Moving Abroad: Caring for Your Health and Wellbeing

moving abroad

Moving abroad is an exciting time, filled with new opportunities and experiences and maybe also some apprehension. As you start your new life abroad, it’s important to recognise that amongst the excitement and logistics, your health and wellbeing need to remain a priority. 

In this blog, we explore how you can look after your mental and physical health when you move abroad, looking at practical tips and solutions to help make it a smooth transition.  

Keep active

Keeping active is important for both your physical health and mental wellbeing. Exercise releases endorphins, which can help to improve mood, whilst also building strength. If you had a routine for exercise before you moved abroad, you could try to emulate that in your new home. If you liked going to the gym regularly, look for a local gym so you can maintain your usual routine.

You could also take the opportunity to try something new and find local sports clubs or exercise classes. Not only would this be a good way to keep active, but you could also meet new people and start to build a network of friends in your new area.

If there is a large expat community in your new home, you may find they have clubs and teams. Meeting expats can help to integrate you into the local community with like-minded people who might already speak your language, which can be helpful whilst you’re still learning the local language.

Maintain a healthy diet

Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet is vital to maintaining good health. Eating nutritious food can also support your mental wellbeing and help to keep you energised and engaged.

Moving to a new country can make maintaining your usual diet tricky as you might not be able to access the foods you are used to. If this is the case, you could take the opportunity to try new local food – you could find some new favourites. 

You should aim to eat plenty of fresh food, including fruits and vegetables. You could also look for ingredients that remind you of home and cook meals that you are used to. This can be a great way of experiencing some home comforts whilst also eating a nutritious meal. 

Get international health insurance 

It’s important that you’re able to access quality healthcare wherever you move to. In order to do this, you should ensure you’re covered with comprehensive international health insurance.

The right health insurance policy will give you access to quality private healthcare providers in your area. This can be especially helpful in countries where the public healthcare system may be of a lower standard than you are used to in your home country. 

It can also be beneficial in countries that may have a good standard of public healthcare, but have extremely long waiting lists, as private healthcare will typically have much shorter waiting periods for treatment.

Another benefit of private healthcare abroad is that you will be more likely to find a healthcare professional who speaks your language, which can make getting the right treatment and information about your health much simpler and less stressful. 

Build a local network

Moving abroad can be isolating, which can have a negative impact on your mental wellbeing. So, it’s important to build a local network of friends that you can call on for socialising and support. It will be helpful to learn the local language if it’s different to your home language, as this will make it so much easier to build relationships with local people.

You can start learning before you move, and then keep up with classes even once you’ve relocated. Once you’re living in the country, you’ll likely find it easier to pick up the language. 

You can also build a local community with expats in the area. This can be beneficial as they’ll likely be experiencing a lot of the same culture shock and homesickness that you are, so you can reach out to them for support and tips to cope. Often expat communities will hold regular events so you can network with people in your local area and make friends. 

You may like to check out 8 Things You Will Wish You Had Packed For Your Big Move Overseas.

Make time for self-care

Moving abroad can be an extremely busy time, and you might find you’re juggling a lot of things like a new job, setting up a new home, and caring for family members who have moved abroad with you. However, it’s vital that you find time to give yourself a break and look after yourself, otherwise, you could burn out. 

Self-care will look different for everyone. You might find exercise is your self-care, or perhaps you enjoy meditation, reading a book, arts and crafts, or taking a long bath. Whatever it is that makes you feel relaxed and rejuvenated, make sure you regularly find time to look after yourself. 

Set realistic expectations

It’s likely that it will take some time for you to properly settle into your new home abroad. You should be realistic about what you can achieve and the timeframe you can achieve it in. You’re unlikely to pick up the local language and find friends within the first week, and that’s ok. Give yourself time to settle in and find your rhythm in your new home. 

This should extend to all parts of your new life abroad. If you’re starting a new job, try not to take on too much too soon. Give yourself time to pick up the new role and learn the ropes and keep in contact with your manager so they know what to expect from you. 

Keep in touch with loved ones

Moving abroad will undoubtedly come with some amount of homesickness. One way to help alleviate this is to keep in contact with loved ones back home.

Whilst you will want to build a new local support network, you can still speak to those at home. Try to schedule in a phone call or video call regularly, so you can update your loved ones about how your move is going and they can keep you updated with their news too. 

Find home comforts

Another way to help alleviate home sickness is to look for home comforts in your new country. If possible, you could bring a few things from home and set them up in your new home, like ornaments, cushions, or artwork. Or, you could think about what you really enjoyed back home and see if you can find it in your new country. You could make your favourite meal or enjoy a film night of your favourite films. 

If you’re struggling to find some of your favourite snacks in your new country, you could ask a loved one back home to send you a care package of your favourite things. This might include biscuits, tea bags, crisps, and any small thing that will remind you of home. 

Seek professional help

If you’re really struggling with low mood, you should always speak to a professional. A healthcare provider will have the right training and advice to guide you through what you’re experiencing, by listening to your issues and providing helpful solutions. 

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