In This Article
Being an Expat: How to Stay Healthy
With an approximate 57 million expatriates living across the globe, each country provides a unique work-life balance for those looking for a new cultural perspective on life. Moving and working in another country and being an expat, offers so many advantages, from both professional and personal points of view. However, just like everyone else, being an expat will also give you concerns about your health, particularly when in an unfamiliar foreign country. There’s no doubt that relocating to another country can bring about higher stress and psychological issues…
But by using certain strategies, taking responsible precautions, and knowing what to do as an expat to integrate in a host country, will also improve your cultural and health competency.
Embracing a healthy approach
While the thirst for adventure and being an expat often drives people to experience living overseas, it can expose us to new diseases and germs, often without even realizing it. Try some ingredients or recipes from the country’s national dishes to familiarize yourself with new tastes and flavors to avoid such a shock to the system. While it’s important to embrace local food cultures, living abroad doesn’t necessarily mean eating out every day so when cooking at home make sure kitchen areas are kept clean and free of bacteria. Eating a balanced diet and giving a body time to adjust will help to provide the minerals and vitamins bodies need to stay healthy and aid digestion problems.
Maintaining mental health
Psychologists regularly suggest that moving abroad can benefit your mental health through fulfilling a degree of satisfaction and sense of accomplishment by living the dream of living abroad. Additionally, taking the steps to relocate to another country is likely to boost self confidence through learning new skills such as a language, and adapting to a new culture and surroundings which can enhance social or mental abilities. By using some simple methods to mentally cope with adapting, whether it’s for day-to-day activities, work or social aspects, the challenges faced, no matter how daunting initially, can ultimately improve a person’s overall well-being.
Keeping the body active
If moving to another country and being an expat where the climate is warm, it’s relatively easy to get outside; even if the weather isn’t great, it’s important to explore a new area to get a feel of local culture. Try to keep active every day and organize a routine that fits in with a work schedule. Additionally, joining a local gym, cycle or hiking group will not only benefit the body physically but can also help to make new friends and connections with other people. However, it’s important to be familiar with extreme climates and exercise accordingly to avoid putting any health issues in danger so doing your homework in relation to medical insurance, finding a local Dr or hospital is essential knowledge for any expat.
Consider the practicalities of being an expat and living in a new country and how best to integrate healthy habits in order to adapt to new cultures for a more active lifestyle, and remember that retaining a positive outlook is one of the best medicines for a successful transition.
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I have a Master's Degree in Organisational Psychology and have lived in the USA, the Netherlands and, currently, in Belgium.
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