top of page


... stories, adventures and all things related to life in Singapore and Southeast Asia by AWA members

Approaching Change with Confidence

"You're Not Alone, Really" - Coping with the Ups and Downs of Expat Life, by Andrea McKenna Brankin

Seasons don’t change here in Singapore. Maybe sometimes a little more rain or heat. But change in other ways always has a way of creeping into our lives. Managing change can be one of the most mentally challenging things that we do every day, week, month, year. Here are some tips on how to get your head wrapped around new ideas, environments, routines, housing, school, work, health and more.


I find that accepting change is by far the most challenging part of change. If it’s hard to do, the best thing is to move forward with a plan.

Pace yourself

You don’t have to change everything at once. Take things-to-do in pieces. Writing things down can help!

Make lists

A subset of pacing yourself is to make lists to break down tasks. Put things in order of necessity, urgency and ease. You can decide which is best to do first if you choose from those topics.

Ask for help

If you’re new to Singapore, you might have noticed that DIY is not really a thing. Plumbers do plumbing, electricians do wiring, painters do painting, refinishers do refinishing of furniture, etc. Don’t take it all on yourself. Ask your AWA friends where to get things done and who can do it. We all work a lot on referrals around here!

Look for new opportunities

If you’ve had a change such as a loss, maybe a loved one, a job or even becoming an empty-nester, look at our beloved AWA website for some new activities. Learning new things changes the brain and helps overcome stuck patterns. Moreover, fun and fellowship is sure to be available to you with groups such as crafting, walking, tennis and I heard a rumor that we may even get into the pickleball craze.

Don't self-isolate

Two subsets that can also help manage change include being around other people and not isolating, something comes along with change and grief over what you’ve lost.

Getting yourself into a routine

Getting into a routine can come hand in hand with doing new activities and taking new opportunities that run on a schedule. AWA’s Willing Hearts and Food from the Heart volunteer food prep both operate on a weekly schedule, so you can give a little and get a little back, too, from helping others.

Recognize Avoidance

Avoid self-medicating with alcohol or, in my case, over-shopping, or any other activity that you may do too much of. Even sleeping too much can be unhelpful. These things show that we are avoiding dealing with our problems. The first step is recognizing it. Then you can take appropriate action to help yourself.

Don’t ignore self-care

This may be as simple as doing a face mask while watching Netflix. It also could be getting to that dental cleaning or getting your regular breast exam. Don’t ignore your mental and physical health needs.

Talk about it

The AWA has a special group that I run called Listen Ladies. Come express your feelings and receive listening ears and open hearts. We have Coffee Talks and Walk and Talks every month. Sign up and come feel the AWA love!


A mental health advocate and author of the book Bipolar Phoenix, Andrea runs the AWA Listen Ladies Group, providing confidential support for members at regular meetings. You can reach her at


AWA Magazine Logo-no circle-2.jpg

AWA members are women who come from many countries and life experiences but they all have one thing in common — they have chosen to live in Singapore. Some members are new to Singapore,  while some have been here a long time or have returned to Singapore after time away. Our magazine - written and curated by AWA members - focuses on a diverse range of topics including wellness and family, travel tips, cultural events and information, and other helpful tips around navigating and experiencing life in Singapore to it's fullest. 

bottom of page