No matter how long you have been living abroad or how many times you moved, you can expect a lot of stress each time you are heading to a new destination even in your own country.
How you respond to stress depends on your past experiences and on your immediate perception of threat or danger. Stress hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol speed the heart rate, slow digestion, shunt blood flow to major muscle groups, and changing various other body functions.
Is it possible to reduce the relocation stress by planning ahead and learning what to expect when you arrive in your new “home”. Learn to relax with various stress management techniques. You can make lifestyle changes in order to keep your body from reacting to stress in the first place.
1-Take good care of your health :
- Eat well, Even when you are in transition, increase your intake of fruits and vegetable, use apples rather than highly refined junk food. Do not skip breakfast. Exercise: no time ? try to avoid using your car whenever possible, just 30 minutes per day of walking or using stairs is already beneficial for your health.
- Sleep Enough, know what is the right number of hours you need usually between 6 and 8 hours and try to go to bed before 11pm, the quality of the sleep is better.
- Use stress-relief techniques : I share what works for me: breathing, meditation, essential oils, yoga, healing and new age music, hot shower a short 20 minute nap after lunch.
2-Handling the packing and unpacking softly: Before each move I always say to myself that I have to sort the junk, donate to charity or shred tons of old papers and each time I cannot choose what to keep and what to put in the garbage can. As a result, we have more and more junk stuff and unopened boxes. When we moved from Tokyo to Atlanta we hired Kim Cossette, a Certified Professional Organizer owner at http://theorganizedapproach.com/ . The work she did with her team really helped relieved a lot of stress. We used her talent for packing from Atlanta to Brussels and she helped me sort my stuff as a result “less junk more funk” . I am not aware of any professional organizers in Europe, but try to enroll your best friends to help sorting things as soon as you know you will leave.
3-School and house hunting: These two are really difficult, especially if you are a serial expat.
For small children before primary schools it is not a real problem you can check locally with other moms. From grade one it is challenging to keep consistency with the language and teaching method. In the US and in France, you cannot put your kids in a public school if you don’t live in the school district. For private international schools you need to send application very early, usually March or April. Send to more than one. So my recommendation is to look for the school first and select the house after. You can ask questions to people who are living there by searching the internet for various support groups. For the house check the distance and traffic jam during weekdays for the trips to the school and to work.
I will add a last tip: be gentle on yourself, expect to have a messy house for at least 6 months to one year so making friends is your priority #1