How to Look After Your Mental Health When Studying Abroad

In search of ways on how to look after your mental health when studying abroad? Studying abroad is an exciting adventure that takes you out of your comfort zone and introduces you to a world full of new experiences. As you explore your new home, you’ll likely feel happiness and excitement, yet you might also encounter unexpected moments of culture shock and homesickness. These are normal feelings while studying in a foreign country, but it’s crucial to know how to maintain your mental well-being too.

The experience of studying abroad can be one of the most incredible times in your life. It’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in different cultures, gain international perspectives, and create memories that will last a lifetime. However, adapting to a new environment, being around unfamiliar faces, managing homesickness, culture shock, and academic pressures can pose challenges.

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But if you find yourself feeling this way, there are steps you can take to prioritize your mental health and make the most out of your study abroad journey. By practicing self-care and seeking support, you’ll be able to enjoy an unforgettable experience. To assist you, we’ve prepared this guide with tips on how to take care of your mental well-being while studying abroad.

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Here are ways on how to look after your mental health when studying abroad:

1. Make New Friendships 

When you’re taking care of your mental well-being while studying abroad, it’s essential to focus on building new friendships and creating a support network. Consider connecting with like-minded individuals by joining university clubs or groups that align with your interests. Engaging in campus events is another way to meet people. You can also expand your social circle by joining online communities and using social media to connect with fellow students in your city or town.

Forming new bonds and having a support system among other students can provide a sense of belonging and help alleviate any feelings of loneliness or homesickness. Keep in mind that there are other study abroad students who share your experience, so don’t hesitate to approach and interact with new individuals, even if it feels intimidating initially!

2. Keep In Touch With Friends & Family 

While it’s great to embrace your new environment, it’s crucial to maintain a connection with your loved ones back home. Ensure you consistently communicate with friends and family. Whenever you’re stressed, upset, or homesick, reaching out through video calls, messages, or letters can foster a sense of connection and comfort. Sharing your experiences and difficulties with those close to you can also assist in processing your emotions.

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3. Take Care Of Your Physical Health 

Recognizing the close connection between mental health and physical well-being, it’s crucial to prioritize your physical health while participating in a study abroad program. Ensure proper nutrition, hydration, 7-9 hours of nightly sleep, and regular exercise. You have the freedom to choose activities for staying active, whether it involves joining a gym, practicing yoga, jogging, dancing, or exploring your new surroundings on foot.

Maintaining a well-rounded lifestyle will enhance your energy levels and overall mood. Don’t underestimate the significance of caring for your physical well-being. While it might be tempting to stay in bed and isolate yourself during tough times, getting up and being active will yield positive outcomes.

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4. Practice Self-care 

Emphasizing the significance of self-care, its value remains constant regardless of your location. A wonderful approach to practicing self-care involves engaging in activities that bring joy, whether it’s reading, listening to music, practicing mindfulness, or pursuing a hobby. 

Another method to stay calm and rejuvenated while studying abroad is through journaling, allowing you to contemplate on your thoughts, emotions, experiences, and challenges. Keeping a journal not only fosters positive mental well-being but also provides a record for future reflection. Dedicating time each day to activities you find pleasurable aids in stress reduction and ensures the nurturing of a positive outlook.

5. Explore Your New Home 

Whether your study abroad journey lasts a semester or an entire academic year, your university’s location will transform into your new home during the program. We recommend setting aside some time to venture beyond your student accommodation and become acquainted with your surroundings. 

Immerse yourself in the local culture, visit landmarks, savor different cuisines, and partake in novel activities. Embracing the distinctive opportunities at hand can significantly benefit your mental well-being – after all, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

6. Establish A Routine

Recognizing the challenges of relocating to a foreign country, acclimating to a new culture, and managing academic demands can indeed be daunting. However, instituting a consistent routine can offer a source of stability, greatly aiding your mental well-being. 

Establishing a structured schedule that includes study time, classes, and extracurricular engagements can help alleviate overwhelm and enhance productivity. Utilizing a planner or calendar app to craft a realistic weekly plan is advisable, ensuring you allocate sufficient time for self-care and rejuvenation.

7. Make Use Of Available Support 

To ensure your well-being and optimize your study abroad journey, don’t hesitate to seek assistance when necessary. Despite your utmost endeavors, you might encounter challenges that affect your mental health. 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, grappling with financial issues, or facing any other difficulties while studying abroad, don’t hesitate to ask for support. Universities typically offer mental health resources for students, so make the most of these available options. Additionally, if your mental health is strained, it’s advisable to consult a professional for guidance and coping techniques.

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Final Thoughts

In the midst of this exciting journey of studying abroad, remember that your mental well-being is just as important as the adventures you’ll embark on. Embrace the rollercoaster of emotions that come with navigating a new culture, but also recognize the value of self-care and seeking support when needed. By tending to your mental health, you’re not only ensuring a fulfilling study abroad experience, but you’re also nurturing the foundation for a lifetime of resilience and growth.

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