Health and wellness as an expat. It’s often something that isn’t at the top of our very busy, very full to-do lists, and in this stressful world, it really ought to be right at the top as a consideration. Recently the Aetna International team interviewed me about health and wellbeing as an expat, and they raised questions that I haven’t considered in rather a long time. (Read the full interview via the link at the end of this post.)
Disclaimer: This post was commissioned by Aetna International, who recently ran a very interesting wellness survey which looks at the concept of what ‘wellness’ means to expats around the globe.
As expats (or whichever term you prefer), we immerse ourselves into a new culture that is either strangely similar or obliquely different in a myriad of infinitesimal ways. Each can be a challenge to navigate – and throws up queries that would never occur to you when living in your native home. Where do you buy clothing hangers? How do you make friends as an adult? Why are mushed peas served with fish and chips? How to cope with the subtleties of working in a British office where even the tea round can have a subtle little political charge?
A recent trip home to New Zealand highlighted some of these differences – and how much I’ve changed since becoming an expat. It also highlighted how important health and wellness is, especially as an expat, so far from our home networks.
There are several things that I try and do to keep myself healthy;
● Taking regular breaks
● Setting achievable goals as well as dreams
● Keeping often in contact with my family back home
● Treating myself with body and mind rewards
● Writing down and discussing my worries
● Developing and maintaining a good group of friends, both expat and local
● Participating in online expat groups who understand the unique struggles
I’ve lived here in London for nearly 12 years now, and I’ve come to the conclusion that even though my accent is decidedly English, I’ll always be an expat at heart.
Oh, that interview? Read the full ten questions they asked me about expat wellness here.
What do you do to prioritise your health and wellness?
Disclaimer: Aetna International kindly sponsored this post (sharing my own personal experiences) in order to keep our wanderlust strong and the travel fund topped up for future fun and blog posts.