Now that we dealt the emotional stages before the move abroad here and know how to address them, we can say “bring it on, emotional stages after the move, we can handle you, heheheee!”
Most of us are worried about the logistical, administrative and financial aspects of the move, such as having the paperwork in order, finding a job to support our lifestyle, decorating our new home so it feels like… home. But once these are in place, something else happens: our emotions kick in. O-oh, this is not what I signed-up for… Now what?
Well, a move comes with the corresponding emotional stages, it’s just the way it is (“it’s neither good nor bad”, as Brene Brown’s therapist says). It’s normal and healthy and there are ways to deal with each of the emotional stages. We all go through them. By all mean, you are not alone. Now, that’s a relief!
If you haven’t watched the video in which we describe the 9 emotional stages after the move, find it here. It’s short and sweet, don't miss it.
Alright, I guess you want to know how to address each of the stages? Here's one strategy for each (and then I’ll tell you where you can find more).
#1 Excitement or “The Honey Moon” Stage
“Hurraaay, I’m finally here and it’s so amazing!”, you feel like telling the whole world.
Use this heightened state and alternate between the discovery and allocating time for the settling in, especially from an administrative and logistical perspective. Learn how to do this in the Smoovster Step-by-Step Plan document, it's free!
#2 The Fatigue and/or Frustration Stage
“I’m so tired, there are too many new things in my life all at once!”, you think to yourself.
Set-up habits and create rituals to provide you with a sense of stability, while you deal with all the to do’s of this stage. Our Master Guide Moving Abroad: The Mental & Emotional has a Chapter: Managing Your Decisions, Willpower and Habits Successfully. It’s super very useful and practical tips on how to reduce your stress and tiredness when dealing with so much novelty in your life at the same time. Get your Guide here, at the price of a latte ;).
#3 The Relaxation and Confidence Stage
“Things are slowly getting better”, you can breathe again.
Enjoy this stage and recharge yourself with more self-care activities and start turning your attention towards activities you’ve wanted to do, but maybe didn’t have a chance to do since you’ve arrived.
#4 The Homesickness and/or Grief Stage
“This is so hard, I miss everything from back home!”, you feel depleted.
Accept that this is part of your process and of living abroad and it’s OK. We have to give up some things, to make room for others. The immigrants we’ve interviewed have reported that it helps a lot to have family or friends visiting, to visit your home country or connect with people going through the same feelings as you are.
Additionally, we have outlined the most effective strategies of dealing with homesickness and grief in the second Master Guide, Moving Abroad: The Important, but Hidden. You can get it here.
#5 The Guilt Stage
“I should have never left my family, they need me.”
Continue to keep show your beloved ones how important they are to you, by: communicating regularly, as often as several times per week, sharing your feelings openly. Think of creating a long-term plan, e.g. to bring your parents after you receive your citizenship or to return to your home country in a certain number of years or bring your family abroad once you earn enough to support them. If you’ve been going through a challenging time and need support on this, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free call, to find out how you can address this.
#6 The Adjustment or the “Phew” Stage
“I’m am finally settling in, this is my new life!”, you tell yourself.
You have achieved so much, celebrate your success. Nevertheless, continue to learn, be open and curious, observe and most of all, start integrating, allow this new life to become part of you.
#7 The Independence and Invincibility Stage
“If I was able to do this, I can do anything!”
Enjoy, but do not forget the help you received from other people, acknowledge and thank them¸ may they be your loved ones back home or your new acquaintances. Continue to be kind, grateful and help others who are now in your shoes.
#8 The Defeat or “Pick-up and Leave” Stage
“That’s it, I’ve had it, I’m leaving!”
We all go through stages like this several times. The best things to do is to wait until your emotional state calms down. Only then you should ask yourself: “Am I 100% sure that moving back is going to bring me what I hope it to?”
#9 The Acceptance, Openness, Gratitude and…Humility Stage
“I feel good, I have integrated the new life and the new life has integrated me”
It is time for you to acknowledge how far you’ve come. Look back and tap yourself on your shoulder for the journey. Congratulations for getting to this point!
For more details, tips and valuable advice on the emotional stages and challenges of moving abroad, access our 3 Master Guides:
- Moving Abroad: The Essentials here
- Moving Abroad: The Important, but Hidden here
- Moving Abroad: The Mental and Emotional here
They contain every aspect you need to know about to set yourself up for your successful move to the country of your choice.
You are amazing! Go for it! We’ve got your back.