According to studies in some popular regions for those living abroad, it has been discovered:
- Anxiety was the most common difficulty faced by expats in France, the Scandinavian countries and the United Kingdom – 24%, 27% and 32% respectively.
- Depression was the second most commonly experienced challenge.
- Those in France were most likely to experience anxiety and depression regarding the consequences of Brexit.
- Other issues that those in France, Scandinavia and the United Kingdom identified as obstacles associated with living abroad, included dealing with chronic illness (such as living with a condition like diabetes), safety concerns (for example, crime) and stress related to the workplace.
Strategies that work
Fortunately, the study also shows that there are a number of strategies that work when it comes to general health and wellness issues. Their study found the following:
Expats in all countries found it important to build strong support networks and healthy relationships with friends and co-workers.
Building strong support networks, as well as spending time on entertainment and hobbies, was particularly important for those living in the UK.
Exercise, outdoors or in a gym, was particularly helpful for those in Scandinavia and France, while those in France reported that they had also had specific success with practicing mindfulness and good nutrition.
However, the most effective and helpful strategy AXA discovered was proactive and preventative healthcare, such as accessing a qualified GP or psychologist.
Finding the right health professionals for both body and mind can significantly reduce the levels of anxiety and depression experienced by those living abroad.
Regular check-ups can prevent conditions from becoming chronic, while talking about mental health and wellness can substantially reduce the pressure many feel. Prevention, as the saying goes, is better than cure.