We face a unique set of challenges as expats.
As an expat psychologist deeply immersed in the experiences of navigating the many demanding roles of their expat life, it’s essential to shine a light on the critical aspects of recognizing expat burnout and asserting boundaries.
Recognizing Expat Burnout and Setting Boundaries
Expat burnout and the art of setting boundaries are often-overlooked topics when it comes to expat mental health.
While these issues are commonly associated with entrepreneurs and digital nomads, the truth is they touch the lives of everyone.
The undue pressure, anxiety, and self-doubts stemming from a challenging work environments or expat life in general.
We think that we’re supposed to suffer, to feel a little burnt out in a way. If it’s stressful it, it means that you’re doing it right. Right?
If you’re really committed to your job, you don’t have a life outside so why would you need to finish on time or a little earlier on Friday. You’ll have time eventually. When you’re retired. But now in this moment, you need to focus on your job.
That kind of thinking can be internalized in us as high achievers, ambitious, intelligent individuals.
So when we don’t fit the model, the mold or we dare to go early on Friday or we dare to yoga classes on in in the morning of Tuesdays. There’s something wrong with our belief system.
Identifying Stressors: The First Step to Managing Expat Burnout
A crucial step in preventing burnout is understanding and identifying stressors.
Why? Because we can can detect when we’re stressed but we might not be able to detect when we’re burnt out.
Burnout may manifest subtly, stressors are often more apparent. These stressors can be tasks that you’re doing, the people that you’re dealing with, anything that is a trigger, you know them, identify them.
Take time and space. Make room for yourself to identify them.
There are no shoulds or shouldn’ts in knowing your stressors. It doesn’t matter how big or small they are. Taking the time to pinpoint and accept these stressors, regardless of their perceived magnitude, becomes a cornerstone in the battle against burnout.
It’s crucial to recognize that everyone faces challenges, even if they are not immediately visible.
The Comparison Trap
As expats, digital nomads, and ambitious individuals, we often fall into the comparison trap.
Looking around and and thinking no one else is stressed? So why are you getting stressed?
Actually they may have different stress or stressors, but also they might be stressed and you just can’t see.
We measure our struggles against an idealized version of others’ lives, mistakenly believing that everyone else is doing just fine.
However, it’s crucial to realize that everyone has their own battles.
As part of the work I do with my clients in this area I tell them to pick one of or two of those people that they see and perceive as invincible and start to asking them, what is your struggle right now? What are your stressors right now?
They will find 100% of the time that they are struggling exactly as they are or in a similar way.
Empowering Through the Word “No”
A significant part of recognizing our stressors is the aspect of our boundaries and setting out boundaries.
It’s mastering the art of saying “no.”
The word “no” is the most one of the most amazing words in the world in any language.
In a society that often glorifies stress and over commitment, saying “no” becomes a powerful tool for self-care and expat mental health.
Rejecting tasks or commitments that don’t align with your priorities allows you to regain control and motivation for things that truly matter.
It’s a very uncomfortable place to be to say “no”. But, saying “no” is not only about setting boundaries but also about embracing selfishness in the context of self-care, and self care is needed to avoid stress and burn out.
“No” is a complete sentence, and it’s okay to be selfish when it comes to taking care of your mental and emotional well-being.
You can’t pour from an empty cup? You’ve got to look after yourself first. You have to really look at you, you get one life, you get one body, you get one mind. And if you don’t look after it, you can’t help anyone else.
If we don’t communicate the no. We are denying ourselves that boundary setting.
Recognizing stressors, avoiding the comparison trap, and mastering the liberating power of “no” are vital steps in cultivating a healthy, balanced lifestyle in life abroad as an expat.
By embracing selfishness as a form of self-care, expats can navigate the intricate paths of their careers and personal lives with resilience and authenticity.
Remember, saying “no” is not a selfish act; it’s an act of self-love, allowing you to flourish both personally and professionally.
If you’re navigating expat burnout and maintaining your boundaries in your life abroad, you’re not alone. As an expat psychologist my expertise offers valuable support to individuals to give you the confidence to move forward in your expat life, enjoying it to it’s fullest.
Find out more about my methods and approach here.
Do you want to know more about on how to overcome Limiting Beliefs of life abroad? Check my Workshop here
Searching for useful and effective strategies? Download my 9 Tools to overcome Expat Anxiety Freebie
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By your side,
If you are an expat woman who wants to live a joyful, successful and fulfilled international life, Gabriela is the Licensed Psychologist and Mentor you need.
She helps you reclaim your self-confidence back and design your expat life in your own terms. Gabriela has more than 20 years of professional experience, speaks 3 languages (sometimes in one sentence, like you!) and has supported more than 400 expats overcome anxiety and burnout, build meaningful relationships and enjoy their international lives, wherever they are, wherever they are heading.
Gabriela offers counseling to expat women in Spanish, English and German.