stress Archive - Anja Angeli

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How to survive as an expat partner in Germany

If you have recently moved to Germany as an expat partner, you may well be wondering how exactly you do this. How do you survive as an expat partner in a new country? You can't speak the language well, you haven't got any friends or a job – how are you supposed to enjoy this experience? Being an expat partner is challenging, but there are some things that you can do to make things easier. Here’s a quick guide to how to survive, then thrive, as an expat partner. 

Take a trip outside

Getting out and about every day will require some effort, but you need to do it. Some days it might just be for a run or a coffee, on others you might want to do something more exciting, like taking in a few sites whilst the children at school. Germany has lots of wonderful things to see and do.

It doesn't need to cost anything either, lots of attractions like museums are free on certain days during the week. Make it into a little challenge for yourself, see how many discounts you can find and use for visits, food, coffee shops and local events. Bike shops have lots of useful maps with activities like beer gardens marked on them – perfect for a sunny day! 

Hop on a different train or bus – and see where it takes you. If you are going for a run or a walk, try out a new route each time and discover more about your local area. Not only will you entertain yourself and learn more about your new home town, you will also have some great ways to occupy the family during the weekends and school holidays. Look out for local voluntary groups where you can offer your services on a regular basis. Or ask if they need any help at your children's school.

Allow yourself little treats on your jaunts, a delicious-looking cake, a movie or a local concert. Don't feel that you shouldn't have anything special because you are not yet working. Getting active outside is also great for your wellbeing, the exercise and fresh air will keep your mind and body healthy and rejuvenated. 

Build connections 

Although it is now harder to connect with people, you will be really glad that you made the extra effort once you find other people nearby that you can relate to. There are many new ways to meet others as an expat partner in Germany. 

InterNations.org and Meetup are two of the best websites for online expat partners. Facebook also has some brilliant groups for trailing spouses.

Keep in touch with friends and family back home too, it might be a little tough to say goodbye at first, but it will get easier. Be honest with them – they don't expect you to be superhuman and have it all together! 

As you begin to build new friendships, don't be shy about asking people if they want to arrange to meet and be courageous in taking up offers from others in return. Allow for little nuances as you converse with others, there may be gestures or words that sound odd, or even rude, due to language differences.

Open to opportunities

It may take a little research, but there are opportunities open to you. You may find that your partner's organization offers financial assistance for you to get coaching specially created for expat partners, or to enroll on professional development courses. 

This moment in time is also a great point to reflect on your own personal growth. To consider what you want next out of life and how you are going to get there. You may find it particularly powerful to get support from a specialist coach for accompanying partners.

Get physical 

Join a gym or a sports club – take up hiking or biking which are particularly popular in Germany. The physical activity will help to keep your mind and body rejuvenated and refreshed. It is also a wonderful way to meet new people and add some shape to your day.

Switch things up and add an extra layer of interest, by trying out a new sport or class at the gym. Of course, you can always release some of that frustration whilst you are working out too.

Talk

Talking during this time will really help you. Do talk to your partner honestly about how you feel, allow them space to talk too. Let each other know about challenges and worries, as well as the funny moments that only the both of you will understand.

Make, regular dedicated times when you can spend quality time together, maybe during the weekend, when things are less busy.

Keep up to date with developments in your partner's career, then you can have something fresh to talk about too.

For yourself, you may find it helps to keep a journal where you can openly express yourself each day. Record your thoughts, feelings, habit and mood. You may even notice things that trigger strong feelings that you can use to improve your experience.  

Keep it fresh

To keep things interesting, make it your mission to embrace the new. Try a class, cook a German meal, take a course, start a group of your own, learn some German, find a new hobby – do something different. Make it into a series of daily challenges, such as today I will cycle four miles or today I will learn the German for ten items on my shopping list.

Whatever you do – get up, out and exploring all that Germany has to offer. 

Find out more about my expat coaching and learn how I can help you to rediscover your identity and find a new purpose in your relocation. Make your move to Germany a success today.

Do you agree? Have you got any great tips for moving as an expat wife? Share your comments with us, we would love to hear from you. Leave your tips and stories below.

Join my FB Group

"Expat Joy and Success in Germany"

a fabulous community - where you will meet like-minded people, exchange experiences and get valuable information and tips.

