Author: Helena Zachariassen, Home and Lifestyle Editor
Lately I’ve been brainstorming a lot about how to truly help and support people to thrive and live a life that’s calm, enjoyable, meaningful, and fulfilling. My mission is to help you get there, by simplifying, decluttering and organising every area of your home, business, and life so that you can design and create your own ideal way of living. This all becomes one step tougher being an expat without a support network.
Yes, it for sure takes time for most of us to figure out how to thrive and what our true purpose in life is. What is absolutely certain, however, is that it cannot become clear if we hide behind our past, our physical stuff, our digital clutter or excuses of any sort. Physical or mental clutter, visual or hidden…it’s all the same block hindering us seeing the forest for the trees.
What I’ve learned from many of my expat friends and clients (and from myself too!) is that sometimes after a huge effort, like settling into a new country, exhausted after a big move and all that it entails, we experience analysis paralysis. Instead of organising ourselves, taking action to move forward towards that joyful and meaningful life, we do nothing. Nada. Zip zero. And that’s totally OK! Accept it, acknowledge it and embrace it. Once this period of recovery is over, however, it’s time to get out there.
Tip 1: Find your tribe away from home
Community is one of the most important, if not THE most important aspects of expat life. Find your tribe, big or small, as long as you have someone to share life’s ups and downs with and get you out of the house locally. If you’re new to Switzerland, check out a few of the below amazing expat initiatives:
Firstly, there is our own Coffee with a purpose organised by Pragati and My Swiss Story. The objective is very simple – every month a small group of women will come together over a cup of coffee and practice meaningful networking.
Another community inititiave is The Happy Hub (of which I’m a happy sisterhood member too!), where you can connect and meet (online and/or in-person) with like-minded women.
Tip 2: Explore, create memories, take pictures
Creating memories is one of life’s most rewarding experiences. Memories are what we cherish the most and keep with us in our hearts, no matter where and how far away we are from our loved ones. With today’s tech overload we’re able to take pictures just about anywhere and anytime.
Explore your surroundings, take those pictures, and make sure you’re in some of them too! It’s also a digital legacy we leave for future generations and this legacy needs to be taken care of with respect, care, and some discipline. Why discipline? Well, read on.
Tip 3: Digital organisation made simple
If you think about future generations, are your digital files and photos organised so that your loved ones are able to access your precious photos and important documents? Or are they just left unorganised on a hard drive behind unknown passwords? Have a think about your current digital organisation systems and storage solutions. 50K+ pictures “just stored” on your phone do not serve anyone, do they?! Thousands of emails in an overflowing inbox, a desktop with hundreds of files on top of eachother…a phone with so many unused apps and clutter that you’ve given up on where to start.
I know, it makes you feel anxious and overwhelmed. I know, because I’ve been there. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Ultimately, in order to keep your digital files organised, you will also need cloud syncing, a backup system and preferably an external hard drive too. And PS: Just ask for help if this sounds like an obstacle you are unable to get your head around.
Tip 4: Share and create
Your family and friends living far away from you want to hear from you. They really do! There are so many options and possibilities you can do these days, the list is indefinite. However, what many of us underestimate is the power of physical photos. Have the best ones printed and send them off, or make a photobook for christmas or as a gift. It is truly an expression and gift of love.
Examples of how to share your digital photos:
- Email/messaging/social media
- Print outs
- Online family galleries
- Digital photo frame (you can upload new ones remotely)
- Photo books (monthly, yearly)
- Printed photo calendars
- Photo products (mugs, pillows, key rings, etc.)
Tip 5: Delete, maintain, organise
If you want your digital photos to stay organised the first thing we need is a change of mindset and daily habits. What is that supposed to mean? Well, rather than scrolling social media when you pick up your phone for the 256th time during the day, go into your Photos app and DELETE anything you don’t need from the previous 24 hours! For most of us 5 mins per day is enough and you’re done. Choose a timing, set a reminder, sleep and repeat.
Delete ruthlessly and fearlessly the following:
Screenshots you no longer want/need
If you have an iPhone select ONE out of 100 bursts pictures and make sure to choose a ‘key photo’ of any live photos you’ve made. They will be taking up so much less space than the tiny live photo videos do.
This way your photos are always updated, chosen with joy, and already selected as top ones for potential future photo books. And your phone memory will thank you.
Are you enjoying our content? We would love to hear your opinions in the comments sections. Stay tuned for more resources, we are talking about – Swiss travel, ex-pat living, mental health, nutrition, wellness, transition, home, lifestyle and parenting all through this season. Stay well and stay with us!
To read posts from August, click here