When you move halfway around the world, you’re bound to be stressed. Don’t let stress ruin the great opportunities that you are about to experience. Here are five ways to help reduce your stress level.
Keep An Open Mind
When you arrive in China, you will experience many cultural differences. It takes a while to adapt to a new a culture and over time assimilation will occur. If you keep an open mind and embrace new experiences, you will find your time in China very enjoyable. Try to focus on the positives of your day and don’t hyper focus on any negatives experiences you have in your daily encounters. It’s very easy to get in a negative spiral especially with the initial culture shock and home sickness you may experience. Try to use the negative experiences as motivation to grow and learn about this amazing culture.
Create A Routine
Creating a routine and sticking to it will reduce your stress greatly. If you find yourself overwhelmed with transportation, language, food or living accommodations you are not alone. These are key stressors for everyone when they arrive in China. Using your routine to create normalcy in everyday life will ease the stress you feel and help you adapt to a new life in China. It’s the little things in life that make the biggest difference, like a morning coffee or breakfast on your way to work that will help you start the day right and give you a positive attitude to tackle your work load.
Turn Obstacles Into Goals
For most foreigners, the language barrier will make the simplest tasks seem like huge obstacles. Have you ever tried to explain how you want your hair cut, or given directions to a taxi driver in a foreign country? These obstacles will seem scary and frustrating at first, but don’t let them stress you out. Use these obstacles as a motivator for learning the new language. When you can describe the perfect hair cut in Mandarin you will feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment, even if it’s normally the simplest task. The goals you set will help you build a foundation of knowledge and strengthen your confidence as you work through each obstacle.
Take A Deep Breath
Sometimes you have a bad day, you miss the train, and your roommate ate all the food in the apartment. When you have a combination of stressors eating at your usually calm demeanor, it will make you want to pull your hair out. Take a step back, a few deep breaths and count to ten. Although this seems like a simple task, it will help you redirect your frustration and allow you to make a more meaningful reaction to any situation. Sometimes breathing is the best technique to finding clarity in a stressful environment.
You work hard all week, deal with deadlines, and put up with difficult people on a daily basis. Now it’s time to relax and reward yourself. There are many ways to give yourself a pat on the back, but the best way is to do something you enjoy. Whether it’s a cold beverage at the end of a long day, some ice cream to cool off, or a feast fit for a king, you can find something to make you happy. Please don’t forget to indulge yourself with hobbies, activities, and relaxation too. Remember, you deserve it!
Are you ready to put these tips to the test?
Teach English, travel and work abroad with EF English First
Keith is originally from the panhandle of Florida. He is a communication nut, foodie, and travel enthusiast. When Keith is not teaching, you can find him exploring Shanghai with his wife and daughter.