The pandemic has fundamentally changed many aspects of our daily lives. The social and economic disruption occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic has been devastating. Many nations across the globe have been forced into various degrees of lockdown, and international flights have been severely limited, which has affected the lives of expats in inconceivable ways.
Millions of expats and business travellers are stuck overseas, alienated, and away from their loved ones during the pandemic. Dealing with social isolation in a foreign country without the comfort of the people who matter in your life is not easy. This article covers tips on how to cope with the stress, loneliness, homesickness, and uncertainty of being away from your loved ones during the pandemic.
Ways to Get Over Homesickness
Many expats are stuck in their host countries and probably in lockdown, struggling to cope with a very unfamiliar situation. You can go home for obvious reasons or even make friends due to social distancing restrictions.
This unusual situation is bound to get you worked up. Here are a few coping tips to help you deal with the negative emotions and get you through this challenging moment.
Stay In Touch With Friends and Family
As an expat, you need social and family support when stuck in faraway lands during a global pandemic.
Confinement and total social isolation are counterproductive and can negatively affect your mental health. Luckily, modern technology affords us plenty of ways to stay in touch with loved ones even when we are far apart.
Organize group video calls or Zoom parties with friends and colleagues. Use Skype, FaceTime, or WhatsApp to maintain contact with people who matter in your life during this global crisis.
You can even talk to your neighbors as long as you maintain social distance and wear a facemask. Keeping contact with loved ones back home is a great way to ward off homesickness.
Manage Your Stress
Stress and anxiety levels are very high during the pandemic, more so for expats stuck overseas and can’t see their loved ones.
You may feel sad, angry, frustrated, and scared during these uncertain times. All these overwhelming emotions, coupled with economic uncertainty — not to mention increased health concerns due to the raging pandemic — can take a toll on your mental health.
If you find that you are getting too worked up, there are several stress management methods you can practice to calm yourself down and improve your mental health. Research shows that yoga, meditation, and mindfulness exercises have a calming effect. You can attend free live yoga or meditation sessions online.
Many apps and YouTube videos are offering the same.
Cut Back Your News Consumption
Taking a break from the news can go a long way.
You will only end up feeling sad and helpless when you see all the deplorable stories about Covid-19 on the news. Staying away from these terrifying news stories is good for your mental health. In a digital world, social media is one of the biggest sources of information. And there’s a lot of negative Covid-19 news on social media, too.
Overexposure to negative news on social media and traditional mainstream media doesn’t help your situation. Try to avoid checking your social media timeline for updates on Covid-19 all the time.
You can switch on your TV to see what’s happening around the world now and then but avoid the temptation to stay glued on the news channels for hours.
Establish a Routine
The Covid-19 crisis is causing widespread global disruption and will have various implications for our personal lives.
As an expert stuck abroad due to the interruption of international travel, managing the enormous disruption to your daily life is one of the most challenging issues you’ll be dealing with during the pandemic. Introducing structure in your quarantine life can help you find some stability amid all the chaos.
Make a plan for each day and establish times for different tasks.
For instance, come up with a schedule for when to get up and out of bed, meal times, and bedtime. Establishing a structure will give you a sense of control and make long days spent in quarantine more manageable. According to experts, establishing a routine will also help you maintain your mental and physical health, especially when living in isolation in a foreign country.
Enjoy TV and Sports from Home with Family
You can connect with loved ones back home by watching TV programs and local sports together virtually.
You can even arrange virtual movie nights where you can watch your favorite family movies together. However, there is one enormous flaw with this plan. You see, streaming services such as Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, etc., offer varying content for different countries.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t watch sports and other local content with your friends and family when you are stuck overseas. You can install a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to circumvent geo-blocks and watch content anywhere in the world without any restrictions. A VPN allows you to conceal your real IP address and change your current location to your home country and watch local TV shows and sports.
You can also use a VPN to browse the web to ensure privacy and security online. In addition to masking your location, a VPN also encrypts your internet traffic. It offers a great way to keep hackers, snoopers, and anyone else looking to peek at your online activity away. Make sure that you connect to a VPN every time you browse the internet via public Wi-Fi networks.
The Covid-19 crisis has been around for a while now, but with vaccine rollout underway, there’s some light at the end of the tunnel. As an expat stuck overseas far away from your loved ones, you are probably angry, frustrated, and disoriented. Our hope is that you can find solace in the hope that things will be going back to normal (sort of) soon. In the meantime, follow the coping advice in this article to help make the situation a little tolerable.