For many people, relocating to a new country may be the result of much deliberation and planning, whereas, for many others, the opportunity to live abroad can often come calling when they least expect it.
Whether it’s a new job, a relationship, or simply the desire to seek out new experiences and cultures, many situations in life can take you to foreign lands. While there may be much excitement and enthusiasm for your new life, it is quite natural to feel apprehension and overwhelm at the same time.
Leaving the comforts of your familiar environment for a country where you may not know anyone nor speak the language will undoubtedly come with some challenges. According to a study by international health insurance provider, Aetna International, 94% of ex-pats are unprepared for mental health issues when relocating abroad.
To help you cope with the psychological impact of emigrating, this article has outlined some tips to help you maintain your mental health when living abroad.
Give yourself time to adjust
Take your time to settle into your new surroundings. As opposed to a holiday where you have a limited amount of time to take in the sights and sounds of your new city, when residing abroad you will have plenty of time to get to know your new locale and familiarise yourself with the customs and way of life.
As an expat you will likely have to take care of many administrative and legal matters such as finding an apartment, obtaining visas, finding a job and paying taxes. Learning the ins and outs of a new system can be challenging as well as time-consuming and it can help to consult an immigration lawyer such as Prudent Law.
Leaving your home country and your friends and family behind can feel like a huge loss at first. This is especially felt when you don’t know anyone and may feel socially isolated in your new surroundings.
This is why it is important to build a network of friends who can support you in setting in by showing you around, introducing you to new people, and being a sympathetic ear as well as a helpful guide when you are facing the challenges of setting up home in your new country. Connecting with other expats can be a great way to feel welcomed and forge friendships with people who understand what you are going through and can be there to help you feel less lonely despite being far away from home.
Find a work-life balance
If you are moving abroad for a new job, your work duties can quickly overshadow the rest of your life. Adjusting to new work culture and making a good impression on your colleagues, clients and boss can understandably take precedence when you first arrive.
However, to prevent the pressure of your work life from overtaking the rest of the hours in your day it is important to carve out enough time for yourself and your loved ones. This is especially important if you are moving abroad with your family. Your mental health will benefit from spending quality time with friends and family as well as exercising and enjoying recreational pursuits in your new destination.
The tips in this article can help prepare you mentally for your life in a new country.
Tommy Williamson did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.
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