The 4 Steps To Stay Healthy While Living Abroad

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Moving abroad is the adventure of a lifetime for the people who have made the jump. Every day offers new sights, sounds, flavors, and experiences that are sure to create lasting memories. However, there is another possible lasting memory that you should try to avoid. Namely, getting sick while living abroad. 

Most people are eager to make the move and don’t think beyond getting enough sleep on the plane on the way to their destination as far as taking care of their health. 

The reality is there needs to be a plan in place to stay healthy. In this article, we will cover a few tips that will help you take control of your physical and mental health while living in another country. 

1. Prepare before the move

There are steps to take before the move that will ensure that you can maintain your health once you are there. For instance, getting a check-up to evaluate your overall health ahead of the move gives you the chance to make changes in case you find you have something not quite right. 

Schedule an appointment with your doctor for a full examination. This isn’t just about ensuring you’re in good shape. Even if your health report comes up clean, your doctor can give you some country-specific advice on how to stay that way. This could include some vaccines that are recommended as well as things to avoid while there.

In most countries, the health insurance system is public and free to their citizens. However, with you being a new arrival you’re not likely to get into the public system. At least not right away. You’re likely to need to provide your own insurance.

Look into the best affordable health insurance for expats that will give you the most comprehensive coverage. Some policies will cover emergencies only whereas others cover doctor’s visits, prescriptions, and even emergency evacuation.

2. Nutrition and diet

One of the best parts about moving abroad is a chance to try the local cuisine in all its forms. Eating your way through a country is a fantastic way to learn about the culture and experience life like a local. However, staying healthy is a challenge if you aren’t careful about what you eat.

New ingredients, cooking styles, and meal schedules can take a toll on your digestive system and overall nutrition. It’s important to give your body time to adapt and make conscious choices to nourish it well.

Keep in mind that in some countries the water is not safe to drink so this also includes washing fruits and vegetables. If your stomach is not used to it, it can easily cause you to get sick. Always cook your vegetables before eating them, and wait to eat fruits until you know your system can handle it. 

3. Keep active

Keeping your body moving is just as important when you’re living abroad as when you’re at home. However, when your life is disrupted, it’s difficult to get back to some of your normal routines from before you left. Exercise seems to be the thing that is the most easily discarded among old habits when you live abroad. 

Adapting your exercise routine to fit your new environment is essential, and fortunately, it can also be a fantastic way to explore your new home. Many cities have gyms, yoga studios, or community centers where you can exercise. These can be excellent places not only to work out but also to meet new people. Some cities also have parks, walking paths, or hiking trails that can offer a wonderful, natural setting for physical activity.

4. Have an emergency plan

An emergency can happen at any time and anywhere. When you are still in your home country before the move, you generally know what to do in case one happens. However, in a new country, you may be like a fish out of water if an accident occurs. It’s very important to have a plan in place to avoid any problems. 

First and foremost, familiarize yourself with the emergency services and numbers in your new country. This is going to be much different than the one you’re used to. Find out what number to call for medical help, and keep it saved in your phone and written down in a place that’s easy to access, like on your refrigerator or beside your landline phone.

In addition to the emergency number, you should have a list of others that are important. For instance, you should make sure you have the numbers of family members, close friends, your country’s embassy or consulate, and your healthcare providers handy for when an emergency strikes.

If the local language isn’t English, have a few phrases written down that will help you communicate when you need to call the emergency number.