Of all the questions you ask while preparing for travel abroad, how many of them have to do with mental wellness? Probably not many. Chances are the bulk of your focus is on tasks and logistics. Documents, regulations, accommodations, packing, and transportation take up a lot of mental bandwidth.
But just as important is creating space in your new environment for peace and contentment. How do you establish this? One of the best ways to start is to inform yourself about your destination. Knowledge and preparedness have never been so vital for travelers.
As part of your trip preparation, seek out past, present, and future information about your host location:
- Understand a little about its history and traditional culture to shed light on things you’ll encounter, from interesting architecture to people’s behavior.
- Identify sources for current news, weather, events, and emergencies so you are plugged in to your surroundings, keeping you safe and engaged.
- Inform yourself about what to expect and how to get through a business meeting or typical weekend. This can reduce anxiety immeasurably.
We believe that informed people have a better chance of thriving and being successful abroad. Employers can help employees settle into a new locale by providing this information and setting expectations based on company policies and benefits.
During the height of the pandemic in 2020, many companies intentionally made a point to check in with employees, specifically to address their mental health. The isolation of working from home, along with health worries, caused emotional stress for many. Now that people are traveling and moving again, we’ve learned a thing or two about paying attention to our psyches and making mental wellness a priority.
Sometimes, solace is found in forming new social or business relationships. Learning the local language can open doors to understanding, deeper communication, and ease of daily life. Finding ways to stay in touch with people at home is key also. Human connection bridges gaps and feeds the psyche.
Other times, you want to stay home on your couch and allow yourself some space. Maybe you’ll look for a grocery store that delivers or crave the comfort of some home-cooked cuisine. Mindfulness practices, meditation, or going for a run are all solitary pursuits that can ease anxiety.
All of these topics are covered in Living Abroad’s International Relocation Center. You’ll also find a wide variety of articles on our blog, many dealing with wellness-related issues. For example – and for a little fun – this one about therapeutic screaming in Iceland.
At whatever volume you care to say how you’re doing, we hope today is a good one for you!
Written by Ellen Harris, GMS, Product Manager, Content Group