Why your planning for 2019 should be inspired by butterflies

New year, new plans. Whether you make New Year's resolutions, set some firm goals or make detailed plans, a new year is a fresh start for everyone. This year, before you make any decisions, take inspiration from butterflies. Butterflies you ask? Butterflies hold the key to creating New Year's resolutions, plans or goals that succeed. Here's why your planning for 2019 should be inspired by butterflies: 


After watching a beautiful, new butterfly struggle to leaves its cocoon, Jim decided to give it a hand. After widening the opening for the butterfly, he was startled to see that the butterfly could not hold itself up properly. 

As the butterfly attempted to take flight for the first time, it fluttered, but could not gather enough momentum to fly away. The poor butterfly tried again and again, but did not have the strength to flutter up and away from the cocoon.

When Jim told his friend what had happened, his friend admonished him. Jim's friend explained that by helping the butterfly, he had interfered with the final stage in the butterfly's natural process of transformation.

You see, as the butterfly pushes its way out of the tiny gap in the cocoon, bit by bit, its wings are pushed out of its new body and readied for flight. In attempting to prevent the butterfly from getting hurt, Jim had interrupted an important, natural process of metamorphosis. Unwittingly, he had prevented the formation of something special under extreme pressure.

When we look at nature, again and again, we see that from intense pressure come beautiful, precious, valuable things.

As we journey through life, the tough times, the painful moments, are the bits that we want to skip. If we have children, they are the parts of their life that we want to help them avoid.

However, it is through adversity and challenging times that we are shaped. The tough times are where we grow and build character as our most authentic self comes to the fore. We may not enjoy the tough times and they may seem like a hindrance, but in fact, they are vital to our growth.

When we think about what we truly want for 2019, our dreams may seem far-fetched. They may appear unrealistic when you look at where you are now, but the good thing about goal-setting is that once you have voiced an idea, it immediately becomes a reality, a real possibility.

The mind is a powerful thing. With your goal spoken into life, you have direction. As the ideas begin to flow, you can start to join the dots to that will bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to go.

This is why, whether it is a resolution, a goal or a plan, we all have a desire to achieve something new when we think about a fresh, new year ahead. Fresh goals or decisions give us  a clear direction in which to move forward and evolve. Without New Year's resolutions we will have a year no different to the one that we had before, causing us to stay stagnant, stuck in time. For many of us, that means repeating mistakes, continuing things that bring no satisfaction and living without true joy.

How to make New Year's resolutions that succeed:

That is why your plans for the new year, should be big, different and fresh. Be bold and step out of your comfort zone – let yourself grow and flourish. The bigger and more exciting the outcome, the more motivation you have to achieve it.

Here are the two key ingredients for making resolutions that stick:

Dream big: 

Don't set goals that are easy, dream big. Take off the limits, reach deep inside and ask yourself what you really want. Now, make plans for next year that are way out of your comfort zone. 

To achieve your goal, start from where you are now, and plan the actions that you will take at different intervals over the yea. In this way, before the end of the year, your goal will be your reality. Don’t forget to check that every step, as well as your final goal is specific, realistic and achievable, so that they really do happen. 

No matter what: 

Commit to putting your plan into action immediately, no matter what. Putting off getting started, is the easiest way to prevent your goal ever being achieved.

Whatever you plan for the new year, make it bold and exciting. Most importantly, remember that pressure is a necessary stage in your growth that will shift you up and on to the next stage in your life.

 If you want to find out more about dealing with challenging times or achieving your goals, watch my free online course or book a free coaching session with me. I am an experienced expat partner coach, so I would be delighted to help you transform challenges and difficulties into life-changing, transformative growth. 

Have you set goals for 2019 already? What are you planning? Share your goals with us, we would love to hear from you. 

Join my FB Group

"Expat Joy and Success in Germany"

a fabulous community - where you will meet like-minded people, exchange experiences and get valuable information and tips.

7 great tips to make moving less stressful

Moving is exciting but it can also be one of the most strenuous things you do in life. When you are an expat partner moving to Germany, the stress of a move can feel overwhelming. With your partner busy at work, it can feel that you are left to deal with the complexities of relocating to Germany on your own.

Additionally, you are worried about how the children will cope and what you will do as an expat partner in Germany, running constantly through your mind. Then there is the time. How will you manage to get everything done in time?

