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How to overcome relocation blues after moving to Switzerland

How to overcome relocation blues after moving to Switzerland
Overcoming the blues in Switzerland. Photo: happyalex/Depositphotos.com
Moving to Switzerland is a dream come true for many; it's a country that is bursting with natural beauty, artisan chocolate, and economic opportunities. But just as ice caps melt off the alps, so too does the initial joy that comes with moving abroad. What do you do when living in a new country starts to get you down?
 
According to Coaching Hub Switzerland's Head Life Coach, Christine Billy, feeling uneasy about relocation is normal. But she believes you can overcome negative emotions, and setbacks by changing the way you perceive the move. 
 
“I see change as an opportunity. It is about welcoming and embracing change. Change is life, and if you embrace it – you will love living in Switzerland and learn more about yourself,” says Christine.
 
According to a 2018 Havard study, those living abroad often benefit from a 'clearer sense of self' which can boost an individual's psychological wellbeing. 
 
After working with many foreigners in Switzerland, Christine shares the biggest three obstacles to settling in as well as her top tips to overcoming the blues while living in Switzerland. 
 
1.    Overcoming isolation by establishing a community
 
 
At the end of 2018, the foreign resident population of Switzerland was over 2 million and for 48 percent of these residents, the main reason for coming to Switzerland was to take up employment.
 
Feelings of loneliness and isolation are common for many individuals living in Switzerland, particularly for those who have moved to support a partner's career change. 
 
“If you are moving to Switzerland to support your partner, communicate with them, and prepare for this change together. It should be a partnership,” says Christine.
 
She stresses the importance of finding a sense of community and encourages newcomers to reach out and get to know Swiss people by learning the local language.
 
Photo: sumners/Depositphotos.com
 
“Swiss people will always respect you more if you try to speak their language. It can be hard, so it is essential to be patient and do your best to learn the local language. It can take time, so laugh at your mistakes.”
 
Making friends is crucial, as it helps create a sense of belonging, but Christine says newcomers should be the ones to make an effort and not the other way around. 
 
“As a newcomer, you need to reach out to make friends. It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking others should adjust to you. But that is not the case – you will benefit from becoming more open to meeting others.”
 
 
2.    Overcoming frustration with patience
 
With four official languages and 26 cantons, it can be frustrating to learn how to communicate in Switzerland. Understanding the customs and traditions in each canton can be mindboggling, but being patient is the best way to deal with the obstacles you face. 
 
“Swiss cities are generally very international, and there are opportunities to meet so many people from around the globe who are also feeling the same thing as you. Go out, talk to others and discover other cultures,” says Christine.
 
“If you are feeling very annoyed about something, talking with other foreigners in Switzerland will help. Chances are they are experiencing the same thing, and they can help you find solutions.”
 
There are also many social media groups for people living in different Swiss cities. These online forums can be a great way to connect with other foreigners in Switzerland and get receive advice about daily life. 
 
Photo: happyalex/Depositphotos.com
 
3.    Overcoming negative thoughts by transforming them into curiosity 
 
When analysing your negative thoughts, it's essential to consider whether you had a choice to move or whether you felt the move was 'forced' on you by someone else. Once you know and accept your reason for moving, Christine believes you can begin to identify where your negative thoughts are stemming from to overcome them. 
 
“Most of the time, we struggle with adapting to a new culture because of our own imposed rules or an unwillingness to change. For example, when I lived in the USA, I found it strange how people opened the fridge to eat at any time of the day. Then, I realised I was judging others,” explains Christine who is accustomed to French traditions, where snacking is not as common and mealtime is seen as a  ritual.
 
Photo: Bumble-Dee/Depositphotos.com
 
“I realised if I stayed in this 'judgment' mindset, I can't move forward. Instead, I became aware of my thoughts and shifted my thinking to curiosity, and then I started to think maybe this is a better way to do things? Then with that curiosity mind-frame, you don't reject your old culture, but instead, you merge it with the new one,” says Christine. 
 
 
When you find yourself unimpressed with aspects of Swiss culture, Christine recommends reflecting on your values and being curious instead of critical.
 
“Remember, it is normal to feel frustrated at the beginning of your move to Switzerland, but you need to realise that this is a great opportunity for personal growth.
 
“It is not about neglecting your own culture or completely embracing the Swiss one. It should always be about positively merging two cultures.”
 
 
Disclaimer: If you are experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety, always seek medical advice.
 
 
 

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