Has moving abroad been bad for your mental health?


Expats in Germany are often faced with a lot of stress and pressure to succeed, especially when they are working. For some, this can be too stressful. Here's what you can do:

Some general advice:

If you feel overwhelmed, depressed or anxious you should always consider seeking professional help. Mental illness often develops gradually, so it can be difficult to notice that something is wrong at an early stage. To find professional help in Germany, you can simply Google counselling for expats or consult your health insurance. Apart from this, it can help to take the following steps:


1. Stay in touch with people who are important to you

Maintaining friendships and family relationships can be hard when you're living abroad - and most of all, it can feel like more work. But if you set regular schedules for video sessions, make commitments and stay in touch as often as you can, you will notice how much this will help you. Make a decision to do this just for yourself and try to get as much support from your friends and family as you can.


2. Improve the quality of your networking

The reason why many expats in Germany feel overwhelmed is because they have to adjust to a completely different business culture and in the same time they often don't have a professional network in Germany. Try reading blogs or books that can help you with the cultural basics. In addition, you should try a mix of online and face-to-face activities to improve your networking. This will help you to remain open minded and flexible and it will improve your mental health as well.


3. Find something you feel passionate about

This can involve other people, which will help you make new friends. To feel at home in the country you have moved to will sooner or later require that you have also made new friends. True friendship is the best remedy when feeling lonely or anxious abroad.


4. Consider getting a language tutor

Don't resist learning the language, just because everybody in Germany speaks English. Learning a new language is something that will help you tremendously if you're struggling with mental health issues. Learning a new language helps the brain, it will relax you and it will improve your thinking skills as well as your memory abilities. As it improves brain function and cognitive skills, it will automatically help you to overcome feelings of depression or anxiety faster. 


Continue reading: Expat loneliness: How to make friends with Germans.


I'm Natalie Marby, an English speaking therapist in Hamburg, Germany. I am half German and half British and I offer psychotherapy in English, especially for expats living in Hamburg. To contact me, you can send me an email or call me: (040) 46090233. (Please don't forget to send me your phone number and the times I can reach you). I look forward to hearing from you!


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