Loneliness and the Single Expat
Many unattached foreigners move to Mexico to start their life over. It may seem scary to relocate to another country alone, and at times you will feel out of your element and isolated without the security of friends and family, familiar surroundings and routine, it can be a challenge to get comfortable in your new life. You will be dealing with many changes living in another country including culture shock, language, alienation and it may cause you to feel lonely and doubt whether you made the right decision. Sometimes it can be compared to being the new kid in class and trying to figure out where you fit it.
The nature of expat life makes it harder to build long term relationships since people seem to be coming and going, but do not give up too quickly. Relocation is a perfect opportunity to start over, to find yourself and figure out what is important to you. Since none of your old friends or family are influencing you during this time, you may find your true self. It is the perfect time to surround yourself with like-minded people, and it promises to be an exciting adventure.
Here are some tips to combat loneliness as an expat:
- Get to know your new surroundings, check out the local art, culture or music, or take a cooking class. Getting to know your new countries culture and history is a wonderful way to get comfortable and meet new people.
- Get involved in your new community through volunteer work, find an opportunity doing work that is important to you. Volunteering gives you a sense of belonging and a connection to people that care about the same things as you. Friendships built in the volunteer atmosphere are less likely to be superficial since you are all working towards a common goal.
- Fitness is an excellent way to integrate into a community. Join a local gym, go to yoga, or Zumba or learn a new activity like scuba diving, paddle boarding, dance or join a golf or tennis club. People are more comfortable and settled when they have a routine; fitness is a healthy routine that will ward off loneliness.
- Facebook is a great way to connect with expats that are experiencing the same issues as you. In social media groups, you can find meetup groups, advice, and information from fellow expats.
- Spanish classes are an ideal place to meet other foreigners, not to mention incredibly helpful in day to day survival in Mexico.
- Talking to family and friends through Skype or messaging helps ease the loneliness, but, do not rely on their company, you will not meet new people or allow new people into your life if you spend your day online.
- Join an organization like Rotary or Lions Club, many of these organizations have English speaking clubs all around the world.
- Remind yourself why you left your country and what it was you wanted in life. When we miss something, we only remember the good times and may forget the reasons for leaving.
Get outside; there is a whole new world to explore. You will find your place if you go out and take a look around.