Staying Sane While Turning Your Life Upside Down

These past few months, while starting up my new life in Manchester, I have learned many things. About life, about people, and most importantly – about myself. I have also learned to manage myself better. How is that? Basically – it’s not to go mental when everything around seems to be falling apart, or when life throws yet another challenge at you. Read on if you want to know the secret to staying sane in such circumstances.

Don’t get me wrong. Even though the intro might suggest you that, I am no wise man (or woman for that matter). But I have the ability to take life as it is and learn from my experience. I have also learned a lot about myself and am in the constant process of self-development and growth. My learnings might not apply to you, but I am most willing to share them with those who want to listen.

Sticking To Constants… Or Creating Them

When I was still on my job hunt, I once had a conversation with a bunch of guys. One of them had just broken up with his long-term girlfriend and was looking for a new place to live and possibly changing his job as well. Quite a lot of changes, right? And one of the other guys advised him not to go overboard with all that and suggested him to keep at least one thing unchanged.

That thought stroke me. And not because that was what I was doing. The opposite! I had changed everything and nothing was the same again. Yes, I still had my friends and family, but we were miles apart and the format of our relationship and communication changed. At that moment, I realized that it would truly be so much easier if I had at least one constant to take with me from my old life. But I did not.

But what I had already unconsciously started doing – creating new constants in life. Having a job is a big one, but for the first few weeks when I was in Manchester I didn’t have that. I needed new things that would give my life some structure, new hobbies (or relocated old ones), and new routines.

I’ve always wanted to try kickboxing, so why not start doing that in Manchester? And so I did. I found a club close to home and started taking classes. Every Tuesday and Thursday evening – kickboxing time. That was my new weekly routine I tried to stick to and arranged my other plans accordingly. I also found a yoga studio to go to once a week. Therefore all my weekends started with a Saturday morning yoga class. Another thing to look forward to.

And yes, I should not forget to mention this blog – it was one of my constants. I know I’m not very good at keeping up with the content regularity lately, but I’ll try to do better. I still got loads to share with you, and most likely will have for months to come.

Filling Up Time

I have to be honest, weekends scared me a bit. People always ask you what are your plans for the weekend. Even if you’re out of job and have no duties seven days a week (a very extended weekend basically). But people still asked me that question every week, and my anticipation of it made me anxious every Friday. What if I have no plans?

If I was still living my old life, it would seem acceptable not to have any plans, but this was different now. I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me (which I guess they never did). So I started making plans for my weekends. As I was quite busy during the week (interviews, preparing, applications etc.), that was also a chance for me to relax and get my mind off of job hunt.

What can you do in a new city with no friends? Believe me – loads! I’m an explorer, and that’s what I did. I tried to get to know Manchester and attended events that would help me do that. Manchester Instameetup (meeting up with other Instagrammers from Manchester for a few hours) was the one I enjoyed the most. I did not only had the chance to explore the city, but I also met a big bunch of really nice, creative and talented photographers. It’s a really friendly community to be a part of!

Adopting New (Good) Habits

Whenever I experience big changes in my life (starting a new job, moving, or anything else that comes with a new routine), I try to take on new habits as well. Why? It seems easier to change things when it’s a part of something that I can’t avoid.

For example, imagine starting a new job. And imagine yourself always wanting to start eating breakfast (oh, so many people never do that!). When you start a new job, some things in your life change – you take a different route to work, it takes you a different amount of time to get there, you meet different people on a daily basis, etc. So starting your day with breakfast won’t seem like a big change if bigger things are happening in your life.

Morning routine (or anything else you want to start doing) is just a small part of it all. If you set your mind to it and convince yourself that it’s just something that comes along with everything else that changes, it’s really not that hard.

What habits did I take on? I did start eating breakfast (I’ve done that before, but it’s difficult to keep up when your life gets busier) and I am eating healthier than before, I plan my evenings to go to boxing or study for a few online courses… But it’s OK if you just add one thing, one good habit. When you’re nailing it, it gives you a sense of accomplishment. And that gives you the motivation you might need for other things and challenges.

The Most Important Thing Though…

To sum it all up, just keep yourself busy – both your mind and your body.

Note: This post originally appeared on Expat in MCR ( blog which has since been renamed to Dream Chaser (

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