Here it is again. The re-entry blues. I wrote about this phenomenon back in March and now I’m dealing with it again. Every. Single. Time. I come back from Germany it seems to get me.
And the re-entry blues can be very sneaky. In my recent post about things you should keep in mind visiting your home country I mentioned all these great plans to avoid the re-entry blues. I planned projects I want to start with, I met friends and drank wine in the sunshine, I got back into my workout routine and I went back to school shopping with my girls. But still, you are tired, jet lagged, you suffer from a lack of motivation and energy and you need to ADJUST. Because you just left one country and in very little time, landed in another one. In my case these are two very different worlds. You’d think USA and Germany, two western, industrialized countries, what could be so different? The people, people. It’s the people. They are so different, it astonishes me every time. And this will apply for most of other countries in the same way.
But I’ve improved over the years. I can deal with this depression-like feeling much better now. There are tools that can help you get through it.
- In my original post I said to make a list about all the things that are right about your life abroad and that you can appreciate.
But there are some other things you can try as well:
- Get the rest you need and take enough time to adjust. A few days of artificial hibernation are totally ok. You probably just flew half around the globe, lots of you hauling along some miniature people. It’s exhausting.
- Go to the grocery store and get the food that you really like or you ONLY can get in the place you live right now. (In California: Go get Sushi!)
- Expand your circle of friends. It’s always good to meet new people. It will give you new perspective and right after summer you might be able to share your experiences with other people that just came back from visiting home.
- De-clutter, donate or do something good. That’ll cheer anyone up.
It’s good to get back into your daily routine and to love where you are now, but I think it’s also important to process your visit back home.
- Sit down and write about your stay back home. You don’t have to write a full paragraph. Just take notes that come to your mind first thing.
- What was the best part? What did you like and why?
- What was the worst experience? What was difficult and why?
- Who disappointed you?
- What were the best reunions?
- After you’re done with that, let it sit for a while. Then you take some brief ideas for your next future stay in your home country. That’s my advice because I tend to forget all the stuff that stressed me out visiting Germany and I will draw a beautiful, rosy picture of the time. Scientifically people tend to remember negative events more than positive ones, but our brain also has some strategies to erase bad memories pretty quickly, because it’s easier to not deal with the negative ones. So, in order to improve your next trip home, it will help you to write down things you really WANT to do and stuff you absolutely NOT want to do.
- Share pictures of your adventures with friends and family back home and in your host country. Share your stories with all the people in your life and realize how special this bi-cultural life actually is.
- Make a plan how to keep in touch with the people you will miss the most. Try to implement little things like writing a postcard to one of your loved ones. Set up a WhatsApp group with your best friends back home. We text so much each day, it’s easy to send a couple more messages.
- Do not be dejected and don’t give up. This re-entry blues won’t last forever. You’ll get through it, stronger than you were before.
picture on top © nationsonline.org