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Living abroad is no mean feat, and when it comes to living away from your family, friends and everything you have ever known it can be especially difficult to manage stressful life events.

In 1967, two researchers – Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe – believed that there was a strong correlation between stressful life events and future illnesses. Having scanned records of more than 5,000 patients, it was clear that stressful life events such as divorce, the death of a close family member and imprisonment do in fact impact our mental and physical health. Today, the Holmes And Rahe scale is used by doctors across the globe to identify whether stressful life events can help predict future illness. And with a move abroad being a big life event in itself, often these stressful times are compounded for expats.

Stressful life events for expats:

Moving home

Moving home is considered to be one of the most stressful life events. This is especially true if you are moving cross country or abroad, as you are likely to be moving to a place you have never visited or stayed in for any length of time before. Such a major change can impact your health in a number of ways and can make enjoying your new life overseas feel impossible. To successfully deal with the stress associated with moving overseas, be sure to prepare as much as you can; speak to people about your fears and concerns and avoid putting yourself under immense pressure as this can make the moving process much more difficult.

Changing jobs

Changing your job can be a daunting time, especially if you are moving to a position with more responsibilities or a new industry entirely. If you’re moving job and are unsure of what your new responsibilities will be, make this known to your new employer. This way, you can focus on the opportunity, not on what might be expected of you on your first day.

Being a victim of a crime

From personal assault to burglary, becoming a victim of crime can significantly increase your stress levels and provoke a feeling of anxiety. The most effective way to deal with such trauma is to talk about your experience and take care of yourself by eating well, exercising and getting a sufficient amount of rest. Most importantly, avoid using alcohol or other unhealthy behaviour to relieve your stress, as this will considerably prolong the healing process.

Illnesses caused by stressful life events

Stressful life events have the ability to cause many different types of illness and can lead to severe chronic pain. Other types of illnesses caused by stressful life events include:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Gastrointestinal disorders such as IBS and GERD
  • Alzheimer’s disease

Dealing with a stressful life event

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to better deal with a stressful life event. Begin with acknowledging the stress you are experiencing, this will help ensure that you refrain from putting yourself under additional pressure in an attempt to ignore it. By seeking support when it’s needed most, dealing with stress is made much easier –  whether you decide to confide in a family member, close friend or seek help from a support group or online, talking to someone about your stress can help you cope better.

However, it’s not just speaking about your stress that will make it easier to deal with. Eating well and maintaining a regular exercise routine can help make dealing with stress that little bit easier. Instead of reaching for an unhealthy snack, focus on foods that can help provide useful nutrients and reduce aches and pains such as yoghurt, nuts, carrots and salmon. If you have a few minutes spare at the end of the day, why not go for a jog? Running helps reduce stress by producing endorphins which will boost your mood and improve your sleeping habits.

Don’t let your international move stress you out. With our professional help and global knowledge, moving home is easy. For more information, get in touch with a member of our friendly expert team today.

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