Monday, February 7, 2011

Life's Rigors: How to Cope

Mr. Ota loves to play near my computer.
He is one source of relaxation with his funny
antics and cute ways.

Hi Everyone,
There are days when you wish you could be in two places at one time, even when living on the same continent as your family. This feeling becomes much stronger once you have moved overseas and problems develop with your kids and other family members back home. Inevitably, when there is a problem on one side of the ocean, another very pressing problem will develop on your side of the ocean, too. This has to be one of Murphy’s Law’s. Expats at times walk a tightrope in trying to balance relations and problems on two sides of the world. Just how do you manage to remain sane when Life becomes "interesting?"

Ways to Cope When Life “Interesting”Take Care of Yourself

First and foremost, it’s important to take care of yourself. Get lots of rest, relax when possible, eat a healthy diet and do something you enjoy. You can’t tackle any problem, on either side of the ocean, unless you’re feeling healthy and balanced. Next, you need to find some constructive outlet for the stress that builds up when you are dealing with an intense situation or problem. Any type of exercise you enjoy will help to release stress and pent-up energy. Walking, bicycling, swimming—any exercise that gets you to move—do it. Exercise will also be a way to gain a little distance from the problem. This kind of mental break is essential in helping you to cope. Coming back refreshed after a brisk walk will do wonders for your mindset and help you to face the situation head on.

Don’t forget to do something you enjoy. Sometimes we don’t have time to indulge in our favorite hobbies or activities. However, you can carry a book with you for those few spare moments that come with commuting. You might also carry your favorite music on an MP3 player to listen to during breaks at work, during lunch or your commute. You can also play with your pets. Use even those short moments as a way to care for yourself and take a break to give your mind mini vacation and rest.

Seek Support

A support network, be it virtual or real, is also important in dealing with stressful situations. Real-life friends can be a wonderful source of support during times of stress. Along with real-life friends, you can also develop a network of online friends who can be just as supportive and helpful for you. Many people believe they can live isolated from the world. Sure, there are a few who can manage to live successfully alone and disconnected from the rest of humanity. However, most of us need and want to be connected to others. So, be sure to connect with friends—they might be able to help in some way, but can also be a source of solace and rest from the stress you have to face.

There are many ways to connect with family and friends these days. If you don’t have time for a long visit, then suggest making a lunch date together, or supper one evening. Just get together when you can. Or use some electronic means of getting together. There are so many ways to connect virtually with family and friends these days. You can use your smart phone, tablet, netbook, and even some MP3 players or handheld game devices to use Skype, Gtalk and more to connect with others. Along with Skype, you can also connect on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and MySpace. Find and utilize any means you can to connect with your friends and family—you could do it the old-fashioned way and just make a phone call. Find what works for you and your situation, and then do it.

Prayer and Meditation
An additional source of support, for many people, is to turn to spirituality and religion for guidance, solace and strength. Humans have three aspects—physical, mental and spiritual. In order for a person to be healthy and happy all three of these aspects must be in balance. If your spirit is hurting, then the body and mental state can also be affected. All three are tied together, and all three must be ministered to in order for us to manage stress, and be happy and healthy. If you are a believer, turn to your faith for help. Prayer and meditation can do wonders to soothe your soul, mind and body. Again, this is important in order to remain strong and able to cope with the problems at hand.

Be sure to seek out professional help if you are still feeling overwhelmed by the troubles you're facing.  There is no shame in seeking out professional care.  A certified therapist or counselor can be very helpful in helping you to find solutions to the stress.  Don't hesitate to seek professional help to take care of yourself.

These are only a few suggestions to help you cope with whatever may be going on in your life. These suggestions apply not only to expats, but to anyone. Keeping our body, mind and spirit in balance is important to health and happiness, while also strengthening us to face the stresses that assail us every day. So, the next time you face a problem, and are feeling overwhelmed, take a walk, go for a drive, practice prayer and meditation and reach out to your friends and family for support. You’ll feel much better and will be strong enough to take on whatever you’re facing. Go for it!

Have a great day!

God bless,
Sher :0)

Image credit:  Sher Vacik
(c) 2011 by Sher Vacik.  All rights reserved.

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