How to prevent expat stress

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6 tips for dealing with the stresses of moving overseas

If you’re considering moving abroad, or are in the process of doing so, you’re probably already aware that it isn’t an easy, breezy process.

Moving house is always stressful, moving overseas is even more nerve-wracking! But there are steps you can take to avoid unnecessary anxieties and put you in a positive state of mind ready for the big move.

1. Talk

It’s important to remember that the family you’re taking with you are going through the exact same emotions as you, meaning that they’re just as stressed as you. It’s vital during times of emotional strain to share and discuss your anxieties and concerns with others, particularly with those who are going through it with you. Bottling up stress will only lead to it overflowing eventually, so deal with your negative emotions head-on and remember you’re not alone.

2. Prepare

As with any situation, preparation is key to ensuring a task is carried smoothly, and the same goes for moving abroad. As you’ve probably already discovered, moving to another country is a lengthy process, which requires a lot of paperwork and organisation. Starting this process early will ensure that you’re not still trying to complete administrative tasks once you’ve moved, saving yourself a lot of unnecessary stress in the long run. Make yourself a list and tick things off as you go. Every time you tick something off, you can rest assured that there’s one less thing to stress about!

3. Be positive

When your stress levels are high, it’s easy to doubt yourself and the choice you made to move in the first place. But stay positive and remind yourself of the reasons you decided to move. Focus on the opportunities and benefits of moving your family to this country, and remember why your native country isn’t the best place for your family to live anymore. Staying in this frame of mind will ensure you continue looking forward to the future rather than living in the past and what might have been if you stayed.

4. Prioritise family

Expatriating can place additional strains on your family network, as well as on individual members, so it’s vital to remind yourself of what’s most important – your family. Ensure the rest of your family are as eager about the move as you are, or if not, at least understand the need to move away. Do some research on the opportunities for the rest of your family in your new country so that everyone feels involved in the decision.

5. Exercise

Or at least, find an alternative outlet for your stress. Exercise has been proven to relieve pent-up tensions and leave you with a more positive outlook on your problems. Other great ways of dealing with stress are reading, listening to music or spending some well-deserved time to pamper yourself. A new hobby will give you the temporary distraction you need to clear your mind and equip you to deal with any issues that you’re faced with. The main thing is to look after yourself and to give yourself some downtime from your hectic and all-encompassing schedule.

6. Accept help

Sure, moving overseas is a stressful process, but there’s no reason for you to deal with the stress alone. If you’re moving abroad with your family, make sure that everyone takes an active role and has a specific task that they are responsible for. This will not only allow you to share the load you’re carrying, but it will also ensure the rest of your family feels involved and important in the transition.

Moving abroad can place a great deal of strain on your emotional well-being, as well as the family unit so it’s important to face your problems together. Stay positive, and remember why you chose to move in the first place. Keep in mind that stress is only temporary, and that within a few months of moving, you’ll be wondering why you were so worried to begin with!

Need to talk 1-1 about your move and life overseas with someone who 'gets it'? Consider me your own, personal expat expert! I'm here for you.

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  1. This is such a good list! My moving stresses tend to revolve around the pets (inoculations, import and export red tape etc) and the shipment (how much will it cost this time!). Your advice is spot on, crossing off achievements no matter how small and talking worries through with loved ones really do help.

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