All of the responsibility for your family’s move has fallen to you and it feels very stressful. However, there are things that you can do to make your move to Germany as an expat cause you less anxiety.

Having moved myself with and without family, nationally and internationally, I have found it strenous every time, no matter how prepared I was. Over time I have learned a few simple key strategies to make it less of a hurdle that I would like to share with you today.

Share the load:

Although it may seem easier, don't try to do everything yourself. Do ask for help. Relocating is a complex process and you cannot expect to do it all on your own. It is important that you tell others that you need help. Nobody will notice that you're actually walking on your last legs because everything just grows over your head. And so no one can offer you their help. You have to communicate so that others have the opportunity to help you. Another way are online resources like Task Rabbit or Craigslist in the US to search for people who can help you pack and move, or myhammer.de or betreut.de in Germany.

Celebrate Goodbyes: 

Do make quality time to say goodbye properly to your friends and family. It will feel very different when they are a long distance away. Make memories that you can take with you, such as photos and mementoes that will bring you comfort when things get tough. You can go out for a final dinner or evening out with friends before moving. Making an event out of your last time out on the town can be a good way to cap off your time where you lived. When you’re saying goodbye to friends, it’s important to tell them how and why you valued them. Even if you promise to stay in touch, you’ll want tell your friends how important they are to you before moving.

Communicate:

Do share how you feel with others. Do allow yourself to mourn your losses, complain and share your anxieties. Don't feel that you have to keep quiet about your feelings - your feelings are important. Attend to your emotional needs. Even if the reasons for your move are positive ones, feelings of sadness and anxiety can arise. Don’t discount how difficult moving can be, but instead take it into account when planning your move.

Look after yourself:

It is surprising to know that the family member who is most affected by a relocation is you, the expat wife. You may find it difficult to sleep, feel an intense loneliness, feel isolated, have lost your appetite and more. Don’t be so busy looking after everyone else that you forget to take care of yourself. You are the person who gets the least support. A notoriously difficult situation to deal with many expats today use the support an expat coach.
Focusing solely on you, and your individual situation, an expat coach will provide you with the crucial emotional support that you will need as an expat wife in Germany.  Additionally, they will help you with many more aspects of your daily life, to understand how to access the local community and culture in which you live, as well as many more.

Reframe the situation:

With Reframing we choose, as the name suggests, a new framework for a situation. Just as a frame can either underline or destroy the effect of an image, so our perspective on a situation can also influence it positively or negatively. Sometimes the situation is no longer perceived as threatening and does not cause any stress at all.

In this way one can reinterpret many typical stress situations abroad. If the furniture comes too late during the move, the electricity doesn't work in the new house or you cannot communicate with the workers, you can either lose your nerve. But you can also try to look at the situation from a distance and think: "How will we laugh about this chaos in 2 months' time? Reframing also works when there is stress due to cultural differences. By learning about the host culture and understanding its backgrounds, we recognize that "inappropriate" behaviors still make sense through the eyes of the other culture. Anger or cultural insecurity, i.e. stress, then disappears into thin air.

Encourage your children to express themselves:

If you have children, they should know their feelings are normal. Especially since they are young, children need to be able to feel and process their emotions. Ask your children how they feel about the move. Involving them in the moving process, if not the moving decision, can make them feel more invested in moving. If you have children in the tweens or teens, make sure there is something each day for them to do. You can do things like going for a walk, swimming, or seeing a movie. 

Practice self-compassion: 

Realize that this is a hard time. You are going through a log of emotional and existential changes. Know that you are doing the best you can. Know that you are not alone. Be kind to yourself. You are important to this move. Take your time to watch my webinar 5 steps to finding success and fulfillment from an expat life and see how you can create a happy and meaningful expat life in Germany. 

It has been widely proven that your happiness in Germany, as an expat wife, is the biggest factor in the success of your family’s new life as expats to Germany, so don’t ignore your feelings.

Find out more about my expat coaching and learn how I can help you to rediscover your identity and find a new purpose in your relocation. Make your move to Germany a success today.

Do you agree? Have you got any great tips for moving as an expat wife? Share your comments with us, we would love to hear from you. Leave your tips and stories below.

Join my FB Group

"Expat Joy and Success in Germany"

a fabulous community - where you will meet like-minded people, exchange experiences and get valuable information and tips.