It’s easy to get into the habit of comparing your host country to your home country once your study abroad period is over. I, for one, have had to learn to re-accept the uber cold Canadian weather and say goodbye to all-year long sunshine. Even so, there are merits of Canadian living and the Canadian lifestyle that I missed while away. Here’s how I’m settling back into a home routine after life abroad.
- I’ve Created (And Stuck To) An Intentional Schedule
When COVID-19 swept through Spain and the Canadian government issued that all Canadians return home as soon as possible, I created a schedule of what my day-to-day routine in Canada would look like once I arrived home. Following this routine helped to create stability in my life, even while everything else felt unstable and scary.
Knowing that I’ll wake up at 7AM to exercise and then walk my dog every day, helps to create a steadfast feeling of security. I make sure to schedule in activities that I love (besides meeting up with friends, because social distancing is a thing!) such as knitting sweaters, reading Spanish literature and sniffing scented candles!
- I’ve Learned The Importance of Self-Maintenance
While coronavirus is certainly not a good thing, it has undeniably opened my eyes to the importance of self-care, self-pampering and being gentle with myself. Now that I’m forced to spend more time with myself than ever before, I’ve learned that I need to stop berating myself and begin to speak with kinder words. This goes for both myself and the way that I allow others to treat and talk to me.
One thing I missed while living in Spain is that Spanish bathrooms tend to be small and the particular bathroom I had, lacked a bathtub. Now, that I’m back home, I get to take all the bubble baths that I want and to lounge in the luxury of sweet-smelling bath salts. The habit of setting time each day to truly enjoy yourself is so important for mental health and it’s a component of my current schedule that I hope to incorporate into my everyday life (even when things get back to normal).
- I’ve Been Keeping Myself Present, Mentally
One way that I’ve avoided the blues after studying abroad is by trying to stay as present as possible. I haven’t allowed myself to look longingly back on the past and that’s what has allowed me to enjoy time back at home and to look forward to a new semester of school in September. As great as learning abroad was, it’s ultimately just an exciting peek into the adventures that I’m going to have in the future. Life doesn’t end after studying abroad and the excitement of becoming acquainted with new culture and language and food can all be incorporated into everyday living.
Instead of pining for Spain, I’ve decided to explore my hometown in Alberta and to discover new parks and restaurants and bookstores. If studying abroad has taught me anything, it’s that adventure isn’t a place or person. It’s a lifestyle that you can create.