Relocating to a new country is exciting and thrilling. It is a life full of new opportunities and adventures. But unfortunately, the inevitable ‘culture shock’ can stall this adventurous journey, leaving you feeling homesick and depressed. Nothing may seem intuitive, easy to understand and overall, you may find it hard to communicate effectively.
At MindAid we help you through this adjustment period firstly by giving you a safe and confidential space to express yourself freely. Help you navigate through your various concerns and emotional shocks. Slowly grow your comfort and confidence to get you back to exploring and welcoming new opportunities.
Trailing spouses, especially women, are expats who give up their career to support their partner’s careers. Although most trailing spouses view this relocation as an opportunity to reinvent themselves and lead a new life, even the most resilient of them all, sooner or later, are hit by ‘culture shock’.
For tailing spouses it is several folds of loss. Apart from the loss of their careers, loss of their social network and family support system, they also lose their self-identity. This may be worsened by the sudden financial dependency which usually leads to the feeling of worthlessness. If this is state of mind is not addressed promptly, it may lead to depression, lack of motivation and the interest to pursue anything.
In a new country, you become more aware of the cultural differences because they are different from your regular cultural norm. You may not literally be shocked, but this act of feeling disoriented, inability to understand, communicate and function effectively, by definition is culture shock.
Unfortunately, cultural shock is inevitable with any international relocation. But the good news is that it is situational and can be handled by proactively addressing the challenges, the feelings you may encounter and slowly minimising the difficulty of adjusting.
Many women derive their self-worth from their education or profession. Their job gives them their identity, self-esteem and financial independence. Therefore, the loss that comes with giving up one’s career is often insurmountable and overwhelming.
Unfortunately, if a trailing spouse does not receive the support and guidance she needs to reinvent herself, she may find herself living in will with resentment and regret. This could have adverse effects on her relationship with her partner and children.
Women deal with and solve many of their problems by sharing it with friends and family. An international move is seen as a major opportunity for the whole family and not “sticking it out” for the benefit of the family is seen as weakness.
Women also feel guilty to voice what they are going through instead of being the pillar of support for their family in this new environment. But with a little guidance and support they can re-invent themselves and live a fulfilling life.
At MindAid I work with expat women individually and in group sessions.
Private sessions work best when the problem or issue is more of a personal matter. When you want to bring about change in yourself or your relationship. When you want to reinvent yourself, to find purpose and self-worth. When you want to be heard and understood. Schedule a free session and experience the lightness of expressing your thoughts and feelings openly.
Group sessions are very beneficial to realise that you are not alone in this phase of your life. It also gives you an opportunity to learn how other women have navigated challenging situations. These sessions are a safe place for you to express your feelings and emotions uninhibitedly and receive understanding and empathy. Usually, the topics are generic yet specific to living in Switzerland- cultural shocks, psychological shock, loss of self and identity, loss of social connections, motherhood problems, relationship problems, etc.
Re-inventing oneself is all about rediscovering. It is probably the most empowering experience you would ever encounter. It will give you insight into your strengths and capabilities. It will highlight the areas that need attention and areas that need enhancing. It is a wonderful opportunity to choose to live a life you desire and have a focused plan how to get it. Find out what you enjoy doing and let’s get you doing it.
Re-inventing is like second birth, a second chance to live life as per what you want.
Success of a relationship heavily relies on you knowing what you need to feel secure, happy and content. Find out what is that you are not getting yourself first before trying to fix something in your partner. Relationships are built on each other’s strength, confidence and respect. Discover yourself and you will rediscover the spark in your relationship.
As a trailing partner you may not find the job you are looking for. Even when sometimes you are ready to take up anything available you simply may be over qualified. Look at this phase of your life as an opportunity in disguise. It is probably the right time to do something on your own.
If, this is the case and you think you have an idea you would like to explore, discuss its viability and sustainability, let’s talk. Sometimes an idea may just be good as an idea but sometimes it may be the next best thing everyone is looking for. It is difficult for a friend or a spouse not to show you support or think an idea is not worth your education or expertise. But this is your chance to break the mould and pursue something you always wanted to do.
Exploring an idea is like candy for your brains. It gets excited and rejuvenated. Take the time to enjoy the exploration process, it will prove to be refreshing and worth it someway or another, always. It may lead you down a path you never thought possible.
Motherhood is beautiful but hard. As a women you may have given up your career/ job to raise kids, though it was a decision made consciously, you did not realise how it would feel when you got there. No one introduces you motherhood, it just happens. For expat women it is a step harder, who are here in this country without any social support. They have to heavily rely on strangers, to care for their kids if they cannot do it themselves. can Losing your independence and identity can be overwhelming for many women who had enjoyed working. Women are known to have depression spells due to hormonal changes but the depression that one experiences due to lack of self-worth hits at the core – “who am I and what is my value?”.
To help women go through this phase with pride, confidence and happiness, she needs support and guidance. Support that everyone is in it together and guidance to find herself and find value in her life.
Like many natural occurrences midlife crisis is not in your control. It just springs on you one day and poses questions that cannot be answered easily without cringing at several wrong decisions and turns you may have taken. But it is a natural way for your mind and body to prepare you for the rest of your life. It is your body’s way of telling you to stop and analyse your past to live the best future you possible can.
But the questions that it raises are daunting and very depressing. It forces you to look back on your youth and analyse your achievements and failures. So, when you get to you late 30s and you have begun to ask yourself some very tough questions, let’s talk. It is the right time to analyse your past and change your future.