The Psychological Pressure of COVID-19 on an Expat

by | Feb 14, 2022 | Global | 1 comment

The pandemic generated by COVID-19 has significantly impacted people’s emotional states. And with migrants, the impact may be still greater.

Feeling the pressure Photo by Christian Erfurt on Unsplash
Feeling the pressure Photo by Christian Erfurt on Unsplash

The inability to return to their countries of origin, suspensions of jobs that prevent them from generating the resources to support themselves, and the social isolation that often translates into loneliness are some situations that can push their stress to the limit.

Surfing the web, I found an article related to expatriates referred to Ulysses Syndrome. The name made me curious since I am passionate about Greco-Roman mythology.

So I did some research and find information on the relationship between the travels of the Greek character (also known as Odysseus) in Homer’s work “The Odyssey”) and current expatriates.

Wide Variety of Expats

There are many types of expatriates: those fleeing war or persecution, those seeking better life opportunities, the elderly seeking a quiet place to spend their retirement, expatriates who have strong financial support, others who are leaving their country with just a few dollars, some arrive with their relatives, others arrive alone.

And so each person’s situation is unique. We all handle emotional experiences differently.

In my particular case, I am fortunate to have emigrated with my daughter. My sister and her family received us at their home in Costa Rica. But I know others who, do not have anyone in their host country.

Seeking Out Community

One priority as an expatriate is to join a group of people. Upon arrival in Costa Rica, I joined two groups where I am meeting expats from different parts of the world and share activities of common interest. Most of those I know have come alone.

With friendships or contacts fostered within these groups, we have shared experienced pleasant get-togethers. But since COVID-19, these meetings did not happen.

How Did People Respond?

Alone but together Photo by visuals on Unsplash
Alone but together Photo by visuals on Unsplash

In our case, we started with virtual meetings. We form a group of expats with whom we share lunches, dinners, or just a coffee. I

t gives us the opportunity to get to know each other better and share our mutual interests.

We connect via WhatsApp or Zoom and keep in touch. We are each doing the same with our family and friends abroad.

Three fans of physical exercises connect daily through WhatsApp at a specific time, and they keep each other company while they exercise, share music, jokes, and news.

Seizing the Opportunity

Many are now working from home. The importance of income generation has awakened resilience in some people. They are offering consulting services, courses, translations, content writing, graphic design, using their spectrum of knowledge that can generate money for them.

And some increase their knowledge by taking advantage of price-reduced online courses.

In summary, try to make the most of your time, and keep a level of social interaction, especially with your relatives. A positive mental attitude is our primary driver just now. This situation will bring about changes in the way we think and act.

We are in a time when we can grow personally, increase our resolve, face the challenges that the future holds, and come out a winner.

How are you dealing with the psychological pressure of the pandemic? Please share any tips with the rest of us.

by: Roman Vergara