One doesn’t have to be in someone’s else shoes to understand that moving away from your home place – whether it is for education, career, job opportunity triggers times of loneliness. It will catch you in very emotional moments when you cannot be with your siblings getting engaged, your friends getting married, when you are missing birthdays, anniversaries or even sad things like someone’s funeral. From time to time there will be a sense of alienation and what usually happens to me – this sense of being inbetweener. Trying to follow what’s there with your relatives across the ocean and being present here with new culture and new surroundings. How to handle expat loneliness in such scenarios then?
Sometimes it’s a loneliness more like feeling left out. Is it really the same to receive an invitation to celebrate important moments via facebook? Keeping in mind that attending the event is physically not feasible… Emotionally, that might be a little hectic especially when the dust settles, when you settle in a new place when you feel comfortable going for a packet of milk in the morning to the local shop when the new culture or place doesn’t scare that much anymore. Missing your friends or family hits you exactly when you are not expecting it, just loneliness for the life left behind. And that happened to me recently. Not recently, yesterday to be strict.
It’s October 2017. Diwali time in India. The biggest and most important festival during the year, a festival that has always had a strong homecoming tradition. The festival of lights, joy, and happiness, that brings together families from remote parts of the country (or sometimes even world) and strengthens bonds. It’s a magical time to celebrate the triumph of good over evil. If I could compare it to the holidays I know from Poland – I would say it’s little Christmas time in this exotic country. Just without snow.
I’m in Pune. Not only I’m sitting here away from my family and friends in Europe, but away from my closest ones in India, two little Munchkins and a Hubby who visit relatives in Chennai. It’s actually the second year in a row when we spend this time separately, well, due to different reasons but frankly speaking – emotions and feelings of loneliness taste same. So, very personally today, I’m thinking about all of us, all of these people who, due to some reasons were not able to spend time with their loved ones. Work, studies, other commitments. How to handle loneliness now? I am not going to say that it is easy not to cry out loud and keep the smiling face over the phone but I want to encourage each and everyone to make most of this beautiful time in your own way.
6 easy ways to get over your loneliness
I might not be the best and perfect example of handling difficult moments. I’m kind of perfectionist however I do my best to make it natural and positive even in a small amount so it compensates all the loneliness hustle. Here is my list where I share very subjective ways how to manage loneliness.
What about cleaning up the house?
I always believe that work that keeps you busy, keeps the worries away too. At least for some time. And you have a nice clean flat, at least for some time.
Share little of your stuff.
Do charity. Visit an orphanage, old age homes, donate clothes, food or money. Share something that may bring happiness to someone else. Even if it might be a complete stranger. Anyway, you already cleaned up your room? Easy to pack and give away! One day these good vibes will be back to you. I promise.
Try to enjoy the spirituality.
Personally, even I do not go to the church or temple often, I find this time good to express gratitude regardless of your religion. Moments of contemplation, meditation or praying clears your mind. Simple words of thank you make miracles for inner peace.
Lying down on the bed and watching the ceiling doesn’t help. Looking like a not bothered-fluffy person – neither. Put on a good dress, put on some perfume and you will feel better.
And let the food speak.
Celebrate the way you can. You might not find your Mom’s homemade food here but with little effort, you might have a piece of home away from home.
Last but not least. Spend time with your friends.
That’s your second family. Step-family away from your loved ones. If there are more of you spending lonely times, there is nothing better to connect and to bring a smile to people’s faces. They might feel lonely as well.
Unless you experienced a similar situation, you cannot easily imagine the kind of emotional challenges it brings. Intuitively you manage how to handle loneliness in difficult times. Spending time away from your closest ones during important and family moments, being brave and positive looks easy but it is not. I hope every time I feel down, there will be always someone to cheer me up and to show empathy. True, unconditional empathy. And I wish the same to you all.
Because it’s all not wrong. It’s just… lonely.
I would love to hear your comments on this! How do you fight back your loneliness being away you’re your family? Any golden rule you would like to share? Thank you very much for reading this article. I am curious if you have/had any experience of yours? Any comments? – please share your experience. And if you liked the article – share it, click “Like it” and subscribe to my newsletter.
Photo source: picjumbo