When you move far away from all your support systems, your community, and even your partner, it can be hard to maintain emotional stability.
When I first boarded a plane across the ocean by myself, I realized all that I was leaving behind. The beginning excitement of my time overseas kept me distracted, but ultimately, it can begin to tear at the heart when your loved ones are miles away.
I wondered how I could maintain emotional stability while being so far away from my family, friends, and my relationship. I suddenly had to learn how to manage long-distance relationships and feel secure on my own.
Leaping Into the Unknown
I felt like I had a fresh start in the world and was incredibly excited to be living in Southeast Asia.
Yet I realized that spending so much time outwardly focused did not leave space for me to examine my inward feelings.
I wondered how I could create the security of home within myself in order to keep my emotions calm.
One morning I went out for a jog near the northern rice fields to clear my head. As I moved my feet to a run, I began to cry. Being abroad by myself suddenly felt isolating and uncertain.
Being far away also meant different time zones. Every time I tried to contact friends or family, it seemed impossible. I had to stay awake really late or wake up incredibly early to talk to them.
Articulating an experience that was so different from the world I came from was all the more isolating, for it was hard to help people understand what I was going through.
After a couple of months, it began to show in my demeanor and in my emotions.
Near the rice field, I sat on the ground to look up at the sky. I pondered whether communicating my stress and isolation would help me regain emotional stability.
I jogged back to my building and reached out to my traveling partner. To my surprise, she was feeling the same way.
We both were trying to reach out to our support systems that were far away, but we didn't realize that we had one another to rely on in person.
We soon were talking with about our hardships, our confusion, and our feelings of isolation. I realized that I did not need to feel alone in my travels, for there are always other people who feel the same way you do.
Here's how to maintain emotional stability when you are separated from loved ones:
Do not isolate yourself.
Even if you are introverted, it does no good to isolate yourself in your negative emotions. Being far away from loved ones can be stressful and uncertain, but it doesn't mean you have to keep yourself locked up in your own emotions.
When I realized that I was stuffing my emotions, I needed to break loose of my entanglement to connect with the people who were near me.
It can be scary, but chances are there are at least a couple people who feel the same way you do.
When my travel partner and I started communicating with one another, we developed a friendship. She happens to be one my dearest friends now, because we took the chance of sharing with one another about our experiences.
Isolating myself also took a toll on my long-distance romantic relationship. The time with him was so precious to me over video chat that I never wanted to bring up any hard things that were happening.
The result was pushing him away — not just by distance but emotionally too.
Understand the science behind dependency.
One study revealed that those who are dependent on others often lack in self-reliance, resulting in emotional instability.
Researchers also revealed that those who are pessimistic tend to rely on their interpersonal relationships and less on the optimism of feeling satisfied within themselves.
When you are out on your own in the world and far away from loved ones, emotional stability relies quite a lot on your ability to communicate positively with yourself.
When you use negative self-talk, it can result in emotional instability and uncertainty.
My experiences taught me a decent amount about how I communicated with myself when I had no one else to rely on.
I suddenly had to look inward and remove the negative talk to feel emotionally secure while away from all the people who normally supported me.
Learn to be secure in yourself.
Being secure in yourself first starts with positive talk. When you communicate with yourself in a positive way, it helps your relationships too.
Whether you are just trying to talk to family, or you are reaching out to your long-distance lover, it can be hard to talk positively to them if you are busy talking negatively to yourself.
Maintaining a feeling of security can be incredibly challenging when miles away from everything you know. Yet the more you practice being confident in yourself, the greater chance that new opportunities open up to you.
Part of maintaining emotional stability when away from your loved ones is to stay connected. Even reaching out through messages or cards can help you maintain a feeling of closeness.
You may be living in a completely different world from those back home, but keeping in contact can help you realize that your support system is still there, it just isn't physically there anymore.
When I was traveling around, I made sure to connect with loved ones back home so they didn't feel forgotten. In being away, I realized that my support system missed me just as much as I missed them.
By staying connected, I felt less isolated. I realized that although my family and friends may not have understood what I was going through, they still listened and cared.
Choose to Be You
It may sound simple, but choosing to be exactly who you are, no matter where you are in the world, helps you maintain emotional stability.
Scrambling to figure out who you are without your loved ones is a learning process, but ultimately it connects you to a deeper part of yourself.
Take the time to look inward to see how you interact with your loved ones back home and far away. If you understand who you are and choose to be you every day, the less you will deal with emotional instability while being away from loved ones.
It is Okay to Not Be Okay
Always remember, it is okay to not be okay. Sometimes life throws harsh storms your way, which can be incredibly draining.
Swallowing your problems and letting them fester does no good. By addressing the problem at hand and working through it, you can learn more about yourself in the process.
Every storm has a way of teaching you to be stronger and showing you how to manage your emotions better. Through self-awareness about you react to hardship, you can be better prepared for separations from your loved ones while still maintaining emotional strength.
Maintain Emotional Stability and Strength
Having a hard time remaining emotionally stable while away from loved ones only makes you human.
Maintaining emotional stability and strength takes active practice and understanding of who you are. The more you reach outside your comfort zone, the more it can create emotional instability.
Yet with active understanding of your emotions, you can continue to stay strong through any storm that comes your way.
Even while traveling, I experienced the highs and lows of trying to manage my own emotions without loved ones near. I struggled with understanding my own reactions once I was away from my support system.
But the experience taught me more about myself, and how I deal with my own emotions. I did not have to only rely on myself, but I could reach out to those near me about my experiences.
In life, we are never alone. There are always others out there who are experiencing something similar to us. The key is to understand how to communicate positively with yourself to keep up with your emotional needs.
Take Care of Yourself
The underlying theme in maintaining emotional stability is to simply take care of yourself.
Only you know what you need to keep your emotions positive and healthy. Keep up the positive talk and continue to communicate with loved ones and the people who are near you.
No matter how far away you are from your support system, you are capable of more than you think. By taking care of yourself, you can balance your physical and emotional health for better living.
When I took a plane back home to my loved ones, I knew myself better than ever because I took a chance to be outside of my comfort zone. No matter how long you may be gone from those you love, it is possible to create a positive attitude about the distance.
Through any storm, it is possible to maintain a healthy outlook and maintain your emotional stability. It just takes a little practice, understanding, and self-compassion.
Jennifer Craig is a long-distance relationship success story. She started SurviveLDR for women who want to survive and thrive in long-distance relationships.