Celebrating Cultures, Promoting Integration
Picture this: you’ve just arrived in your new home country. You’re in a brand new apartment or house in a brand new city, you don’t know anyone, and you are surrounded by boxes and luggage. That sounds overwhelming and, frankly, stressful. So, here are 5 ways to de-stress after moving to a new country.
De-stress with a nice walk
Now, exercise may be the last thing on your mind after a strenuous move, but it may just be the very thing your mind needs.
For one thing, walking produces endorphins. These are chemicals that are produced by our body that can alleviate feelings of stress and pain. Because of this, walking has even been compared to meditation when it comes to ways to destress and even relieve symptoms of depression. So, a quick walk will certainly brighten your mood after the ordeal of immigrating
On top of that, there are all the physical health benefits that come with walking. And I am not just referring to the great exercise it provides. Sure, it can burn off some pesky calories and tone some leg muscles. But, did you know that walking can even strengthen your heart and help with joint pain? Patients who suffer from arthritis are even encouraged by medical professionals to take short walks. Now, you may not have arthritis, but you’ll definitely have some stiff joints after carting around all your luggage.
Finally, a walk will help you familiarise yourself with your new environment. One of the scariest things about moving is not knowing your surroundings. So take the chance to stroll around your new town a bit. See where your nearest local grocers are situated, explore the parks and recreational centres, and find some good pubs and restaurants.
Food is good for the soul
Speaking of restaurants, you’re probably starving after all the travelling and after your relaxing walk. Feeling hungry can put one in a foul temper, which can just increase your stress levels even more. The only logical conclusion would be to grab some good old comfort food.
Though, you’re probably thinking: “But I don’t know my way around. How on earth am I going to find a nice place to grab a bite?” Not to worry, it’s as simple as hopping on Google Maps and clicking on “restaurants”. Google will then give you a list of restaurants in your surrounding area. Then, all you need is to choose one that catches your eye and make the hard choice of dining-in or getting take-out.
Now, it is true that comfort eating is not always necessarily healthy, especially in excess. Certain foods can actually drain your energy; anything with grease and oil tends to do this. Not to mention that binge-eating every time you feel stressed can lead to severe weight gain.
Fortunately, there are actually specific foods that are healthy and have the added bonus of relieving stress. Fish, nuts, fruit, eggs, and even yogurt are examples of foods that can help improve any symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Let’s get to unpacking
Yes, this may seem like the very task that is actually causing part of the stress after a move. But, in all honesty, ticking it off your long to-do list will actually be quite comforting. In fact, getting tasks done actually gives our brains a release of dopamine. It makes us feel good, knowing that we’ve actually accomplished something in a day.
Also, you probably want to enjoy your new home. You might want to celebrate your move or relax in a nice bath (a nice little bonus tip for de-stressing), and how can you do this with the thought of unpacking looming over you. Rather get it done as soon as possible so that you can actually enjoy your relaxation time.
Not to mention the fact that unpacking will mean that you can quickly get back into a routine. You’ll be able to wake up the next day and get on with your daily duties without having to claw through bags and boxes just to find your stuff. You’ll be able to give every one of your objects a place of your choosing and soon the new house will start to feel like your home.
Using hobbies to de-stress
Well, now that you’ve unpacked, it should be easy to find that sketchpad or chessboard. Hobbies help us alleviate feelings of stress because they are activities with a purpose. When you are busy with a hobby, you are usually improving a skill, keeping your brain active, and having fun. Often, it is good to just take a break and escape from all the pressures of daily life. This is especially the case when dealing with extremely stressful scenarios.
Keeping busy also helps keep our minds off of stressful thoughts or scenarios, allowing for a momentary escape. And the added bonus is that you usually feel accomplished afterward, like if you finally finish knitting that scarf or complete that difficult level in a video game.
Additionally, our hobbies are often picked up in childhood, becoming a part of our lives. This added nostalgia can bring forth a sense of calm and remind us of more peaceful times in our youth. When you’re in a strange new place, it can be comforting to have something familiar and trusted to turn back to, even if it’s just for a few moments.
Pick up the phone
Though, if you really are seeking true comfort, perhaps it’s time to pick up the phone and call someone you know and trust. You’re in the middle of a scary transition and there is no shame in that “I want mommy” instinct kicking in.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be your mom, specifically. It can be absolutely anyone that has supported you in the past, and makes you feel safe and loved. This can be a family member, friend, significant other, or even a mentor.
Socialisation has been proven to increase our levels of oxytocin, which can help with decreasing our anxiety levels. But, you just moved, so you may not have a support system close by. However, there’s no need to heighten your stress even further by trying to make new friends on your first day. Especially not when your old support system is a simple dial away. Nothing is more heart-warming than hearing a friendly voice amidst the overwhelming chaos of life.
So, if you’re busy moving or even if you’re just feeling like your stress levels are unusually high, try to keep these 5 tips in mind. They might just be the very thing that gets you through a big change.
Have you moved to a new country recently? Do you have your own unique ways of dealing with stress? Why not tell us in the comments?