By March 7, 2011 1 Comments Read More →

Moms: Be self-compassionate

It isn’t easy parenting a child and as an expat it’s even more difficult. But it is incredibly important that we take care of ourselves, especially since we are so far from “home.” Recently, a lot of research has pointed out that if we are kind to ourselves, we take better care of ourselves and are better to others. In fact, when we give ourselves permission to fully enjoy our lives, we are healthier and happier.

Here are a few pointers that will help you improve your self-esteem and enable you to fully embrace life abroad.

* Don’t be so hard on yourself. Researchers have found that often people are afraid to be self-indulgent and as a result they are not very self-compassionate. In fact, many people believe that self-criticism is what keeps them in line and they  belittle themselves for being overweight, not mastering a language quickly enough or floundering in a new culture. Stop, take a deep breath and acknowledge all you have accomplished. Nobody is perfect, give yourself a break. Test your self-compassion level here.

* Remind yourself how well you are doing by writing yourself a short note pointing out your strong points or by taking short breaks to appreciate the here and now. Even a few minutes with your face in the sunshine can do wonders if you allow yourself to fully enjoy it.

* If you aren’t exercising, take small steps towards doing so. Every once in a while take the stairs instead of the elevator; park a little further from the supermarket than you’d normally park or go for a short, brisk walk down the block. Exercise increases self-esteem, improves your outlook and increases your lifespan.

* Just because you live in a country that is not your motherland does not mean you have to change everything about yourself. Determine what is important to you and maintain those habits.

* Reach out to other women expats. We are all in it together and all of us experience feelings of insecurity or loneliness on occasion. Make an effort to make some friends that can help you through the rough times and encourage you to laugh in the face of adversity.

* Join a group or organization that allows you to pursue a hobby or an interest that you enjoy. If you can make the time to go to a meeting once a week, it gives you time for yourself, which is something we all need.

* Studies have linked pleasure with knowledge so get out and learn something new. Explore your new village; take a language course or take up ceramics.

Above all, try to embrace your life and the wonderful opportunities you have as an expat.  It isn’t easy, but it is an adventure. A positive attitude makes all the difference and if you are able to give yourself the same compassion you give your children, you will find you are happier and healthier.

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1 Comment on "Moms: Be self-compassionate"

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  1. Fay says:

    It is so important for international moms to look after themselves too. You have listed some great points here.

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