Job relocation? How to conquer culture shock. (Part III)

In the final post of my series on adapting to a new cultural environment, I’m sharing some of my favorite strategies for success. So, let’s get right into it!

  1. First and foremost, understand that you’re completely normal! Remember in the first post where I told you that “culture shock” is not something strange and mysterious, but rather, something that virtually everyone who relocates will experience? I know when you’re feeling distressed and uncomfortable that this can be very challenging to accept, but you need to give yourself permission (and time!) to adjust and adapt.
  2. Be kind to yourself. I’ve talked a lot before about the benefits of being gentle and patient with yourself. This couldn’t be more true thanID-10047732 when you’re adapting to a new environment. After all, it can be difficult to adjust to a new environment whether you’ve just relocated to a new office in your own country or you’ve found yourself in completely foreign surroundings in a new region. Take excellent care of yourself by putting your needs first and of course, practicing healthy habits like eating well, getting enough rest, and engaging in physical activity.
  3. Do your research. If possible, it’s a great idea to prepare yourself in advance by learning about your new location. Today, information is just a click or a tap away, allowing you to study the culture, the climate, and even the language (if it’s different from your native language). Find out about transportation, as well as any special documents you may need like legal or health papers. Making this effort can take a lot of the ambiguity out of your move by empowering you with what you need to know ahead of time.
  4. Build – and use – your support network. The type of personal and professional support you have can greatly impact how successful your relocation will be. Most people understandably miss family and friends when they move, but the era of social media has made it easier than ever to stay in touch. You’ll also want to make sure to build a network of supportive people who have experience in relocations. Connect with others who live (or have lived) in the area. A supportive life or business coach can also one of your best allies. When you feel like someone understands what you’re going through, it can make all the difference in the world. Just don’t forget to reach out when you need support!
  5. Be present to what is. When we relocate, it’s easy to experience a sense of nostalgia for everything that “was”. However, it’s in your best interest to be present to what “is” – not what “was”. It’s absolutely fine – and totally natural – to miss your home and reminisce about the way things were. But if you want to set yourself up for success, there’s no better place for you than in the present. Consider giving the practice of mindfulness a try – it can help you feel more balanced and may even help you in achieving your goals and sharpening your leadership skills.
  6. Have an honest conversation with those closest to you. This might be a spouse, partner, your kids… Why? If you’ve read my other post, you know that the inability of a spouse or family member to adapt to a relocation can be a major factor in a failed assignment. Take the time before you relocate to engage in an open, frank dialogue with the person or persons closest to you to get everything out on the table so you – and they – know where everything stands.

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