How to be kind to yourself – surviving as an expat wife in Germany
When you become an expat wife in Germany, everything becomes more intense. Whilst you use more energy and draw on greater resilience, there is a bigger need for you to look after yourself.
For both you and your family – you need to be kind to yourself.
The packing, goodbyes and unpacking are just the beginning. Once your husband is at work and any children at school, it is then that the real challenge begins for you as an expat wife in Germany.
The trials to navigate a new world, where you feel invisible to so many, restricted by technicalities beyond your control, unable to earn or take action when and how you want.
The frustration, boredom, confusion and loneliness crush you in waves. As you feel a responsibility to be strong for your husband and children, so you put your feelings to one side and carry on.
You want to be the strong, confident and happy person that you were before.
And so your loneliness and frustration turns to anger and disappointment in yourself.
Anger that you cannot find a way to get through this and disappointment that it is you that feels this way. You, the one who is supposed to comfort everyone else and make this home. Anxiety that it will be you that makes your relocation to Germany fail.
And so you pretend that you are o.k. to yourself and everyone else.
You are not alone.
As Olga Mecking, writing in thenypost.com suggests, life as an expat wife ‘is much less enjoyable than it seems. The loss of identity is real and painful. Many expat spouses suffer from depression and lack of purpose’. 1
So it is not just you. This is a widespread problem that is not your fault. How do you get through it?
Be kind to yourself like this:
1. Stop blaming yourself:
The first thing that must do to is to stop blaming yourself and acknowledge your feelings. Your emotions are a normal response to the challenge of the move, and all that it has required of you as the supporting spouse.
What would you say to your best friend if she was in this situation? I bet it is not what you are saying to yourself right now?
Filter out the negative voices. Treat yourself with kindness.
Talk to yourself as you would to your friend. What would you advise them to do now? Next?
2. Allow yourself to make arrangements for you:
You organised for everyone else to settle into your expat life in Germany, but you forgot yourself.
Ditch the false and negative expectations that you should be able to slip seamlessly into life as an expat. That you could do better if you tried.
Make some time for yourself to think about the things that you need and want from this relocation to Germany. What do you want to get out of this move? What do you need?
It can sometimes help to return to the five year old you. The you who spoke without fear of what others think. What would the five year old you say that they needed at this moment?
3. Watch my Webinar: 5 steps to finding success and fulfillment from an expat life and make some time to book a session with an expat coach. Find out more about my expat coaching.
Different to the support from family and friends, expat coaches are being used by expat spouses all over the world. An expat coach will help you to rediscover your identity and find a new purpose in your relocation.
Focusing solely on you, and your individual situation, an expat coach can provide you with much-needed emotional support, as well as helping you to understand how to access the local community and culture in which you live. The friendly, knowing voice at the end of the phone that you so desperately need.
One thing to do is to get help from an expat coach and begin to move forward.
Listen to my webinar today: 5 steps to finding success and fulfillment from an expat life. Find out how I can help you to discover your purpose and find the joy that you need to make your expat life in Germany a success.
Do you agree? Have you got any great tips for self care as an expat wife? Or maybe you have a story to tell or network to share? Whatever your comment, we would love to hear from you. Leave your tips and stories below.
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