According to a report by Aetna International, health concerns, including mental health, fitness, and insurance, are on the top of the list of significant worries for people who decide to live abroad. They even topped other often mentioned issues, such as political insecurity, finances, and terrorism.
Depending on your final destination there are many challenges you will have to face health-wise.
Challenges are ranging from the standard stress caused by such a great life change to contaminated drinking water.
Staying healthy is a primary concern for expatriates who want to fully experience life in a new country, but also grow and progress on their career path. So, if you are planning on heading abroad to live and work, here are a couple of tips that will help you preserve your health while you’re there.
Be prepared for taking care of your health abroad
There are some things you need to consider and prepare before you start packing your bags and passport. For example, if a country you are traveling in requires some specific vaccines, it is best to get this out of your way as early as possible.
Of course, you need to talk with your doctor about any prescription drugs you are taking and check their availability in your destination. Before you go, you must check where your nearest medical center is. And finally, if you have any medical conditions, you should translate your medical history into the language of your destination.
Make sure you have adequate medical care
If you find yourself in a foreign country without having a suitable health insurance plan, you could end up getting ridiculously large medical bills, which can put your finances at risk.
An international medical plan can only cover all your medical expenses in situations of need. It will also be useful for covering preventative medical tests which can include monitoring and vaccinations.
While opting for the type of insurance, you need to take into account the particular circumstances of the country you are staying in. For example, there are many types of insurance policies in China, and some people even opt for standard travel insurance. However, this can end up being quite a trap because this type of insurance rarely covers the follow-up treatments.
Adopt a healthy diet and drink clean water
Eating healthy help in shielding your health from numerous health issues and diseases, regardless of where you are located. Fast food is something to be avoided in any country. But in some particular regions, this rule should be taken even more seriously. Some of the countries where you should be cautious when buying street foods are South Africa, Thailand, Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, and Ukraine.
The general guidelines you should follow are avoiding pre-made meals, dirty stalls, and stalls where uncooked items are located right next to the cooked items. You will be better off without these foods, so try to stick with nutritious meals made at home or in a restaurant.
Contaminated water can be the cause of many diseases, including cholera, dysentery, and diarrhea. It is always safer to boil water before drinking it or to buy bottled water.
Be physically active
Another common sense health advice that can be applied to anyone in the world is: be physically active.
According to the American Heart Association, an adult person of average health should get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week. Plus a person should devote at least two days per week to muscle-strengthening activity.
As an expatriate, you are probably having a hard time to adjust to the new time zone, cultural and political circumstances, employment, people, and the feeling of homesick. However, these are just additional reasons to start working out. It is proven that physical activity can help alleviate stress.
Don’t forget about your mental health
Moving to another country can completely turn your life around and that is stressful, to say at the least. Try to find efficient ways to release stress. Maybe try practicing yoga, meditating and deep breathing.
Also, socialization is an important part of mental wellbeing. So try to be socially active. Join groups of expats, visit various events, make friends with people at work, meet locals, and participate in social activities.
Going abroad to work and live is a big decision which requires making a bunch of smaller decision. These are where to live, how to learn the language, and how to deal with the feeling of homesick. In this turmoil, you should not forget about your health. If this important item is not checked on your list, then nothing else will function properly.