In this blog post I will share with you a little bit about how I’ve helped make working away from home easier for me

city2surf

Living abroad isn’t easy. Unlike most people, you don’t have the luxury of being able to pick up the phone to speak to your family at any time of the day, or dropping in for lunch on a weekend. Instead my time with my family is condensed down to pre-planned skype calls where I wish they were closer to me and that I could hug them through the computer screen. My parents and family have been so supportive of me moving here to Australia and we do our best to stay connected but it’s still not the same and it means that I’ve had to adapt to make living here in Australia as close to feeling like home as it can get. I miss moments like cooking pastries with my cousins, or being around to be supportive of my family when they are hurt (my dad hurt his hand a few weeks ago and I wish I was there with him!)

baking-apple-pieI feel so fortunate to have the job I do – the environment is so fantastic and the people I work with in a small team and my clients are fantastic. I have a regular routine of seeing my colleagues every weekday and the very nature of my job in being a personal trainer means I build a rhythm of seeing my clients at the same times each week so I really get to know them and we share each others lives and happenings together each week.

Having lived in Australia now since 2009 I have come to the realisation that my colleagues and my clients are actually starting to feel like my family. I think having the distance and not being able to have the regular contact I was used to growing up, meant that here in Australia I’ve tried my best to fill that gap through building relationships with my team at work and my clients.

Here are 5 things I would like to share with you around how I’ve made my workplace feel more like home

  1. Socialise: I try my best to organise events that allow me and my team and also for my clients to interact with each other and get to know each other better.Whether it be encouraging clients to attend the City 2 Surf or the upcoming Glow Run – I always try to find opportunities for us to have fun and hang out together; often taking my clients out of their comfort zone jajaja! 😉
  2. Invite your work colleagues and clients in to your home: by having my work colleagues and clients visit me at my own home I have been able to create a closer bond with them. Whether it be watching a movie, playing a pool or going to the nearby coffee shop, I find that by doing this my clients and team can feel like they have a stronger connection with me (and I also do with them). I live with very close friends from Chile here in Sydney so it really does feel like I’m introducing them to my family when they come over my place.
  3. Share your interests: with so many clients I make an effort to know what they are interested in and also share my own hobbies. Doing this has led to so many fun times together. One example of this is that I LOVE DANCING! 🙂 I really miss being back home and spending so many nights with my friends dancing. So now, I have been dragging my work mates and clients along to salsa clubs and it’s really great because we get to share a new experience together.
  4. Ask for advice: just like any family you should be able to go them for advice. Not being able to have those small day to day conversations with my family back home has meant that I now have these conversations with colleagues and clients. I really appreciate this a lot as I work a long day at the gym (sometimes 6am to 8pm) so if I have something on my mind for that entire day it can really throw me off and I want to make sure I am being the best possible trainer for my clients. Talking about what’s on my mind helps keep me relaxed and happy – and also helps build a trust between me, my team, and my clients (by the way – why am I still calling everyone ‘team’ and ‘clients’ – they are my friends and family!!!)
  5. Communicate your thoughts: what you then need to realise is that some of your colleagues and clients will become close friends and feel like family. Communication is so important and honesty around your feelings will make sure people know exactly what is on your mind which will help them in supporting you. If you have something that is bothering you or something that you feel you need to get off your chest, I’ve learned it’s better to do it sooner rather than later. It really helps me clear my mind and stay focused.

These 5 things are the things that come to mind when I think about how I cope here in Australia being far away from my family. It’s made me start to feel more stable and at home. It’s also really make me enjoy going to work and I feel so lucky because when I go to work, I now feel like I’m spending time with my family.

If you’re living abroad or know someone who is (or maybe you just have good advice!) please share your story in the comments about and tips on how you’ve made living and working overseas easier and more like home 🙂