Moving abroad is a crucial decision. For most expats, it is natural to experience the feeling of isolation, but it shouldn’t last long. According to a recent study, stress levels faced by expats were three times higher, along with feelings of depression, anxiety, and isolation.
The tricky part is that for expats there is a difference between the normal process of cultural adjustment, and overcoming language barriers. These things take time to settle down, but eventually, they do. But there are some difficulties that don’t seem to ease with every passing day, rather they get worse. Before this turmoil takes control of other areas of life is when you need to pay attention.
Since the onset of Covid 19, things haven’t changed much. Rather the pandemic has made things worse. So for this generation of international citizens, expats, and foreign workers, what are the challenges they face concerning their mental health, and how can they tackle them? This is exactly what we are going to discuss today, with 10 tips that can assist you to overcome the issues expats face.
1. Break Down Your Problems
No matter how gigantic your problems break them into smaller fragments. This way you will work them out easily, one by one, and also help you to shift focus on more important issues.
2. Shift Your Focus On The Positive
During these trying times, it’s very hard to keep the focus on the positive. Especially when you are living an expat life, it’s natural that things don’t go as per your plan.
Don’t allow negative feelings to take hold of you. Avoiding them will make you more optimistic in finding a solution. Focus on things that you are grateful for even in these trying times. Include this habit in your daily routine. Sometimes, all it takes is to pause and reflect to put your life in perspective.
3. Build A Strong Support Network
Expat life is a life away from family and friends. More so during the pandemic, when the borders are closed, and you cannot think about traveling to see them. The need to have people around with which you can talk or seek help is more important than ever. If you have moved recently, this can be a daunting task to do. Take your time to build new social connections in its foreign land. Life gets a whole lot easier when you have people around who can help you. It can be in the form of friends, family, or colleagues, a problem shared is a problem halved.
4. Make Use Of Digital Technology
As spending time away from home was cited as the most depressing thought for expats, you need to recognize the importance of digital technology to connect with your loved ones. Video calling is highly helpful, more when you are feeling lonely and isolated in a new location. Skype, Zoom, and Facetime provide outstanding video calling option for this purpose.
5. Look After Your Well Being
Nobody can deny the importance of self-care, as it goes a long way in helping tackle day to day problems. Make sure that you sleep well, eat proper wholesome meals, and get enough physical exercise. All these will make you feel better instantly. It is because when you look after yourself, you feel more confident about your abilities. This quality can help you in making your way through difficult times.
6. Don’t Overexert Yourself
Accept the fact that you are a human, not a bot. You should learn to say no when things start taking their toll on you. If you keep overexerting, you will feel overwhelmed and burnout. It’s rather better that you identify your limits and avoid reaching that point. In turbulent times, such as the pandemic, you will be able to process yourself smoothly, as you will have learned the art of managing your stress. Be honest with people around you, and don’t forget that it is okay to seek help.
7. Set Realistic Goals
Expat depression is a thing, and you need to remember this too. You need to set realistic goals for yourself. It’s comprehendible that you want to please your new boss, but in the long run, set realistic goals for yourself. It’s better to under-promise and over-deliver, not the reverse. Since expat depression is a reality, if you continue to be unrealistic, it will create chaos with your mental well being.
8. Try To Be More Self-Aware
For many expats, their responses during rough times come as a shock to them, as they were never acquainted with this side of their personality. You need to understand your shortcomings. Without doing so, you cannot take necessary measures to counter them. There can never be any worse time more than this pandemic. There is a constant lingering fear, in both your new and old home. You are uncertain about everything. This is where your self-awareness can help you get through this as well.
9. Be Resilient
Resilience is the key to success, in all matters. If you feel enveloped by fears and uncertainties, remember the reason why you left home. What made you give up your comfort and solace? What made you say goodbye to your friends and family? You had dreams which needed to be fulfilled. Your foreign job or business opportunity was a chance to visualize your dreams. Don’t give up on them. Tough times never last long, but your ability to fight them will surely do.
10. Seek Help
In the end, if all else doesn’t help, don’t shy from seeking help. If you sense things are going beyond control, seek help. They are highly qualified professionals who are trained to assist people in coming out of their depression blues, stress, and anxiety. If your counseling doesn’t seem to work, they will prescribe other methods to help you come out of this situation. You need to be consistent and allow them do their job.