Save energy: know the difference between what you can change and what you can’t

There is a saying that goes something similar to this:

“Give me the courage to deal with the things I can change, the serenity to accept the things I can’t change and the wisdom to know the difference between those two.”

In other words, try not to go crazy or obsess about things you can’t do anything about, there is no point and you will only waste your valuable energy in them when you should have a much clearer plan defined and putting that energy into it. Next time that you go like “AAARGH!” or “I can’t do this!” ask yourself in which two of the categories it falls, and then decide if you can do something about it or you can just kick back and relax about it.

There is also that other saying that goes something like this:

“Don’t worry. If there is something you can do about it, do it, and if there is nothing to do about it, don’t do anything. But either way, do not worry. Worry is useless.”

I say whoever said that probably never had to go through Reverse Culture Shock. Or maybe he or she did and that is where that saying comes from, from a very wise RCS survivor. In any case I find it to be terrific advice and I hope you can use it and make your life easier.

Advertisements

For those around you, send them this video so they can understand you better

Today’s post is for the people who surround you, your family, your friends, your coworkers, bosses or just people around you because they are also Reverse Culture Shock sufferers in the sense that they see that you have changed and they are a bit confused about it too. They may be a little surprised about how you are acting on those days in which everything is new and strange back home, so send this video to them. Let them know that if we have a support group is because although going back home seems easy, it sometimes is not, and that you are trying hard, using resources to get “back to normal” while integrating 2 or more cultures in you so that you can function properly. This is a re-adjustment period for you and for them too, it takes some time and we all could benefit from a little understanding from those around you. They are also sort of going through some shock because they have not seen you in a while and although you don’t notice it in you that much, you have changed. So please be understanding towards them too, they have not seen or lived what you have and they just want you to feel at home again.

Focus on the bigger picture and don’t get caught in the small stuff

When you allow yourself to miss too much the little things from your host country (your favorite brand of cereal, the morning air…) you prevent yourself from appreciating the little things and the bigger things you have in front of you at home. Also when you focus too much on the little things that annoy you from back home (bad customer service, obnoxious people…) you are wasting energy by getting caught in the little hurdles, and making yourself more miserable. Doing these things could is a way of expressing your longing for your host country, but deep down you are using these things as excuses to allow yourself to feel bummed. However, it is just too easy to get caught on these “little trees” and feel stuck. Focusing instead on the big trees that of the forest you have in front of you and realize it is also made of little things that can be lovely, fun and interesting, even if they are from home, will make you feel better and more in tune with your surroundings. It is funny to think about how returnees we seem to transition much easily if we focus our energy on bigger trees. You would think it would be easier to transition with the little things, but human nature often proves picky and difficult when it is about the details and brave and wise when it is about the bigger stuff. So make a choice: are you going to be picky and difficult or are you going to be brave and wise? In other words: are you going to make it hard for you to re-adapt and feel miserable because of small stuff or are you going to step up to the challenge and feel empowered by it? I want to hear your thoughts about this! Email me at howtosurvivercs@gmail.com or comment below!

General resources for expats

Just because you are going home it doesn’t mean you have to function the way you used to there a while back. You have changed and acquired different needs and wants, and trying to fly with what you used before might not make the cut you are looking for these days. So what do you do?

Most likely there are some expats from your host country or from other countries at your home city or area. These people have already adapted there to a certain extent, and have probably used services and products and have their opinions formed about them, so get in touch with them and ask them about the resources they use for everything you might need or want, and their reviews to see if they would make a good fit for what you are looking for.

From finding a new job to getting imported groceries or goods, expats in your city have a wealth of information that you can benefit from, and many are really eager to help you. They can hook you up with sports clubs, women’s associations, established playgroups for children…Tap into their field knowledge of the area to save time and resources finding what you want and profit from their experiences as users or consumers.

Considering yourself an expat (even though you are technically “from there”) can significantly help you ease back home when it comes to logistics and settling, getting things organized and set for you to re-start your life. Your local friends and family can be of great help assisting you with information, but unless they are expats themselves, the type of information they can offer is probably mostly “local” information, which is great and necessary as well for you to successfully re-adapt. Try to mesh these two type of information and groups, the expats and the locals, in order to create an environment that suits your needs and wants in order to make a much smoother transition for yourself.

Don’t forget all the resources that you used when you lived abroad, there are plenty of great companies that can make your life easier back home just like they did outside of your home country. If you used Cragislist.org or similar ones, or got help from the Chamber of Commerce or from business groups or Meetup.com groups abroad, don’t stop just because you are home! These resources also exist back home and you can take advantage of them like another expat, like Expatexpress or check out this fantastic list that ExpatsUnite put together. A good place to start even before you go back is Sharon Gilor’s specific and complete relocation guide. Google the name of your city + expats or expats services or expat products and see what comes up. Also, don’t forget to email me the best resources you know of so I can put up here your personal recomnendations in the blog and other expats can use them! Thank you!