Living outside your native country can be a fun yet challenging task. Although mental health conditions arise due to many factors, having a drastic change in your lifestyle, such as living abroad, can trigger these problems too.
The stress of relocating, language barriers, homesickness, adapting to new people and lifestyle, and in general, having a rapid shift in the way you lived your life can feel overwhelming. Although cultural adeptness takes some time and patience, there are things you can do to make your life abroad a lot easier.
Let’s have a look at the 5 Top Tips for Good Mental Health as an Expat:
1. Seek a connection
One of the best things you can do is try and find fellow expats in your area. You often see such people in language classes or in communities where people from abroad live in groups. Having people with familiar faces and language to talk to can be exhilarating. They can also share some valuable tips to help you settle better.
Also, try to befriend your neighbours or other people in the new country. Who knows, they might have similar interests, and you start getting along pretty well. Having friendly connections will help your loneliness and make you feel more comfortable.
2. Give yourself time to adjust
Adjusting to a new culture and country is naturally a slow process. It takes time, and you have to be patient. Don’t push yourself too hard. Accept that you will have some cultural surprise, cultural shock and cultural stress.
If you find yourself overwhelmed, understand that living abroad is a complete change in lifestyle, it will feel difficult to leave your previous habits, but you will adjust with time.
3. Go out and exercise
Staying isolated in your new home is not a good idea. Isolation and inactivity lead to depression and negative thoughts, regardless of where you are. Instead, explore the area and go out for a walk whenever you feel like it.
Exercising helps you feel better and improves mental health in general. Exploring the place will help you be familiar with it and also socialize with your neighbours or going for a jog daily might even help you make friends with other joggers.
4. Learn coping skills and how to manage stress
Stress is a part of life that follows us everywhere. To avoid burnouts, we have to learn techniques to help ourselves manage stress. Learn mindfulness meditation and keep a close eye on your thoughts. If we let our minds run wild, the situation will only get worse. So, we have to learn to manage and control our stress.
Learn your triggers and what makes you feel agitated. Work on accepting and confronting those triggers, and with the time you will get used to things, and they won’t feel as bad as they once used to.
5. Seek professional help
Several online therapy services are offered keeping expats in mind. If you find it difficult to handle stress and find it difficult to adjust even after months, then seek a therapist online or locally.
A therapist can help you rationalize your fears and approach your expat problems better. A therapist can teach you coping skills and how you can understand and adjust to the new culture in a better way.
Expat life can be hard to deal with, especially in the beginning phases. But, with time, it gets better and easier. Time and patience are a part of the process. In the meantime, using these approaches mentioned above will help you go through difficult times and help make the cultural adjustment a whole lot easier.