For many, the prospect of moving abroad brings new adventures, new opportunities and new improvements to your lifestyle. Moving abroad feeds into a fantasy, escaping your current situation in search of somewhere more appealing.
You may put a lot of pressure on yourself to feel pleased with your decision, but sometimes it isn’t always that easy. Moving abroad can be daunting, especially with new cultures and languages to engage in, with some expats finding themselves experiencing feelings of isolation and stress. Feeling a sense of depression is not unusual, and there are ways to help yourself. Your mental health should always be the priority wherever you are, so it is important to learn about how to manage the emotional stress a big move abroad may have on you.
What is expat depression?
Depression is more than feeling unhappy now and then. When you suffer from depression you may be persistently sad for weeks on end, with low spirits and a lack of motivation to pursue your everyday lifestyle. Moving abroad requires tremendous amounts of energy, self-confidence, and independence, and sometimes any negative feelings can be swept under the rug in an attempt to remain optimistic. Expat depression is not a sign of weakness and it should be taken as seriously as any physical illness.
What causes expat depression?
Many things may lead you to feel depressed when you move to a new country. We have outlined some of the main reasons below.
- Overwhelming change
- Missing your previous career
- Missing family members, friends, or colleagues
- Relationship strains
- Cultural shock
Managing your mental health
When it comes to managing the emotional stress of moving abroad, there are a number of things you can do before and after your move to help ease those feelings. It is hugely important to tune into your emotions and not bottle anything inside.
Research – Ahead of any move, it is vital to do your research on the area you intend on moving to. Take a look at everything from the climate to the public transport system so that you know what to expect. Of course, you will never truly experience the new lifestyle until you live there, but having a top layer of knowledge will help you better understand what awaits you. You can find out everything you need to know about your country of choice in our country guides.
Network – Before and during the process of moving abroad, making new connections in the area you’re moving to is always a great idea. These people can act as a valuable source of information, providing you with advice on the local lifestyle, the best schools, things to do, and much more. Expats already living abroad will have been where you are now, and understand the overwhelming emotions that can often occur. They may be able to offer tips on how they manage their mental health and will be on hand to provide support and advice once you move there.
Practice mindfulness – It is not unusual to find yourself overthinking everything associated with the move. Am I making the right decision for my future? Will I regret moving? What if I can’t live a normal life? The mind can get so caught up in hypothetical questions that it can make it hard to process. Mindfulness is a great way to revert to reality. Take time to slow down and take your time, grounding yourself in the presence. There are plenty of practices you can do to help clear your head, for example doing breathing exercises or taking 10 minutes each day to meditate. You can find some useful mindfulness practices on Headspace and other apps.
Ask for help – When you feel down and alone, it is easy to isolate yourself from the outside world and keep everything inside. Withdrawing will contribute to these feelings, if not make them worse. It is important to reach out if you feel yourself becoming emotionally stressed, and there are a number of things you can do. For example,
- Start a conversation on an expat forum
- Join a local social group
- Speak to family and friends regularly
- Arrange professional help online
A problem shared is a problem halved, and it goes without saying that speaking up will help you feel less alone. Establishing a strong support system is pivotal when it comes to your managing own mental health.
At Global Moving Services, we provide moving services all over the globe. Our packages cover every detail of your move, helping relieve any feelings of stress and uncertainty from your shoulders. Our international removals service includes a variety of offerings, as well as all of the help and support you need. Get in touch with our friendly team today to discover how we can help you move abroad with confidence.
Take a look at our international moving advice from our move managers if you are planning a move abroad.