23 April, 2015

Are cross-cultural workers adrenalin junkies?

A friend of mine is posting links to a blog series about global workers' health.

The second one I read last night is called Total Exhaustion.

He's listed just three causes (there are more):

  • stress 
  • emotional whiplash
    Goodbyes are going to be hard.
  • accumulated losses
Much of it was scarily familiar. But at present, the below statement particularly struck me:
A build-up of losses that have not been named and thus, not grieved. The global “community” is a mobile one.  Colleagues and friends move away. Roles, organizational leadership and strategies are often changing. Major life events come and go with hardly an acknowledgement.
We're just nine weeks and three days away from returning to Japan (not that any one's counting). In the last few months we've found out that:

  • Several long-term families won't be returning to the CAJ community.
  • Two of David's colleagues are returning to the US, they were fellow science teachers and great at their jobs.
  • The two families from OMF who live closest to us in Tokyo are returning to serve in their home countries, one of their sons is a good friend of our middle boy.
  • The friend who catered for my 40th is not coming back for a few years. We said goodbye 18 months ago, expecting to see one another in the middle of this year. It's not to be. She's already in the states.
  • Of course there was also the unexpected death of a colleague.
That's all that I can remember for now. But that's enough. How does one grieve these losses? It is a continual loss, mind you. This time of year every year we're usually saying goodbye to people, it's just that this time many of these we won't be able to say a face-to-face goodbye.

Oh, and that is not to mention the grief of leaving Australia after a year here. I've made new friends and deepened relationships with others, it's going to be very hard to leave. I'm getting teary just typing this.

He goes on to say:

"We think we are Spirit-dependent. I wonder if we are mostly just adrenalin junkies."
I've wondered that too. 

Then, just when it all seemed too much, he listed six ideas for helping retrieve the situation. I was encouraged that we're not doing too bad with these. Room for improvement, but not too bad.

In fact this blog is part of my personal self-care. Here I reflect and also name some of the stressors. That helps me.

What helps you deal with big/accumulated stress in your life?

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