notice the changes in your daily life.
Suggestion #7 - Engage in some voluntary work
There are many benefits to engaging in voluntary work both for your mental and physical health. It helps with the effects of stress, anger and anxiety. However, it can also have a positive social aspect. Being and working with others, can also positively influence your overall psychological well-being.
I live in England and the volunteering system works very well there. A lot of services would not survive without volunteers from homeless centers to playgroups, dog’s shelters etc.
Start researching the agencies or organisations that need help near you, start volunteering, meeting new people, doing something good and rewarding.
Helping others also means helping yourself!