I know when people read this title they’ll be a little confused – how can people living the amazing, luxurious expat life ever feel isolated. I mean expat life is all about those picture perfect snaps on Instagram, great food from different cultures, meeting all these fun people from different walks of life and partying every weekend… Right?
Well there’s one thing that people don’t get to see and that is the isolating and depressing side to expat life. Now I have to point out here I am so fortunate that I have my husband, made so many friends that have become like family, my brother and sis in law live here with my gorgeous nephew and my parents visit A LOT. However, some expats I have spoken to have expressed how lonely they often feel, especially if they aren’t able to make regular trips back home, and more importantly those who are in Dubai all alone and struggle to make friends.
Recently there was also an article about the high levels of depression within the expat community in the UAE so I thought this blog post was much needed!
There are some ways we’ve suggested to people who go through these difficult experiences in order to reduce that feeling of loneliness as an expat;
- Make full use of the technology available to you – arrange weekly Skype calls keeping the time difference in mind – regular video chats with your bestie can make the world of difference and is often enough to keep you going for another week. Snapchat and Facebook also help you to feel closer to your loved ones and you can always send little snaps or Facebook live videos to people and keep communication going. You definitely need to make a conscious effort to do this in the beginning but after a while it becomes part of your weekly routine.
- Become a social butterfly – Search Facebook and other social media platforms to see what events are happening that match your interests. Don’t be afraid to go alone as a lot of people turn up solo – as long as you make the effort to socialise and chat to others you’ll definitely leave feeling happier with new friends who have the same interests as you! p.s. there are a lot of FREE events that happen so make the most of them!
- Sign up to classes – Dubai offers a range of classes from yoga to book clubs so this is where Google is your best friend. Get searching for classes that you would love to try out or be a part of and sign up! Even one class a week can help you get out of a bad rut and help you feel a lot better. Oh and another great way to meet people!
- Workout – Almost all residential buildings have a pool or gym, (or find a cheap gym nearby) so try make a few trips a week to work those stresses out. Studies have shown that working out boosts your mood and gives you that bounce in your step to get through difficult days. If you find yourself stressed, try working out and see how good it makes you feel after!
- Help others – Get to know other new expats within your workplace or your building and offer a helping hand. The best thing for any expat is to know there is someone out there who understands how daunting living abroad can be. Helping others is so rewarding and can really boost your self-esteem and confidence.
- Be yourself – When meeting new people don’t be afraid to share your experiences and your interests. Living in Dubai you will meet people from all walks of life so not everyone will agree with your views but that’s fine! This is all apart of self-development on your expat journey and as much as you’re learning about your new environment, it’s just as valuable to share where you’re from. As long as you’re being respectful and open to other views, it will make you happy talking about your background and will also help people understand more about you!
Now I know this all sounds like so much effort but honestly once you get into a proper routine it’ll be so easy and you’ll find yourself really enjoying the expat experience. After a few months you’ll definitely find your expat feet and hopefully be a happier you!
P.S – For those who are alone during Ramadan check out this lady’s Facebook page for Ramadan meet ups with other expats who are also alone this year. For more info click here.