Moving and Living Abroad with Brie-Anne
Mental & Physical Health Issues

How to Look after your Mental Well-Being when Moving and Living Abroad

Today I am handing my blog over to the lovely Brie of Brie-Anne, who is going to talk about how she looked after her own mental health when she moved abroad! A great read for anyone pondering such a move. 

Moving abroad can be hard, not just financially, but mentally too. With the looming political changes, for some people, moving to another country may feel like the best step forward.

But what if you struggle with your mental well-being?

The emotional toll of packing up your belongings, saying goodbye to your support networks and hopping on a plane is enough to cause anyone stress, but when you already struggle with your mental well-being, this stress can be magnified.

It’s important to minimise the impact this stress can have on your health and to do that, there are a few things you need to think about before making a move.

Couple standing in a living room with boxes around them

1)The first and most important is your medical care

Do you have adequate medical insurance set up?

Tackling the health care systems in other countries is yet another stressful activity.

In France, the health care system can take months to get fully registered and although the healthcare here is phenomenal, it’s a tiresome process. We’ve been spoiled by the ease of the NHS in the UK.

2) Your support network

How will you stay in contact with your support network? Email? Phone calls? Regular flights back?

Living abroad can be really lonely, even more so if you don’t speak the language.

Leaving behind friends and family can be a giant strain on your mental well-being and can make you feel isolated and trapped.

Finding new support networks while maintaining regular contact with your current network can really help you stay positive.

table and sofa in room - ready to be packed.

3)How Will You Meet New People?

Do you have any hobbies/Interests? Is where you’re planning to move good for participating in said hobbies?

Websites like Meet-up, Internations and even Facebook groups make it easier for people to find and make friends abroad based on their passions, but it’s important to figure out what’s available where you’re planning to go.

If you’re moving to a small village in the middle of nowhere, there’s a strong possibility you’ll feel isolated.

4) Mental Preparation

It’s so easy to get distracted by the applications and paperwork side of things that you don’t take the time to mentally prepare yourself for the challenges you might face.

Investigate everything from the weather, age demographics, crime rates, the quality of life, the lifestyle you’re likely to lead and prepare yourself.

Are you 10000% sure you’re making the right decision?

5) Ask for help if you need it

Being away from friends and family means your contact will more than likely be via social media, texting, emails or phone calls – while it’s great that modern technology has allowed us to be able to contact people so effortlessly – without seeing people face to face, or speaking regularly, it’s so much easier to deny any problems and say “I’m OK” instead of asking for help when you need it.

Man unpacking a box infront of sofa - more packed boxes to the side.

6) Stay Productive

Living in a new environment, somewhere you don’t feel comfortable, can lead you to develop reclusive behaviours.

Avoiding this, no matter how hard it may be, is so important for your mental well-being. Find ways to stay productive.

I’m possibly the laziest person ever, but learning about productivity and keeping myself busy has possibly been one of the biggest saving graces since moving to France.

If I’m not blogging, I’m working or exploring new places.

7) Have a Financial Plan

Worrying about future finances is one of, if not, the biggest worries for people moving abroad.

Do you have a supportive job? Do you have somewhere to go back to if everything goes wrong? How long can you support yourself with current finances?

Having back up plans and feeling secure is really important to avoid anxiety.

Money anxiety is one of my biggest issues, so knowing that if everything goes wrong with my income there are other options has really eased my mind.

Moving to France last year after 3 years of planning has been one of the best decisions I made – but it hasn’t been the easiest.

I didn’t speak a single word of French and I knew nobody (except the husband I moved with).

I joined a language school, and can honestly say it was the best decision I made for my mental well-being.

Not only did I meet and make new friends (who were all in the same boat) but I also learnt the basic language skills I need to get by on a daily basis.

It kept me busy in between work and blogging and also gave me more confidence in myself, so if you get the chance to study abroad – then go for it.

Without the school, I can’t imagine how isolating my first year here in France would be.

Would I have actually made an effort to go to any of the Meet-up groups/ facebook groups I joined – or would I just recluse myself?

Living here has improved my mental well-being in many ways, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to “fix” you.

If you’ve thought through every eventuality, you have back up plans in place and you’re sure you're ready for this, then take a leap!

But, if you have any hesitations, or concerns that your mental health might not be up to the stress, then maybe it’s not the right time to move. And anyway, the UK is still pretty incredible!

About the Author

Brie is a blogger at Brie-anne.com after years struggling with mental health problems like anxiety and depression coupled with the strain of living with Endometriosis. She found solace in blogging and moving to France.

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Moving and Living Abroad with Brie-Anne

This article has 20 comments

  1. Ana

    Fantastic tips! I have a few friends who have just moved abroad so I’ll definitely be sharing this article with them
    🙂

  2. Stacie

    I love these tips. Living abroad can be an adventure, but it’s also a time when you leave everything you’ve ever known behind. That is huge.

  3. Samantha

    I used to live abroad, but was always moving, so traveled very light. I’m hoping to move one of these days, so these tips are nice to have.

  4. Ann F. Snook-Moreau

    Even though I only moved from the US to Canada, it was hard for me to be so far apart from my family and friends. I had a rough go of it at first but I met my husband and many friends here so it all worked out!

  5. Brianne Manz

    What a wonderful post. It is so important to be aware of your mental well being. Especially in high stress times such as living abroad/moving around. I enjoyed reading your post.

  6. The London Mum

    Great article. I’s tough moving to a different country but if you suffer from mental health issues it’s even more important to have these points prepared and ready to ease the anxiety.

  7. Sally Akins

    Great post – there’s a lot to consider when you’re thinking about moving abroad, and I bet most people don’t think about the impact it can have on your mental health. I’d certainly worry about making new friends, especially if there’s a language barrer!

  8. Kacie

    What a great post. I find travelling can be stressful so I can’t imagine how it must feel to have to move abroad

  9. Shannan P

    Moving across town is stressful enough, let alone moving to another country. These are wonderful tips!

  10. Rhian Westbury

    I’d have no idea where to start with medical care in other countries to be honest x

  11. Ruth I

    My parents will be moving abroad next year. I’ll make sure they are well prepared. Thank you for these tips!

  12. Kelsey

    I don’t think I could ever move to a different country so I think you are so brave! I work with a lot of people who moved to London for the job as we are HQ and I’ve seen how difficult it can be to make friends. Language school seems like a good idea!

  13. Wendy Polisi

    Those are the kinds of things people do not think about when moving far away. These are things that really need to be taken care of!

  14. Cindy Gordon

    These are amazing tips. Mental well being when abroad has a lot more importance than we know.

  15. sara lafountain

    These are amazing tips! I would never have thought of some of these, thank you for sharing them.

  16. Melanie

    Both of my adult nieces are looking to move out of the country. One for work, the other for adventure. I hope they’ve considered these elements in addition to the other practical elements of an international travel. Definitely need to share your tips with them.

  17. Eva Katona

    It’s a very useful post and it could benefit anyone – even if you’re a partner of a person with mental disorder!

  18. Anonymous

    These are such great tips!! I moved away not only from home when I was 18 but also from one country to another and on my own – it was a huge adjustment and looking after your mental health is really key

    Laura x

  19. Crystal

    Excellent post and tips here to help look after your mental health. It’s so important to have a good network of support.

  20. Ana Nunes

    It’s hard, but even harder when your body have problems too. I fight depression since i was 16. When you have chronic pain it’s… A nightmare. Thank God i have my daughter, she makes me happy every day.

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