/ expat tips

You Have the Expat Advantage

During a global pandemic, living in a foreign land might seem a bit wild and unpredictable to some. Perhaps it is. But when it comes to your health and overall wellness in these uncertain times, you and your wild adventures have positioned you to have an advantage. I don't just mean you have extra time for an aerobics video while you work from home during social distancing, your opportunities reach far beyond that.

Let me explain.

The skillset and resilience you have developed as an expat has perfectly positioned you to maximize your situation at a time of immense uncertainty and transition. Transition comes both when it is planned and intentional, and also when it’s not. You may not have planned for the job shifts, financial strain, moves (or delayed moves), extra time with your family through distance learning, etc. But you have done this, and planned for and handled these types of shifts your entire traveling existence. You, more than anyone, have the lifestyle skills to be empowered and thrive.

Let me tell you exactly how to do that.

Times are hard, and it’s important to recognize that. Then, it’s time to slow down for a moment and assess. Stay with me for a few minutes and we can do it together. Because the things that need assessing, you know how to evaluate. The skills you have as an expat, as a nomad, as a traveler and transitioner are IDEAL for this moment in time. This moment when we’re in limbo and uncertainty. Let’s consider, and plan, our next steps.

Research and experience both point to the following two elements being integral in our overall well being. When Dan Buettner, of the Blue Zones, studies the healthiest people in the world, their common characteristics point heavily to these two elements. As an experienced mover and shaker, you know how much the following two key components of health and well-being matter, and how to shift them, when our homebound friends and family don’t have that kind of practice. They are:

  • Environment. A HUGE element of health is the environment around us. What supports and holds us? What lends itself to how active, well-fed, and positive we are? What makes us feel safe? The workplace, the homelife, the neighborhoods. We have changed these environments multiple times and it’s time to determine what matters the most to serve our wellbeing. Right now in this limbo, what do YOU need to be well?
  • People. It is true that we become who we spend the most time with. This includes both our physical connections and our virtual ones. Now more than ever, with your ability to make friends, find networks, and switch languages, it’s time to determine WHO you are sharing your energy with. Are they helping you grow, love, thrive? There has never been a better time to consider the influence you are welcoming into your life.

With those important elements in mind, let’s take action. Make a list, start a page in your journal, or have a chat with a friend or partner about the following elements: In times of difficulty our priorities and needs are often highlighted. Consider:

  • What does your homelife ideally look like? How can you accomplish this? (Consider space, light, comfortable areas, and privacy)
  • What does your ideal neighborhood environment look like? How can you accomplish this? (think about access to healthy foods, parks and recreation as well as nearby social or community activities that are important to you, don’t forget to consider the commute to work.)
  • What does your work life or purpose look like? How can you continue to, or reconsider how to create this?
  • What does your ideal community look like? How can you cultivate friendships and connections that are healthy and supportive. (Consider virtual connections as well - friends afar, and social media)

Once you’ve made your list, (Knowing is not enough, action is what brings change - make a list!) consider this: When you make your next move, as you consider the way you want your life to look moving forward, what do you focus on? Adjusting your community? Creating a more comfortable homelife to embrace a cocoon of safety and comfort? A new career or upskilling to make a shift in the workplace or in your passion and purpose?

In this time of transition,intentionallytransition. It’s the perfect time to cultivate the relationships that really support and serve you, it’s an opportune time to consider and pursue meaning and purpose in your life. It’s an ideal moment to shift the environment and people around us, and/or set ourselves up for a shift in the future.

So while you might be pegged as the crazy one, by your friends or family back “home”, know that your ability to transition, adapt and rejig your life perfectly positions you to maximize your lifestyle and wellbeing in a time when these unexpected changes are leaving many lost and unsure how to proceed. You’ve got this wild wanderer!