Coping with the various stages of culture shock is easier when you have the right tools.
As we discussed in the previous blog ‘Why do I feel like this?’ the best way to prevent and cope with the stress of culture shock is by being informed of what the symptoms are and how to deal with them. Here are some tips to make yourself feel more comfortable in your new home, alleviating some of the stresses associated with relocation. The first and most important step is admitting that you are experiencing the symptoms of culture shock. By acknowledging this you will be able to work toward improving the situation.
To feel connected to your new life take some time to learn about your surroundings. Educate yourself on local customs, culture, and people. Make sure you learn the language! This will make daily communication easier and can help when you’re trying to communicate with a potential social network. Make friends and develop relationships with locals. Developing a social network will help you overcome feelings of isolation and loneliness. Your new friends can also teach you about Canadian culture. Who better to learn about local culture than a local? When you move take the time to travel. Seeing local tourist attractions, venturing to nearby areas and experiencing as much as you can will help you feel connected to your new home.
However, you don’t have to forget about your previous life! Do something that reminds you of ‘home.’ That may be listening to music, cooking up a favorite meal, or practicing a familiar hobby or sport. Don’t forget about your friends and family back home. They can be a great outlet to vent and express your feelings. We live in the technological age; there are endless sources of communication that are quick, easy and inexpensive! E-mail, Facebook, and Skype are wonderful communication tools. If you can work around the time difference schedule a Skype video chat with friends or family from home, so you can not only talk to your loved ones but actually see them. During my relocations I found that sending postcards was always a welcome activity. I would set out on a specific shopping trip to pick out the perfect postcards. Choosing images that represented my new life and writing a short statement about what I was enjoying at my new home, let my family and friends in on a small piece of my new life. Typically I would also pick up a few postcards for my own collection! I can also say having been on the receiving end of a postcard, it always bring a smile to my face. Receiving something in the mail that isn’t a bill is usually met with a warm reception. Your loved ones will appreciate the effort and you will enjoy the process.