In the midst of a global pandemic, most of us are trying to find our equilibrium in the “new normal.” Working remotely, possible job loss, social distancing, sheltering in place and conflicting news headlines are enough to rattle the most level-headed among us. But what if you are an expat, just getting settled in your new country? It’s currently a very disorienting time for anyone, even more so if you’re in another country and happen to be in the midst of a widespread health crisis with many lingering unknowns.

First, Remember This Too Shall Pass

The world is not ending, though to watch the news you couldn’t be blamed for believing it was (and for your nervous systems responding as though it was!). Consider a break from the news for 48 hours. Of course it’s good to be informed but more information isn’t always better.

Stay in Touch

Zoom, Skype, FaceTime…while they don’t replace in-person visits and touch, they are a close second, and many of them are free and very user friendly. Many people are hosting happy hours over these technologies, movie watch parties and even cooking and eating dinner together. Virtual meetings are also good fill-ins for connecting with co-workers when you are used to going into the office. Check out our previous round-up of the best ways to stay connected as an expat. 

Make a List of What You can Control

Right now a lot of things are beyond our control: the virus itself, statewide restrictions, the stock market, clients, stores, product availability, travel restriction. If you’re an expat, things like cultural norms, different weather than you’re used to and unusual cuisine may also be on your list. Whew, that’s a lot! Try jotting down what you can control and put your focus on those. Don’t disregard actions that seem subtle and obvious, like regularly showering and washing your hair! The little acts of consistent self-care build on one another and reinforce the belief that this time of restriction is only temporary.

Keep a Routine

Piggybacking on the tip above, routine is your friend in times like these.
If you suddenly have a lot of unstructured time and you are cooped up in your apartment or house, try making a “time plan” for each day and sketch out where your time will go. Consistency is good, too, so if you can, wake up and go to bed at the same time everyday.

Make a Gratitude List

Yes, we know this piece of advice is widespread, but it really works. You can try writing down 30 things you’re grateful for over 30 days, (maybe some of these benefits of expat life can inspire you!) and you may be surprised at the positive shift you feel internally as a result. A friend and I text each other one thing we are grateful for each day. It helps with perspective and not focusing too much on aspects of the future that we can’t control today.

Work on your Language Skills

If you find yourself with an abundance of free time, what better way to work on it than sharpening your language skills? A friend of mine tutors in a school where many of the kids speak Spanish. She’s currently out of work until school resumes and is using the down time to strengthen her Spanish-speaking skills.

Fluency Corp can help your employees and their families assimilate to their country, city and neighborhood through private English lessons (or other languages) in home, in office or online. We transform communication with employees and their families so the success of international relocations are greatly increased. For a free consultation, contact us at or (800) 401-3159.