How to deal with depression when you are studying abroad
Written by: Cheryl Chang, August 2018
The opportunity to be able to study overseas has always been a life-changing moment for many. However, despite the ecstatic excitement that it brings, some fall into depression during the transitional period while moving into an uncertain and new environment. Such occurrences may occur amongst those who are leaving their home-sweet-home for the first time.
Depression is a complex situation, a result based on a concoction of reasons and other complicated factors. The severity differs based on each individual, as well as how each one of them handles it and is attempting to overcome it. Developing depression while studying abroad is surprisingly common. Each individual manages culture shock, mismatched expectations, homesick and others, differently.
Hence, recognising the symptoms of depression is relatively essential before it develops into something more severe. Some of the more recognizable symptoms are: demotivated, lack of appetite, mood swings, lack of focus, difficulty sleeping, physical pain, lack of interest in doing things you love, intense anxiety and etc.
Depression can be hard to diagnose and recover from. Especially when abroad, away from your close family and friends. It is important to also identify ahead of time the people and places that you have access to when you are in need.
Below are a few ways/suggestions to help kill loneliness, homesickness, and anxieties before all these negativities develop into depression.
1. Take a break from your studies. Do some self-care by spending some alone time by doing things that make you happy.
2. Keep yourself active, engaged and entertained. This can be through numbers of things like sports, music, photography, languages and even a part-time job.
3. Talk to your friends and family, at home or overseas.
4. Be social and make friends. Just bear in mind that you are not the only one studying abroad.
5. Express yourself through such as write it down, sing it loud.
6. Seek professional help.
Studying abroad can be difficult, but it can also be amazing! Be brave, take yourself out of the comfort zone and enjoy every minute!
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