Relocating is like a rollercoaster ride – exciting yet terrifying. Whether you’re leaving Lagos for London or Abuja for Atlanta, leaving the country you’ve called home for the largest part of your life can take a toll on your mental health. If you’ve ever wondered how to deal with the mental effects of leaving your country, family, and friends behind, this one’s for you.
Leaving loved ones behind is never easy. For Nigerians, family is everything. Our festivities bring together family members who live miles away from one another. Our bonds are unbreakable, and our communities are rock-solid. But what happens when we have to leave all these behind to seek greener pastures across continents?
How to Handle The Emotional Effects of Relocation
It is important to note the emotions that accompany moving to a new country cannot be predicted but they can be handled with the help of the following tips:
Tip 1: Embrace the emotions
As extra as it might seem, you will probably grieve the loss of the life you are leaving behind in Nigeria and that’s okay. You’re allowed to miss those Sunday afternoons jollof rice gatherings or the disturbing noise of your neighbor’s old generator. Allow yourself to feel all these emotions, but remember that it gets better.
Tip 2: Lean on the Diaspora Community
One of the secrets to surviving the overwhelming emotions that come with immigration is to build a support network. See your new country as your new home, and seek out fellow Nigerians who understand the value of “Naija” culture. Attend cultural events, join local associations, and connect with other Nigerians. They’ve been through the same challenges, felt the same homesickness, and can offer practical advice on everything from setting up a bank account to finding the best African grocery store in town.
Tip 3: Stay Connected Online
Don’t forget that your loved ones are just a video call away. It might not have the same effect but keeping up with family and friends through the internet can help you adjust better to your new life. Plan regular calls, share updates, and celebrate every milestone together virtually. Just because you moved out of the country doesn’t mean that people should move out of your life/
Tip 4: Prioritize Your Mental Health
Pay attention to the early signs of stress, anxiety, or depression. It’s okay to ask for help. You’re not alone in this journey, and there’s no shame in seeking assistance from a therapist or counselor.
Tip 5: Embrace Progress, No Matter How Small
Your new journey abroad might have challenges but don’t miss the chance to celebrate your growth. All your wins are important – from figuring out how to access public transportation in your new city to making your first friend.
Relocating is a challenging adventure, but it’s also an opportunity for personal growth and self-discovery. As Nigerians, we carry the spirit of strength within us, and with the right mindset and support, we can not only survive but succeed in our new homes.
Remind yourself that your emotional suitcase is filled with the love, memories, and hustle spirit of your Nigerian roots.