It's Like Yoga
with Crayons

3 ways to avoid overwhelm during an international move


Have you ever gone through the process of packing up home, work, kids, and your whole life into a container (well, not the kids of course, they fly with you!) to rebuild your life in a whole new country with a whole new culture and way of being? My husband and I have done this sort of moving and shifting a few times now and are now in “the gap” of in between. We are so very close to being settled physically if our container didn’t get stuck at a port for the past several months.

Still, the physical moving bit, well, actually that’s the easy part.

What I’m curious about is the emotional journey that transitions take us on. See at the end of the day, everything is contingent upon this. If we are balanced and clear, then the container stuck at sea is absolutely fine, a blessing in a way, because all is truly well when our self-love is so strong that it’s not affected by conditions.

This is the learning that all our international moving has given me. After not getting it right for a few moves and getting all caught and twisted up in the physical “transition turmoil” I have discovered the way to avoid the “drama/trauma overwhelm” and I want to share them with you. To enjoy the journey there are 3 things to bear in mind-

1. Invest in yourself deeply the whole way thru

What does “investing in your Higher Self” look like? Well, it looks like putting yourself first before all the myriad of “bits and pieces” to attend to during a transition.

Between packing, movers, closing down house, banks, electricity and then all the social and emotional moments around saying good-bye, there’s a whole bunch going on! . All to be repeated, of course, upon the arriving at your new host country (aside from the good-bye part there’s lot’s of hello’ing going on) so that there is just never a moment for you…unless you carve it out! Yes, YOU!

In order to invest in YOU you must be fiercely devoted to doing what lifts and lights your soul up fully and wholly!.

-For me that looked like getting up a little earlier than others for my morning meditation and moving my body to start the day.
-Eating the foods that my body knows give me the energy I need to be the best version of me.
-Laughing often and letting myself play, knowing it all will get done eventually.

Whatever it is that makes you shine, do that and do that regularly through a transition time.You will keep grounded and centered in the most powerful part of you and move from that part rather than the panicked fight/flight animal part that tends to say “grrrr” and bark when it doesn’t get its way. Seriously now.

2. Expect bumps, hiccups, and delays

We have moved several times internationally and after a few recent moves with the kids in tow they too are older and wiser for it. During this current move we’re in now from Bangkok to Dubai we have had several moments of stopping, noticing and reminding one another that “we signed up for this, things going pear-shape is part of the process.

When we expect things to glitch and take longer than anticipated we don’t get all balled up when they do. Then, when they go smooth it’s AH-MAZING to feel the momentum of it. More than this,

(This is a good approach to take to life by the way:)

3. Ultimately, keep the “fairy tale ending in your mind’s eye

It’s like when I was potty training my son, and stressed that he wasn’t getting the hang of it as his sister did 2 years before. Speaking to my father-in-law about it brought me a much wider perspective and clarity when he said, “listen Corry, I’ve known a lot of people in my days and not one wasn’t able to get their child to learn how to use the toilet eventually. Relax, it’s going to happen.”

This move, like the last move and like the move before is happening and will keep happening until it’s complete.

Just let it be and go with the flow knowing that everything will work out and before long you will be the ‘settled in’ family giving these 3 tips to an overwhelmed neighbour.

Allow the move to shape you and let the journey grow you from the inside out. While some people go to retreats or mountain caves to learn non-reactivity and non-attachment while they breathe in and out, you have a perfect “teacher” in your international transition.Breathe deeply and let it all be through all of it and you will find you grow in leaps and bounds.

More than anything, enjoy the journey because how you go along the way is exactly how it is when you get there. No regrets this way.

How about you in your expat experience? How do you keep yourself free from overwhelm when you have to relocate around the globe?

© 2019, Corry MacDonald. All rights reserved. Originally published at

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic.


When you observe yourself in your day-to-day, would you tend towards: