5 ways to improve your life as an au pair
Au pairs work with a host family to care for children in a foreign country. While this cultural exchange comes with great benefits (including the chance to travel), it can also involve many challenges – physical and mental.
Like any other job that requires travel and adapting to a new environment, being an au pair can have moments that are lonely and stressful. However, these are challenges that you can certainly overcome. The good news is, au pairs can learn from each other, as they do their jobs in different countries.
In this article, we’ll show you 5 ways to improve your life as an au pair. If you ever feel lonely and stressed out, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
When times get rough, remember to take a breath, and then evaluate the situation. As an au pair, you can sometimes get stressed out when times are tough. In such situations, stress can also interfere with your au pair duties, not to mention your general feelings of well-being. However, when you stop and breathe, you’ll be able to reflect on the situation. As you breathe and reflect, you’ll be able to make clear decisions that improve your situation.
2. Remind yourself that you’re here for a reason
The contributions au pairs make to families around the world make a real difference - for kids and parents. Understand and remember just how important you are to your host family. No matter what your personal goals are as an au pair – whether it’s to build up your resume, seek adventure, get a change of scenery, learn a new language or some combination of all of these – remind yourself every so often what it is that you're accomplishing. That way you can stay encouraged and be proud of what you've undertaken.
3. If things are hard, remember they'll get better over time
Feeling homesick or stressed can take its toll on you and seem very difficult. But at such times, it's important to remember that these experiences are part of a larger flow, that everyone has hard days and that you shouldn't doubt yourself or be down on yourself because you're not feeling good at a particular moment.
Like rainy days, homesickness and stress will pass if you have some patience and keep following your dreams. In other words, there are better times ahead.
Plus, your host family will be grateful that you’re there as a new part of the family. Don’t be afraid to share your emotions with your host family. This allows you to be more transparent to them and to develop a deeper relationship, as you spend more time with them. And don't forget about your network of friends and family at home. Even if you're not seeing them every day, they're still important to you and you're important to them.
4. Socialise & discover your new environment
One of the best parts of being an au pair is getting to know a new place and all the different things that belong to that new world - a new language, new sights, new customs and new friends. There typically are great opportunities for travel and sightseeing inside your new host country. Plus, you can meet other au pairs and share these great new discoveries with them!
5. Practice self-care
Finally, take care of yourself. Even when you’re helping a host family, you can still keep an eye on your own needs as well. Treat yourself to a lunch at a restaurant, take a walk in the park, or take time for a hobby or passion that you love to do back at home. Even stretching and exercising can put you in a better mood. Don’t let anything hold you back, as you strive to care for yourself during your time as an au pair. All it takes is listening to your body. When you’re tired, take a break. When you’re stressed, then step back and take a deep breath. Staying aware of your own needs at this level is a key part of taking care of yourself during your stay.
Remember: There will be times when you – the au pair – will get stressed out from the work or from homesickness or from culture shock. That’s totally normal. But this doesn't need to define your whole experience.
So, if you feel that times are a little bit tough during your au pair stay, don’t be afraid to seek help from your family, friends, other au pairs. And keep these 5 practical tips in mind, as you continue to pursue your adventure.
I wish you the best of luck in your travels and discoveries!
About the author:
Alex Dubinski is a writer and editor at Liverpool Writing Service and GumEssays. He is also a contributing writer for Essay Writing Service. As a content writer, he writes articles about marketing, travelling, and international trends and has worked as an online marketing strategist for five years.