Expat Overwhelm: How to Cope
Life as an expat can feel overwhelming at times. You have the normal life things that might make a person feel overwhelmed - work, family, relationships, health.
But then on top of that you have the added layer of being an expat. You are constantly navigating in a non-native place, and it can be a lot with deciphering cultural nuances, translations gone wrong, and the fact that simple tasks often take much longer than expected.
In this way it can feel like overwhelm is a natural effect of life's circumstances.
But the truth is that overwhelm keeps you from moving forward and taking the action you most want and need to take. It can be a way of distracting yourself away from what you really should be working on.
The good news is that overwhelm is optional. It's just pretending to be necessary, but isn't at all. Here are three steps to take if you're feeling overwhelmed:
1. Empty your mind
When you empty your mind of all the thoughts you have that are making you feel overwhelmed and lay them on the table, what do you see? What are the exact thoughts you think over and over that keep you stuck?
When you write them down, it's the equivalent of turning on the light in your brain. You can't clean a room in the dark, and you can't clean your mind with a mess of thoughts swirling around in your brain, clouding your ability to think straight and solve problems.
Get clear on the thoughts that are holding you back, and remind yourself that they are all optional. Which are not serving you? Commit to letting them go.
2. Practice new thoughts
Once you are clear on what is in your brain, and you have committed to letting go of the thoughts not serving you, it's time to come up with some new thoughts that will help you reduce or eliminate the feelings of overwhelm.
Here are some ideas:
Life is always happening for me, not against me. Everything is happening this way for my highest good.
Nothing has gone wrong here.
I have much to learn by staying open to this.
I can handle anything that comes my way.
I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
You'll know if a new thought is useful to you or not by how it makes you feel. If it makes you feel overwhelmed, ditch it. If it makes you feel clarity, or calm, or strength, or determination, or positivity, then it could be a good one to keep.
3. Move forward
At the same time you are working on your mind and practicing new thoughts to think, you can also consider actions or inactions you can take to leave overwhelm behind. I would recommend journaling for 15 minutes or so and consider how you can move forward. You might ask yourself:
How can I use this?
How is this perfect?
What can I do that comes from peace, is for me, and is not trying to change or fix anything?
How can I accept this with grace?
One of the most important things I do with clients is work through this and many other processes to banish overwhelm and increase clarity and confidence in their lives abroad. Working with me is a truly transformative experience, so let's get started.
You can book your FREE discovery session here: https://calendly.com/jenknight/free-session
Hi, I'm Jen! I am a US expat and have lived abroad for six years, first in Shanghai and now in beautiful Thailand.
I always strive to learn, grow, and be the best version of myself, and I'm so grateful I get to spend my days working with amazing expat women like you:
Women who are smart and want to reach their goals, but need help overcoming stress, overwhelm, and other obstacles so they can create their best lives abroad.