5 Valuable Tips to Stop Anxiety Ruining Your Expatriation Plans
For those living with panic and anxiety disorders, the prospect of traveling abroad can be debilitating. Throw moving to another country into the mix; for some, it is too much to handle. Whether your anxiety is a culmination of previous experiences or the common problem of imagining the utter worst, many are missing opportunities of a lifetime and being left grounded by fears.
Anxiety is personal to the individual, and what might work for some is not ideal for others. However, within the five tips below, we hope expats-to-be that are engulfed in worry and panic can find a fraction of solace and begin to look forward to their exciting new lives abroad.
What am I Scared of?
There are many people who dislike traveling for a variety of reasons. However, for those who have fear or anxiety, it morphs into an ugly monster that is hard to detain. Spending time to focus on yourself can be extremely revealing, allowing you to get to the root cause as to why you panic at the thought of expat life.
The most common anxiety trigger is flying. A phobia of heights or air travel can scupper some expat dreams, but you will have enough time pre-move to make positive changes. There are a number of books available that will help those with fear, as well as dedicated courses with various airlines such as British Airways and Virgin. Another option is to visit your doctor; they can prescribe medication that can help keep you calm.
When you move abroad, there can sometimes be barriers when it comes to culture or language. Not only can this be daunting enough to some expats, but many are petrified of getting ill abroad and panicking about finding care. Planning ahead in regards to healthcare can really diminish anxiety in some individuals. Make yourself a fact sheet, containing all the emergency numbers, hospital addresses and medical facilities in the locality of your new home. Research as much as possible and have comprehensive travel insurance. Feeling prepared can allow you to have more control of your anxiety.
Lastly, the prospect of missing home is too much to bear for some. Make sure to pack some of your favourite treasures when you are packing to move abroad, as well as photographs. There are some great apps for keeping in touch and Skype is championed amongst expats. Arrange video chats with your family and friends as much as you like, if they are aware of your anxiety they will be at your beck and call until you are settled.
Buy the Tickets
Once you have at least recognized what is making you anxious about living abroad, buy a one-way ticket. Taking the plunge and setting a date is important, you then have something to focus your thoughts on. Having a mental hurdle that you will inevitably need to jump is much healthier than days riddled with worry. Avoiding the purchase of your ticket will only increase fear because, by putting it off, you have created what’s known as negative reinforcement. Buying the ticket allows you to get the ball rolling and is a huge step in not only tackling your anxiety, but creating a new expat future.
Do not pretend that you are moving abroad, embrace it! Now could be a fantastic opportunity to treat yourself. Chances are, you have been sick to your stomach with fear for months, now let’s turn this experience on its head and make it positive. Wherever you are moving to, treat yourself to new clothes and gadgets. Obviously get the essentials (that adapter plug will become your best friend) but also splurge a little.
Another fantastic tip is to treat the first week of your new life abroad as a holiday. If you have work commitments, head out a week early. Staying in a hotel before you move into your new home, or arranging activities, can feel like a mini holiday and help you ease into your new surroundings. If possible, even have a family member or friend accompany you during this period.
Go with Somebody
Sometimes, moving abroad is a solo mission. In this situation strike up relationships with people local to your new area. Friendable and Butter are apps created specifically for expats to make friends in their new countries. There is no shame in being honest with people and telling them you are anxious about your move and feeling isolated or lonely. Remember, people will have been in your shoes and will, therefore, be extremely understanding and friendly.
If circumstances allow, plan your venture with another in mind. Whether this individual is you partner, sibling or friend, living as an expat with somebody you trust can make for an incredible experience. Sharing a new life abroad can help alleviate fears and anxiety; halving the load and always having somebody to fall back on.
Have Visits Booked
Not only is this top tip ideal for those who will miss home, it is a great plan for all anxiety sufferers. Before you have even left home, make sure you have a couple of visitor trips booked. Depending on your new location, have friends visit for a week, or get Mum and Dad over for a bit of sun. Having plans set in stone before you have even touched down gives your mind something to look forward to. Regardless as to how long you have been an expat, always make sure a trip is booked before another has even happened. Anxiety and homesickness can strike at any time, and knowing you are flying home or have family visiting can help keep panic at bay.
Expatriate Healthcare have four different insurance policies dedicated to expats. All plans can be tailored to suit the needs of the individual, and expats will have the flexibility to choose from different tiers of cover. Expatriates can receive a free, no obligation quote which will allow them to start building a solid and safe foundation for their lives abroad.
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