Expat zone
Posted on: Nov 06, 2014

5 tips to feeling happier in a new place


This post is also available in Greek

An international relocation can be both exciting and daunting. Fortunately there are some small steps that can immediately help you feel more at home in your new country…

#1 List the reasons you came here

Give at least five and elaborate on each. For example, “I moved to Singapore as I wanted to travel more around Asia” or, “The contract in the Netherlands will really add to my credentials”. Doing this reminds you of the positive sides to the move and helps you focus on your original purpose, goals and dreams during tough times.

#2 Take your time as you make new commitments

Don’t expect to rebuild an entire life overnight; be kind to yourself. Revel in making fresh, new choices, but don’t push yourself to learn everything in one go. Before tackling each challenge, ask yourself, “Am I being GENTLE with myself?”

#3 Put up photos of your previous life…

… or give mementos pride of place in your new house. This way there is connectivity between your past and your new life. Moving can bring a sense of loss, but mementos remind us that love and good memories are not gone. They will always be in our hearts, no matter how far away we are from each other.

#4 Talk about it

Share your feelings with someone you trust and who understands your experience; someone you feel you can relate to. Take advantage of modern technology (often the only constant in the mobile life!) and use Skype, Facebook or telephone if you haven’t yet found a friend in your area. You are not alone in this… it’s likely that others are feeling, or have felt, sad during an international relocation. Together you may come up with ideas to feel less down.

#5 Get involved in your new country

Ask questions about the way of living; start (or continue with) a hobby; have fun experimenting with local cuisine; enjoy local music and traditional dance; sign up for language lessons if you haven’t already…

Which tip has worked best for you? Email us at [email protected].

You can find this article and many more at: www.expatnest.com.


Vivian Chiona is the founder of Expat Nest (www.expatnest.com) which promotes the emotional well-being of expats, by providing online counselling services. Expat Nest supports expats facing challenges and who want to feel happier and more relaxed, by offering services which are reliable, flexible and just a click away!

Vivian is a registered psychologist with Masters degrees in both Child & Adolescent Psychology and Health Psychology. She is school counsellor at the British School in The Netherlands and a taskforce member of the International School Counsellor Association. She also does project-based training for the Council of Europe’s Pestalozzi Programme and is a facilitator for their online Community of Practice. A multilingual bicultural and expat with family all over the world, Vivian herself feels most at home in the international community and is inspired by its diversity.