The festive season is in full swing and with 2018 quickly approaching, we begin to think about positive changes and new beginnings. Often these thoughts on how we can better ourselves by way of New Year Resolutions are centred around eating well, getting fit, limiting ourselves to just one glass of wine per evening out or saving money. These changes are difficult to achieve and statistics show that only about 8% of people actually keep their resolutions. New Years resolutions prove to be all the more important – and in most cases increasingly difficult to accomplish when living in a new country. Here are five practical New Years Resolutions for people living overseas.
The first people to make New Years resolutions were the ancient Babylonians about 4000 years ago. Their New Years began somewhere in March where they finished planting their crops and had a 12 day religious festival known as Akitu. They celebrated a new King or reaffirmed their loyalty for the reigning King and made promises to the Gods that they would return borrowed objects and pay back their debts. If they kept their word they would be blessed by the Gods but if not they would fall out of favour with the Gods and that was not a place anyone wanted to be. May you all be in favour with the Gods this year!
1. Explore the country you are now living in
As an international, it’s easy to forget to appreciate the touristy things that travellers love about where you live. Try to be a sightseer more then you are a local, it will help you see your host country in a new light. Plan a trip at least once a month to see historic landmarks, jump on the train to a place you have never been or go to a museum – getting to know where you live will help you appreciate it more. These trips will give you something to look forward to and should make you feel more at home.
2. Learn something new
Whether it is a cooking class on how to master traditional foods, lessons in the local language or even just studying some of the countries history – it is enjoyable to experience the culture in your new home. You will meet new people, learn a new skill and become more educated in how other people live. Appreciating this different way of life will give you a sense of belonging and you might not feel like such an outsider anymore.
3. Keep in touch with family and friends from around the world
Living overseas, far away from family and friends, it is easy to get caught up in everyday life and forget to communicate or remember when the last time you spoke was. With Facebook, Skype, Instagram, WhatsApp and Twitter it’s not hard to see what your loved ones are up to but it is still important to make contact with them anyway. Set up a bi-weekly (or monthly) Skype call when you know you’re free and mark it in your calendar. This is easier then trying to work out when you’re both free at different times during the year.
4. Get involved in community events or activities
For anyone who might be feeling philanthropic, one of the best ways to feel at home in a new place is to include yourself in community engagements. Support the local charity, volunteer or join an organisation – doing something for someone else will help you feel like you are more apart of the new place in which you live. There are organisations and charities all over the world that would love to have your help and friendship.
5. Try embrace all the different and exciting things that are apart of your new life
Instead of complaining about what you miss about your home or the last place you lived, try being grateful for the the experience and the unfamiliar ways of life. It is normal to make comparisons in traditions, religions, prices and of course the weather but if you have to compare, try to make them positive this year. Learn to love the rain in the Netherlands (that one’s for me) or the packed trains at peak hours – whatever it is that has made you miss your home in 2017, see if you can view it in a more favourable light. Accepting the way things are and where you are instead of fighting them will leave you feeling happier and more at ease in 2018!