You care about yourself. But caring about is not the same as taking care of. The former is what you say, the latter is what you do. Moving to another country is the time to double-down on all the good things you should be doing anyway to take care of YOU! Consider the various aspects of wellbeing and how your next bold move might impact them.

Mental Health

Beginning a new life anywhere is challenging, let alone a place where you have preconceived expectations. Where reality meets expectations lurks disappointment. Rarely are expectations exceeded. Start a meditative or reflective practice today. This is a long-term investment. When it gets tough you’ll look back to this day as a life-changer. Not into meditation? At least, choose a place and time each day to sit in silence and breathe. If you like, start writing – just a few words a day. Anything that’s on your mind. Questions solve themselves as thoughts flow from mind through body to paper.

Have fun. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Hang out with people who have a laugh and avoid negative conversations, social media included.

Physical Health

Planning, moving and re-settling are stressful and can take a toll. Don’t compromise on simple things that keep you healthy, not just physically but mentally. Get outside and move – anything at all. Set a process goal like exercise three times a week. Respect your body with the nutrition it deserves. If you exercise enough your body will crave good food. Even better, join a team or group to keep yourself accountable and connected.

Emotional Health

You are removing yourself out of a social network you have built over years. Whether you realise it or not, you are returning to a brand new one. Faces may be familiar. But everyone has changed. Here again merge expectation and disappointment. Put yourself out there. The days you cannot find motivation are exactly the ones where you must find motion. (Tip: Keep a red notebook beside your bed and write 3 things you’re grateful for or liked about each day to embed gratitude.)

Spiritual Health

If you’re not happy right now where you are, moving country may not solve it. Choose to be happy and bring that feeling home with you. Write down the 10 things most important to you and realise that most are in Ireland as well as where you are now. Remember what’s important. Use your reflective practice to remind yourself of all the good in your life. Live positively and proactively according to your values.

More than anything, keep shuffling. One foot in front of the other. Set goals – big or small. Act and trust that good things will happen. Don’t sit still and expect change. That said, be patient and kind to yourself. You are right where you are meant to be. Always. But still, act. Baby steps. Make promises to yourself and keep them.

Finally, keep it all in perspective. Mostly your life is great. Each morning, upon waking, you can find ten things to complain about or ten to be happy about. Choose the latter. In 20 years you will look back on challenges you have now and laugh. Difficult moments will come to define and carve your character. At exactly those moments, close your eyes and imagine yourself in the future. Looking back to see how this moment was nothing, merely a test – a gift for you to demonstrate your true potential.

PS I wrote this as much for myself as for anyone else!

James now helps emigrants settle in Ireland, as a launchpad for designing the life they want. Check out our Returning Emigrants Programme here.

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