Maintaining Positive Mental Health Overseas

I love this quote and think that it’s more true than ever in the world of social media, where we often only see the highlights of peoples lives. World Mental Health Day seemed like an appropriate day to share this and I wanted to talk a little bit about living and working overseas and how difficult this can be.

Living so close to the beach, in a beautiful place where the sun is always shining, probably looks like a pretty nice life and in many ways, it is. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have it’s challenges though and I think that most people that have worked overseas, particularly in the travel industry, will be able to relate to how difficult it can be at times.

Moving away from your social circle and the support of your family and friends is always going to be a challenge. In my experience, loneliness and homesickness are the biggest difficulties for people when they first move overseas.

The longer I’ve lived overseas, the more I’ve lost my sense of where home is! I love the sense of adventure and freedom that I get from living and working in France, but the flip side of that is I don’t have much stability in my life and I often find myself craving stability and routine.

A lot of people in the travel industry work overseas with their partner or spouse, often living and working together each day. This can be fantastic and I’ve learnt so much from my husband about the travel industry, management and French culture. However, spending so much time together can also put a lot of pressure on your relationship.

Some of the things that have helped me to get through difficult times overseas are:

❤️ Talk to someone. Whether this is reaching out to people back at home or sharing with someone overseas how you feel, it is surprising (or maybe not?) how many people relate to what you’re going through. Even if they can’t completely relate, most people want to help and often just telling someone how you feel can make you feel better.
❤️ Focus on the positives. If you are lucky enough to be living overseas, there are likely to be many positives even if it doesn’t feel like it: experiencing a new culture, the opportunity to learn a language, living in a beautiful place, becoming stronger and more resilient than you thought possible. The list is endless!
❤️ Integrate and learn about the culture you live in. Isolating yourself is a sure fire way to make you feel down. Getting to know the local culture and customs will make you feel part of and have more appreciation for where you live.
❤️ Take care of yourself. Eat well, exercise, get plenty of sleep and try to create some kind of routine. Basically, do all the sensible things. Even if they don’t directly solve the problem, you will definitely feel better!

Whatever your situation, don’t suffer in silence. I’ve lived overseas for the best part of 5 years and found that all of these things have helped me to become really resilient and deal with all the crazy things that have been thrown at me over the years! It’s also so important to remember that pretty pictures of other peoples lives are nothing more than that. Snapshots of a happy moment that don’t give any indication of what is happening the rest of the time.

What’s been the most difficult thing for you when living or working overseas? How did you deal with this?

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