Culture Shock is a tricky beast. No matter where you move, you are bound to experience a sprinkle or avalanche of culture shock. Moving is hard, and by hard, I mean, monumentally exhausting. I have seen gone through my fair share of culture shock, some lasted longer than others, but I have tricks, and tips. I have 5 ways I embrace and knock culture shock out quickly:
1.Exercise. Everyone has heard how great exercise is for your overall health, but how much did you know that it changes your mindset. Join a new gym, a new fitness class, a hiking group, a walking group – doesn’t matter what level of fitness, just join in on something. Meeting others, while doing something physical somehow breaks cultural barriers. Not only is it a great way to work off the extra calories you have been eating in your new environment, you can meet and learn a great deal about your new home. Just try it. Be a joiner.
2. Learn a new word everyday – Immersing ones self in a new language can be terrifying. I often keep a journal and a dictionary close by. Everyday, I find a word that intrigues me, I write it down, look it up, and memorize it. Doing this everyday makes the new language you are surrounded by, a little less scary, and less intimidating, one word everyday starts to add up.
3. Meditation – I am a big believer in finding gratitude and quiet moments to reflect. Moving into a new environment is overwhelming, intimidating and can make anyone anxious. Quiet reflection can really aid and override the feeling of being overwhelmed. Find new things to be grateful for everyday, makes you appreciate the cultural differences instead of finding ways to complain about them.
4, Taking a class- I have long believed that everyone should be a lifelong learner. Taking a class is not only humbling, but can also open up doors, shed light on culture, history and lead one down a path they never thought of. The biggest obstacle of culture shock is that feeling of everything being foreign and being completely and utterly afraid of it. Taking a class in another country makes one look at culture shock square in the face and give it the middle finger.
5. Opening your heart to an animal. O.K. I love animals, and yes, I grew up always having a 4 legged companion. My childhood dog was my best friend growing up. No matter where we moved, no matter how many tears I shed, our dog was always there to cuddle, lick my tears, and go for a walk to meet new people. Now, I have my own little schnauzer, she has moved to 3 different cities, she travels with us everywhere, has gone on hikes, parks and has opened up dialogue with the most unlikely of strangers. I love that she introduces me to new environments, makes me chat to new people, and because she has to go outside 3x a day, makes me leave the house 3x a day for a walk. It is a win win people.
Hope these suggestions help!