When you move to another country, you can be so busy organising everything, so intent on getting to grips with your new location, and so focused on getting your feet on the ground that it can hard to set time aside for self-care. Even those with a regular self-care routine can find themselves feeling a range of complex emotions after moving to a new country.It is not uncommon to experience culture shock or to feel isolated and lonely. Sometimes, being alone and without your usual support system can exacerbate existing mental health conditions, while it may also become more difficult to get a regular supply of your usual medication.
Ensure You Have Access To Medication And Professional Help
If you are taking medication for a mental health condition and are about to move to a new country, you will need to do your research and make sure your medication will be available. You may also need to get a referral letter from your doctor which you can take to your new health practitioner.
In some cases, your exact medication may not be available, or you may not be permitted to bring it into your new home country. Discuss this with your doctor well ahead of your moving date so you can take the best course of action.
Keep In Contact With Your Home Support Network
Moving to a new country can be isolating, and sometimes time differences can make it hard to stay in contact with your loved ones. However, do what you can to maintain those links to friends, family and trusted health professionals so that you still have people you can talk to. Even if you don’t want to talk about anything mental health related, we all need a chat now and again.
Make Time To Look After Yourself And De-Stress
With a new job and a new home, things can get pretty hectic when you first relocate. That’s when it’s easy to neglect time for yourself and to end up burning the candle at both ends. To avoid feeling burnt out and stressed, make time for yourself so that you can do the things you enjoy and which help you relax. Allow yourself this time, without guilt, to focus on yourself and re-energise.
Helpful Websites And Apps
There are now many wonderful websites and apps that can help your mental health. The apps listed below are free to download and are also recommended by the UK’s National Health Service.
Big White Wall
This app offers round-the-clock support from trained therapists who can help you cope with stress and anxiety.
Calm Harm is an app that aims to reduce self-harm by using the principles of dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT). The app is private and password protected.
Learn how to “catch” negative thoughts and deal with difficult emotions. This app will help you work on seeing things from a different perspective.
Chill Panda teaches you breathing techniques that can help you relax and relieve stress. The app can measure your heart rate and suggest exercises best suited to you.
This app is centred around the healing power of music. It allows you to create music that resonates with emotions such as sadness, helping you to cope with those feelings.
Cypher is essentially an anonymous social network, where people can share their feelings and receive support.
This app allows you to confidentially connect with mental health professionals and therapists via an instant messaging system.
SilverCloud is an eight-week course that helps you manage stress, anxiety or depression. There are a series of topics to work through, selected by a therapist, and the course can be completed at your own pace.
Thrive helps you track your mood, and also teaches you coping methods for stress and anxiety through games.
Help With Eating Disorders
Several websites specifically offer help and support for eating disorders.
Eating Disorder Hope
This site offers recovery tools and professional support as well as advice on awareness. They also publish lots of helpful and insightful articles.
National Eating Disorders
A site which offers help with recovery and relapse, free and low-cost support as well as a helpful learning section that covers warning signs, prevention, treatment and more.
There is also a helpful section on the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) website.
More Help For Your Mental Health
Another useful website is Mental Health Gov, which covers a comprehensive list of difficulties from anxiety disorders and substance use disorders to OCD and PTSD. It also lists resources, places to get help and numbers for various helplines.
Remember, mental health struggles are nothing to be ashamed of. Often in new surroundings, it can take time to adjust, and you can feel like things are out of your control. There is plenty of help available to you, and you are not alone.