10 Tips to Manage Anxiety, Stress & Depression While Studying Abroad
A lot of students who set out to study abroad, be it a short exchange program, or a fully-fledged degree program, say that there comes a moment when you start experiencing high levels of anxiety due to being far from home, struggling with the course or just adapting to the new life situation.
It is quite common to get such feelings when you completely change the social environment you are used to. It can be very stressful for both the mind and body. Luckily, there are a lot of things you can do to cope with the effects of anxiety, stress or depression which can really improve your mental health and keep you on the right track.
Here are some top ways ways to help you deal with anxiety.
1. Prepare in Advance
Research well in advance your destination and course to see what makes you feel most comfortable. There are lots of questions to ask yourself before departing, where do you want to do, how long will you be away for and other things like will you need to learn a new language. Giving yourself lots of time to prepare can really help you to be ready for this experience and help you deal with culture shock.
If you take medication for anxiety, it is important to continue taking it so get enough to last you whilst you are away. Also you might want to book online therapist or psychiatrist sessions or seek out professionals on arrival if you look where to go in advance.
2. Keep In Touch
Let’s be honest, being away from your home, family, and friends is not as hard as it used to be. Social media makes things much easier these days. What’s more, you can use Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, and other apps to get in touch with the people you are missing, to see them, and not just talk to them.
Keep in touch with the people dear to you, schedule regular calls and online meetings with them, do everything it takes to make up for not having them around. Having online conversations makes it easier for you; you can feel their support, know what is going on in their lives, and manage that fear of missing out on something important.
Having such communication is crucial if you want to feel more comfortable with being away from your usual environment and perform well at your new school.
3. Pack Things From Home
Whether it be photos, memorable items, letters, clothing, or just home comforts, this can help you to ease into your new lifestyle.
4. Be Open
Try to be open to new experiences, whether it be activities or even people. The more friendly and open you are to others, the more likely you will make friends and also have a more enjoyable experience. Distracting your mind and keeping busy is one of the best ways to combat depression. Find group activities you might enjoy, seek out new friends at your study institute and find fun things to do - this will help to avoid you being by yourself.
Try to have “the glass is half-full” attitude. Always look at the bright side of things and try not to miss out on new opportunities that surround you. This will make your days more exciting and give you lots of unforgettable memories you will cherish for the rest of your life.
A positive mindframe can really help tackle anxiety.
5. Focus on Studies But Take Time to Relax
When your anxiety overwhelms you, remember always to find time for self-care. Even when your new friends keep asking you out or have some activities arranged, do not join them if you don’t feel like it. It is ok to be sad and even miserable when you are away from home. It is a common feeling, and there is no need to question it or think it is wrong.
Instead, be understanding and caring towards yourself and say ‘no’ when you don’t want to do something. Knowing your limits is a sort of self-love too. Always seek help from teachers and staff, and if you need to, take a break from everything, even from your studies. One option can be to consider hiring an academic writer from an essay service, this will help relieve study-related burdens and also improve your academic performance.
Spend some time doing nothing essential, just relaxing, and being attentive to what you feel and why you feel it.
6. Find Something Familiar
Sadness and anxiety can hit you hard if you feel completely detached from your homeland. You might find yourself thinking that you are not where you should be and that there is nothing you can relate to in the country you are studying in. However, this is not necessarily true. Let’s think about it this way: globalization has done its part, and almost every country in the world is somewhat international now.
If you want to find something “close to the heart,” see if there is a place that sells your national products and food, like a shop or maybe a restaurant. If you live in a big city, the chances you actually find something are high. There will be at least one restaurant that cooks your national meals.
In some countries, you can even find the whole neighborhoods where people speak your language and come from the same place as you. The point here is to find some sort of connection, some piece of your home while being away. The good news is that it is very much possible in most cases.
7. Be Social
Try to be as open If you have any hobbies or interests It might be more fun if you invite some of your local friends to join you. It can become something of a bonding activity that will definitely help you develop friendly relationships easier and feel more at home in a foreign country. All you need to do is look for opportunities to make things better and enjoy the moment, rather than get into that bog of never-ending sadness and eventual depression.
8. Eat Healthy, Get Active & Do Sports
A healthy body can help you to have a healthy mind. Eating healthy can really make a different to your mental well being, drink lots of fluids, eat fruit and vegtables and try to avoid too much junk food.
Doing sports is a known way to battle anxiety and depression. It has been scientifically proved that when you do sports, your body releases dopamine, the happiness hormone. That’s why many people who have regular physical exercises are generally more positive and more satisfied with life.
Even if you are not that much into sports, you might still find a fun activity to do, like bouldering. Consider getting a gym subscription or running in the nearby park. Keeping yourself in good physical shape will not only help you feel positive about the way you look but will also impact the quality of your mental well-being.
One of the greatest perks of studying abroad lies in the opportunity to travel around and explore new places. Keep your mind away from anxiety and sadness by keeping yourself busy. Be active and give yourself new, positive experiences. Make a list of all the places you can visit while studying and then visit them one by one.
Talking and letting others know how you are feeling can really help. Whether it be a family member, friend or professional reaching out can really help to put your mind at ease, talking really does help.
Hopefully our advice will give you some ideas to keep anxiety under control. If you have any recommendations let us know in the comments section below.