Being an expat can be challenging under normal circumstances, but with the added pressures of COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to foster a healthy and positive mindset.
Without the regular support of family and friends which you might have at home, it can be easy for anxiety to set in.
However, by following these 7 steps, you can avoid being overwhelmed and instead learn how to create and maintain positive mental health.
1. Allow Yourself To Adjust To Your New Environment
Exciting though it may be to move to a new country, it can also be very challenging and stressful.
Not only will you have left the familiar comforts of family and friends behind, but the culture of your new home may be quite different to what you were used to before.
Make sure that you allow yourself some time to adjust to your new situation and circumstances by adjusting your expectations and demands on yourself.
2. A Balanced Work-Life Routine
A healthy work-life balance is a cornerstone of good mental health wherever you live.
In order to avoid burnout, create a daily routine that includes some time to yourself.
Spend time doing activities that you enjoy, as well as working.
Similarly, make sure that you factor in some time to socialize, whether in person or online.
3. Set Realistic Work Goals
Reflect honestly and impartially on your goals.
High work expectations can cause stress, which can be amplified during stressful times such as the pandemic.
Adjust your goals so they are achievable and realistic.
Ensure that you can successfully meet your employer’s expectations, but don’t attempt to overextend yourself.
Instead, be realistic about what you can achieve within your given work hours.
4. Limit Exposure To The News
Whilst it’s important to stay updated with the latest developments, especially those surrounding COVID-19, continuous exposure to the news and to misinformation can become overwhelming. ‘
Instead, limit your exposure to the news, including on your social media feeds.
Ensure you have access to up-to-date, factual information from a reliable news source, but limit how often you check it.
5. Create A Strong Social Network
Despite social distancing measures and restrictions, it’s still possible to socialize.
Apps, such as Zoom, Skype and WhatsApp, allow you to reconnect with friends and family from across the globe.
You may even decide to attend a virtual party with your friends back home.
Alternatively, you might give a “virtual experience” a go, such as a virtual wine tasting session or an online dance class.
You can also connect with other expats via social media or join a social group or online community to help you build a stronger network.
Another option is to take a virtual tour, for example of a museum and gallery, with a friend at the same time online.
6. Limit Alcohol Consumption
What may start as a simple drink to help you relax can quickly escalate into heavy drinking as a way to cope with stress or anxiety.
However, alcohol and drugs are both very dangerous and damaging to your overall health and can actually exacerbate your feelings of depression and anxiety. Instead, avoid drugs and try to reduce your alcohol consumption.
7. Daily Exercise
It’s common knowledge that exercise can be very helpful for boosting your mental health.
Regular exercise can even help to reduce anxiety, depression and enable you to improve your overall health.
Try to set aside some time to exercise each day, even if it’s just a simple walk around your neighborhood.
Alternatively, give mindful practices such as yoga and meditation a go.
You could join an online group or even do some exercise virtually with friends and family.
Maintaining a healthy mindset has never been more important, especially if you’re an expat.
Structure your days so that you are able to achieve your work expectations, whilst still creating some time to yourself.
Make use of technology to reconnect with family and friends, as well as to build new networks and relationships.
Remember to look after your whole body by eating well, limiting alcohol consumption and factoring in some exercise each day.
Above all, be kind to yourself and take each day at a time.
Kristin Herman is an experienced lifestyle writer at Studydemic.com and she has written for a number of online magazines and blogs.
An expat herself, Kristin enjoys meeting new people, attending virtual classes and is also a member of various online communities.
When not writing, she enjoys running and partaking in online yoga classes.