Guide to taking Care of your Mental Health Overseas
Depression arises from a mixture of various complex internal and external social, psychological, biological level factors. Various triggering factors play as major contributors over here affecting the individual severely such as loss of a loved one, financial debt, etc. Here are a few ways you can identify Depression and why it needs to be dealt with seriously.
Living abroad has a lot of different challenges, and it has its ups and downs. To cope with them, you’ll need a lot of time, patience, and practice. Loneliness, homesickness, and cultural shocks, in the beginning, can leave severe consequences to a human being and even lead to ex-pat depression. No matter where you live, with modern solutions and modern technology, you may have access to all the help you need for taking care of your mental health overseas. You may also find support groups and people having the same struggles as you everywhere across the world. In this article, we’ll discover some of the ways to take care of your mental health overseas.
Ensure to have a good and fresh start
First, you need to make sure that you have a good start. Packing a few bags and flying off to a foreign country to start a new life chapter is quite stressful. However, there are a few crucial things to ease your struggles. If you have professional help for moving abroad and help from your family and friends along the way, it will reduce your stress and minimize your worries. It will also ensure that you can start anew with fresh energy.
When relocating overseas, you have a lot to look forward to. You will see new places and experience new things, so don’t let the fear of the unknown blind you. To overcome anxiety, loneliness, and homesickness, sometimes, all you need is a single item reminding you of home and bringing you that special feeling of comfort and familiarity. It’s not a miraculous artifact that will wipe away all your problems, but it may help you reduce the feeling of homesickness.
I’ll let you in on a secret: There’s a term called “Anchoring” in public speaking. Essentially, you bring a small item with you (ring, keychain, or any number of things) which holds positive memories and emotions for you. While on stage, if you get nervous, you touch the “anchor” item, and it helps you calm down and remember the positive things. The same method works for living abroad – bring your anchor, and rest easy knowing it will keep you safe in your harbor.
Nowadays, there are so many freely available tools for communication with your loved ones. It will be effortless to communicate with your family and friends with Skype, WhatsApp, Viber, and other social media applications. In the beginning, opt to schedule frequent calls and discuss what’s happening in everybody’s lives.
Bonus: Go old school, and send a few letters or postcards. Yes, real, physical ones. There’s something about it that will make you feel great about doing it, and the recipients all the more grateful.
Build your network
It’s not just family and friends in your home country that can help you feel less alone. In each spot on the planet, many fellow ex-pats are going through the same thing as you are. Do a google search or a Facebook search to find communities of people from your country, living right there where you are, and connect with them. It’s incredible how so many people can share such similar feelings, so you can always encourage and comfort each other. You can build strong friendships, partnerships, and even romantic relationships that can last a lifetime.
You’ll also have the opportunity to make friends in your new neighborhood and your new office. Having people to talk to is vital for each person’s mental health. Familiar faces and voices have the power to make us feel at home even in a distant corner on the other side of the planet.
Find ways to relax
Our thoughts can easily overwhelm us. Luckily, there are many ways to feel good and overcome all obstacles. To get back on the right track, try meditation. It has many benefits such as self-awareness, reduction of anxiety, increased emotional health, balanced energy, etc. It may help you adapt better to the new environment.
You can also start going to group yoga classes. It will not only be an opportunity to meet new people and make new friends, but it will also ensure that you’re in great physical shape. There is a strong connection between taking care of your physical health and taking care of your mental health. Find time for exercise to reduce anxiety and depression and make you feel better. If your circumstances allow it, try visiting a spa and book a massage at least once a month.
Your health should be a top priority at all times, especially when living abroad, so make sure you have a global health insurance policy. Besides that, ensure you’re getting enough sleep and eating healthy. Besides yoga and meditation, there are many ways to relieve stress healthily:
- Make reading your number one healthy habit
- Go running or speed walking
- Listen to your favorite music
- Do gardening
- Do any creative hobby which includes crafting, e.g. knitting
- Practice holistic healing methods
Balance your work and private life
If you are one of those people who are moving across the globe for a better job opportunity, you may end up spending a lot of time working on your projects and staying overtime in your office. The limited-time for social connections and family life can lead to burnout. In the beginning, you’ll be under the pressure of adapting to a new work environment; you’ll need to meet your employers’ expectations and prove yourself. Doing that constantly for an extended period of time will let you thoroughly drained – mentally as well as physically. The only solution to cope with that stressful situation is to balance your work and private life.
Good organization is instrumental, so create your plans, reminders, to-do lists and allocate enough “for me” hours regularly. It will gradually lead to a significant improvement in your mental health.
Give yourself time to adjust and adapt
Adaption to living overseas is a gradual process. It cannot happen overnight, so don’t push yourself too much. It’s not just taking care of your mental health overseas; there’s much more. Give yourself time to adjust to a new environment and maneuver around your new place. Residing abroad may at first seem like a long vacation, but it’s far from that. You’ll need to endeavor to overcome various obstacles, such as cultural surprise and cultural shock. Don’t be hard on yourself, and don’t worry, because sooner or later, you’ll embrace the culture and customs and feel like a local. Taking care of your mental health is a first step on the path to your fulfilled life overseas. Enjoy the process.
Emma Hewitt, a person of many interests, is a yoga instructor, a nutritionist, and a vegan. She is also a certified life coach and an animal rights activist. She spends her free time meditating and enjoying life with her two fur babies.