Back to school, back to work: An expat guide

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Published 2020-08-27 07:07

It is nearing the end of summer for Europeans. Indeed, the June to August period is traditionally the holiday season for many European countries. So here are few tips for any expats having to go back to work after a holiday period particularly marked by the COVID-19 sanitary crisis.

In Europe, in the coming weeks kids and parents (for the lucky ones) will be going back to school and to work. Indeed, the June to August period is usually marked by the school holidays and parents taking time off to enjoy being with their children and take trips abroad. While this has been somewhat challenged this year because of the sanitary crisis, parents and children have still taken time off to spend together this summer. As Autumn approaches and most countries are resuming life as (almost) normal after a global sanitary crisis and a few months of summer holidays, it is important to adapt to new habits, take care of ourselves and of people around us.

Be weary of the rules still in place following the COVID-19 crisis

More than 50 countries have made the wearing of face masks compulsory around the world. While the regulations is different everywhere, a lot of countries have made face masks compulsory for students attending high-schools and on the workplace. For example, in France, children above 11 years old are compelled to wear a face masks and masks are compulsory in offices except for people who have individual offices.

Make sure you know the prevailing regulations regarding masks but also other preventive measures. For example, what are the social distancing regulations in public transport? How about in restaurants, cinemas and other leisure facilities. These usually differ depending on what country you are in but also on where in the country you are.

Get ahold of the anxiety and stress

The carefree summer time is over and now it is back to work and the routine. Over and above that, it is no secret that the virus is still out there and it can trigger more stress and anxiety having to go about life as usual. As an expat, these can also trigger a sense of homesickness, especially if you do not have your loved ones around to support you.

But holidays being over does not mean that you cannot take time off for yourself and get ahold of your anxiety of stress. Do not bury yourself in work, taking care of the children and the routine. Go to the gym, take the 20 minutes walk home instead of hopping on the crowded bus, do not work during your lunch breaks. Instead take the time to read, to meditate or simply chat with your coworkers in the lunchroom.

Reinvent your routine

A fresh start might be the time to take up new habits. You know how you’ve always wanted to drink more water? Or exercise before work instead of after? Buy yourself a brand new bottle that you keep on your desk at work. And set your alarm half an hour earlier. This is the perfect time for a new routine.

But also, this fresh start can be the perfect time for you to start a new activity. Join a new club or maybe join that scary gym class that you’ve always wanted to try but were too intimidated to do.