In November 2017, I was in a rut, unsure and confused about what I wanted to do – and what the future held for me. Following a conversation with a recruiter, I embarked on a process which saw me ultimately move to Lisbon, Portugal. I will now bring you five things I have learned since moving abroad.
Things I have Learned Since Moving Abroad
Five Things I Learned When Moving Abroad: Loving Solitude
As I got older, I struggled to deal with Solitude. It petrified me to be alone with my thoughts and be uncomfortable. Things like journalling, reading a book and walking scared the life out of me. When I arrived, I continued my old thought patterns – watching TV and refusing to think or deal with anything negative.
It wasn’t until after I recovered from a Brain Tumour – that I began to challenge myself. I started to deal with the thoughts and feelings I had for many years. Journalling by myself was an effective way to unpack and understand my past. I also began walking everywhere, listening to podcasts, and reading books. I have worked on these activities, including loving my company so much over recent years – that I am comfortable going anywhere alone, even on holiday.
Living on a Budget
Being in your home country around your family always gives you that feeling you will never go without. I never realised how bad at managing my money I was until I moved abroad. Especially over the last two years, I have noticed the importance of taking care of necessities, such as bills and having full kitchen cupboards. Making sure – these aspects are taken care of has enabled me to appreciate the times when I can treat myself.
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It’s vital to not rely on family or friends to save you – this will teach you to manage money as you will convince yourself it’s just you. Budgeting doesn’t mean you’re penny-pinching – it ensures you’re giving yourself more options for the future.
Walking Is the Best Medicine
When I lived in the UK, I would go home and play video games or watch TV after work. After work now, I cannot wait to go out for a walk, listen to a podcast, read a book or enjoy a nice cup of coffee. Breathing in the fresh air while doing something productive is a great way to work through and process how your day has gone.
When I have been going through something in my personal life, walking is now my go-to activity to work through what I’m dealing with. Living abroad and embracing solitude introduced me to walking, and I will always be thankful for that.
Improved Mental Health
Changing my surroundings has contributed to my vastly improved mental health. Over the last couple of years – since I have embraced being comfortable on my own – and realised my own self-worth, my mental health has improved drastically.
Living abroad has forced me to have uncomfortable moments and face my thoughts head-on, which has taught me to deal with things instead of letting them fester. I don’t believe if I had stayed in my comfort zone in the UK, I would have reached this stage in my life – and would still be actively avoiding thoughts and conversations.
Looking to the Future
Living abroad has taught me so much. It made me into the person I am today – installing self-worth and making me realise the importance of living for now, which then looks after the future. It has taught me that no one is coming to save me and that I get one chance at life, and it’s down to me to put my best foot forward every day.
Now, I work hard, chase my dreams, and savour every moment. Living abroad has taught me to take care of myself the same way I would take care – of a loved one.
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