18 Jul 2024
Navigating Life’s Transitions with Mental Well-being
Expat Support Health Mental health

Navigating Life’s Transitions with Mental Well-being

Being in transit can be hard. I am letting go of one organised and happy existence, the result of hard work and adaptation, to once again move towards the unknown. I am heeding an inner call that trusts the process with more conviction than my own little ego-self feels right now. As I sit here, typing away in the departure lounge at Schiphol, I am once again neither anchored in one place, nor yet safely tethered to another, trying to reconcile where I’ve come from with where I am and where I am going.  

Transition and change are a constant. Our lives progress in cycles. And the courage to let go of one life and embrace another, brings new opportunities, new roles to play in the great game of life. I relish that feeling that the world is once again my oyster. Like receiving a new batch of clay to mould into something that will integrate with what I’ve become so far.

I order another coffee and notice how comfortable I feel at airports and train stations right now. Perhaps because the energy mirrors where I am internally. It is a strange time of increased mental activity, causing an inner restlessness that in turn makes a huge demand on my patience. Yet in this flow of comings and goings I feel calmer than on my meditation pillow back home. There is an order to the disorderly process of transitioning. There is an art to letting it unfold in its own pace, knowing when to push and when to let go. Like a line of dominoes, where each drop needs to wait for the previous stone to fall into place.

But I also feel overwhelmed, a little scared and even grieving for what I am about to give up. The television in the lounge is showing images of the victims of earthquakes and floods. I immediately start to berate myself for being so spoiled. After all, this is a bed of my own making. But then I put into practise what I teach and allow myself to feel the sheer exhaustion and the niggling doubts that I will never find a home that makes me feel as cherished as my houseboat does, or did, or will have done. And then I remember how my Dutch home took quite some getting used to. And that it only became my perfect home after a housefire and a complete renovation. I smile.

And that brings me back to previous relocations and the many other transitions in life. From young student, to ambitious professional, to wife, to mother, to older student and more mature professional, to singleton, and now, the gods willing, to grandmother. Each phase its own geographical landscape, its own lessons and challenges, its own joys. Each one working out, just as it should.

All of life is transition. Whether we fight it or flow with it. Humanity itself is in transition. Even the word transition is in transition!

I look up from my laptop and watch the travellers as they flow past me in a steady stream. Some carrying light backpacks, others dragging huge suitcases behind them. Ambling along or purposefully striding towards something new, for now or for forever.

Some of us will arrive where we think we are going while some of us will arrive in a place so different, we will need quite some time to acclimatise. But all we can do is graciously flow with the tide, fasten our seatbelts for the bumpy bits, remembering to speak kindly to ourselves with words of comfort and encouragement, and all the while, remembering to enjoy the view.

All will be well.

Lysanne Sizoo

Mental Health International

With over two decades of experience, Lysanne Sizoo specializes in assisting expatriates, international professionals, and global nomads facing mental health challenges. Her professional journey has taken her to the United Kingdom, Sweden, New Zealand, and the Netherlands. While her practice is set to relocate to Stockholm by the end of 2024, she continues to serve a diverse clientele through online consultations.

Living away from one’s native country comes with its unique set of psychological hurdles, alongside the everyday ups and downs of life. This holds true for global nomads, cross-cultural adults, and children alike.

In the upcoming months, Lysanne will share her insights through blog articles and by addressing readers’ concerns. She will also chronicle her personal journey as she returns to Sweden after a decade in her home country.

If you have specific topics or issues that you’d like Lysanne to explore in her articles, please reach out via the contact form on this website or directly through her personal website. Rest assured, your privacy and confidentiality will be upheld.

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