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Expat Burnout: 3 Habits Draining Your Emotional Resilience Abroad

Moving and integrating abroad can be challenging, often leading us to blame external circumstances for our lack of success. However, it's crucial to consider our role in our emotional well-being. By fueling our worries, stress, and disappointment with increased expectations, we are essentially putting emotional weight on our shoulders.



Are these habits a part of expat life abroad? Watch out; they can hinder joy, peace, and rob your openness and motivation.


These three thinking and behavior patterns contribute to emotional weight:


1. Setting Unrealistic Expectations in a New Culture


Unrealistic expectations, whether in terms of adapting to a new culture, mastering the language in a couple of months, finding work abroad quickly, or adjusting to the new daily life, can result in frustration. Don't forget that you are going through a huge transition, which is already emotionally burdening. Striving for as high standards as you would in your home culture may lead to frequent setbacks, affecting emotional well-being. You set yourself up for a battle that you can never win. It's crucial for expats to evaluate expectations based on realistic goals and cultural understanding.


How well can you set realistic goals in your life abroad?

  • Stuggling not to overplan

  • I set unrealistic goals for myself

  • I learnt how to set boundaries



2. Making Unfair Social Comparisons Abroad


Social comparison is natural, but when comparing lifestyles or achievements with friends and family back home or with locals, expats may experience heightened anxiety and depression. Whether looking upward or downward, it's important to acknowledge the potential unfairness of such comparisons, especially in the age of online social networks that can amplify dissatisfaction. You have a different story and a different path: explore your uniqueness instead of trying to achieve what others have.


3. Balancing Commitments in a Foreign Environment


Overcommitting, driven by the desire to integrate or the fear of missing out (FOMO) on opportunities in a new country, can lead to anxiety and cognitive overload. It's understandable that you want to experience all that the country can offer at once, but consider the emotional weight of what it takes. Striking a balance between commitments is essential for expats to avoid chronic stress. Recognizing these thinking patterns is the first step toward maintaining emotional well-being.


Which is the biggest challenge for you?

  • 1. Setting Unrealistic Expectations in a New Culture

  • 2. Making Unfair Social Comparisons Abroad

  • 3. Balancing Commitments in a Foreign Environment



In conclusion, expats can proactively navigate emotional wellness by being aware of and questioning these practices. Evaluating the realism of expectations, fairness of comparisons, and wisdom of commitments empowers expatriates to make informed choices for their emotional health in the unique context of living abroad.


When the stress is too high, and walking down the road becomes difficult by yourself, don't be scared to ask for help! My coaching services can assist you in overcoming stress and anxiety abroad and empower you to walk your own unique path.




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