The often unmentioned casualties in the revolving door of expat life are neither coming nor going. They are staying. Those who remain also feel a great deal of pain and sadness. Perhaps less pronounced, expected or acknowledged than the pain of those who are leaving. But what can you actually do for yourself not to just survive these experiences but perhaps to thrive through them?
The past few years have seen more and more stressed out, burnt out, and struggling people turn to celebrities and psychologists for direction leading to record sales of self-help books. The cynics amongst us might groan internally at this news, although I suspect that many do not have a true understanding of what ‘self help’ constitutes or what it can offer. I myself prefer the term self curiosity or self reflection, rather than self help. It opens up my mind to possibilities rather than closing it down at the expectation of pop-psychology and quick, but short lived, “fixes”.
As a Clinical Psychologist running my own private practice, I have learned to thrive under stress. When I reflect on it, harnessing the innate pressure that comes alongside my role has undoubtedly improved my productivity, efficiency and ultimately my performance. As I say this however I am acutely aware of the fine line between using this pressure to my advantage and being engulfed by it. While short bursts of workplace stress can help us to prepare, focus and work more effectively, chronic stress can impact the quality of our work as well as our lives.
“If you win the morning, you win the day”- Tim Ferriss
6:15 a.m., the alarm on my phone begins to blink and life screeches into full colour once again to the soundtrack of Six Pence None The Richer. I stretch out a weary hand, press the snooze button, throw the duvet over my head trying to find my way back to dream land for the next eight minutes before I am rudely woken one again. Finally I pick up the phone, scroll through my messages, emails, news reels and my day begins. Sound familiar?
The first of January is a fresh start for many of us. Many of us find ourselves using the process of reflection, introspection and self examination to set ourselves goals and resolutions for the year ahead. It is a time where people flock to the gym, vowing to be “better”, “healthier” and “stronger” versions of themselves! But by the end of the month, the majority of us will have failed to keep to our resolution. Understanding what can help us to succeed might help us defy the odds.