Did you move abroad full of excitement and a spirit of adventure but now find that you’re feeling a bit lost and disconnected from yourself?
Or were you a reluctant adventurer, coming along with your parter — and now your relationship is feeling strained from the stresses of life abroad and your shifting roles?
Or perhaps you’re generally doing well and enjoying this expat adventure, but you’d like to make more space for balance, authenticity, and groundedness — and to deepen the sense of meaning in your life.
Wherever you are in your journey, I’m glad you found your way here. I hope you will find this blog to be a source of both information and inspiration as you navigate your own inner and outer journeys!
My name is Dana Nelson, and I’m an American counselor and psychotherapist living in Lyon, France. (To learn more about me, you can go here.). I moved to Lyon in July of 2014, and I’m planning to open my private practice to provide counseling and psychotherapy services to English-speaking individuals and couples in the Lyon area in the near future. [Update: As of March, 2016, the practice is now open!] In the meantime, I’m starting this blog to share my thoughts and suggestions on emotional wellbeing and self-care with you.
Is this blog for me?
While much of what I write about here will be relevant to most people, my hope is to make it especially relevant to those living abroad. If you are an English-speaking expat in France, this blog is written especially with you in mind. However, I hope that international students, expats in other countries, and even people living in their own counties of origin may find it useful and relevant to their experiences as well. We’re all navigating our own journeys through life, and these journeys often take us far from home — sometimes literally, but always metaphorically. If you’re looking for some guideposts along the way as you navigate your own inner journey, my hope is that you’ll find a few here.
So this blog is certainly for you if you’ve been struggling to adjust to life abroad, to make meaningful connections with others, and to stay grounded in yourself as you explore a new cultural landscape.
We’re all navigating our own journeys through life, and these journeys often take us far from home — sometimes literally, but always metaphorically.
If your experience of moving abroad has taken a toll on your relationships — with your partner, your family, your friends — and you want to reestablish and nurture these connections, this blog is for you too.
If these experiences have also taken a toll on your relationship with yourself (yes, you have a relationship with yourself, and it’s probably the most important one you’ll ever have!) and you think you could stand to tend to that relationship a bit and develop more self-compassion, then this blog is definitely for you.
And, finally, if you’re struggling with other types of emotional or interpersonal difficulties or just want to reserve a little more room in your life for balance, then this blog is for you too. Welcome!
What will I find here and how can it help me?
Most of us struggle to create space in our lives for reflection, balance, and taking care of ourselves. We may see these activities as selfish or self-indulgent. Or we may think we just don’t have time for them or don’t know how to begin. It can be difficult to prioritize ourselves. However, when we don’t make time to care for ourselves, our emotional and physical health suffers, as do our relationships with the people we care about the most.
My goal with this blog is to give you regular reminders to tend to these aspects of your life with intentionality and to offer you ideas for how you can nurture yourself and your relationships. I plan to include a mix of how-to, educational, and more reflective or inspirational pieces here. If you choose to follow the blog regularly, you can use it as a way to hold yourself accountable in your goal of prioritizing these areas of your life. And if you’re looking more for information and resources, I’ll be including these here as well. I hope that whatever it was that led you here, you will find something that will resonate with you.
I want to be clear: I am not using this blog as a forum to provide any type of counseling or psychotherapy. That would be impossible without knowing more about you and your unique situation and without taking the time to develop a therapeutic relationship — and a public setting like this is not the right place for that. I will do my best to offer thoughts and suggestions that I hope will be helpful to you, but only you can decide if these apply for you or if you want to make use of them. If I make suggestions that resonate with you and you choose to implement them in your life, I can’t take either credit or responsibility for any outcomes that may emerge. (If counseling is what you’re looking for, please refer here.)
Ok, so where do we go from here?
I’m relatively new to blogging, so I’ll be learning as we go here as well.
We’ll see where things go, but you’re likely to find a combination of ideas or suggestions, general observations, questions to ponder, relevant psychological research, and philosophical musings here.
If you have thoughts, feedback, or questions about anything you read, I hope you’ll share them with me — either in the publicly visible comments below each post or in a private email message. I would love to know what resonates with you, hear your reactions, or get your feedback on things you’d like to learn more about in the future.
So… let’s get started and see where this journey takes us!