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Working abroad? Five ways to safeguard your mental health

Taking an international assignment for work or planning a new life abroad?

While exciting, an international move can also take its toll on our mental well-being. Here are five ways to prepare for the challenges ahead, designed to help you prevent or address stress, anxiety and depression, and ensure your life as an expat is a success.

1.     Go the extra mile to fit in

Take language and cultural classes. Volunteer. Get involved with local activities.

2.     Prioritise work/life balance

Set boundaries with your employer. Disconnect from technology for short periods. Commit to regular physical exercise and exploring your new location.

3.     Stay connected to home

Keep in touch with people in your support network. Face-to-face through Skype, FaceTime or other technologies is best — but texts, social media, phone calls and even old-fashioned letters work, too.

4.     Know your resources

Learn stress reduction and coping techniques. If you have an employee assistance program or international health benefits plan find out what behavioural and mental health services are available to you — BEFORE you need them.

5.     Ask for help!

Join an expat support group. Reach out to your network. Get connected to resources. Schedule confidential counseling sessions — in person or even online with someone back home.

For anyone considering moving abroad, our content library has articles on some of the key issues expatriates experience and how best to handle them. We regularly provide pre-trip planning advice to members on assignment, around occupational health and how to ensure assignment success. Existing Aetna International members can also access our health library for specific information on different medical conditions and disease information. To find out more about Aetna International private medical insurance plans and pre-trip planning support services, speak to one of our expert sales consultants.

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