How to Deal with Time Differences When You Live Abroad

One of the most frustrating parts about living abroad is the significant time changes for some people.  Not only are you physically moving away from what it comfortable, but you also need to change the way that you look at your time both physically and emotionally.

First of all, you will need to physically prepare yourself for your new time schedule.  If you are moving to an area that is eight or more hours different than your own time, you will find that you need a long period of adjustment before you settle into a new routine.  You can help this process along by trying to adjust to the new hours before you even move.  Set your clocks to the new time and try to follow the schedule on that schedule.  Some people swear by the use of melatonin to reset their internal clocks as well.  By simply taking one supplement about a half an hour before bed, the body can learn to go to sleep at that time, rather than when you were going to sleep before (always check with a doctor before taking medication, though).

Another way to start adjusting to the new time is to find out when the hours of light and dark will be in your new home.  What you’ll want to do is start to pull your shades at your current location to start to mimic this new day and night pattern.  Your body is ruled by the light that it sees, so once you start to change that, the circadian rhythms that guide your sleep and wake cycles will also change.

Emotionally speaking, your friends and family will have a lot of trouble adjusting to your new time zone as well.  While you used to be able to talk whenever you wanted to, now you will need to consider the various time zones and what’s too late or too early.  You can help to ease this by keeping two clocks in your new home to remind you of what time it is where your family and friends are.  You might also want to discuss good times to call in order to keep in touch without disrupting anyone either.

Of course, you may want to start an email conversation that isn’t hindered by time zones.  You can write each other as often as you like and respond when you are able to.  But this only works if you’re both good about checking your email.  You can then set up times to talk in person at regular intervals as well, but the email will suffice in the meantime.