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I am part of a couple groups for women overseas, and quite a while ago, one of the members asked this question:

"Has anyone else dealt with feeling physically "off" when you first moved to a new country? It seems like I have a few good days and then am flat on my back with some sickness or other AGAIN. I almost never feel normal. Any suggestions of things that worked for anyone? Or an idea of how long this will last?"

Good question! Most of us overseas have dealt with this, so I think it's worth discussing here. Yes, it's normal, and mostly you just have to wait it out. I think it can easily take a year to get used to the climate and "bugs" of a new place. But here are a few things to keep in mind as well . . .

1) Get plenty of rest. Give your body a break. You are dealing with a TON of new stuff, physically and emotionally, and it's exhausting. If you've just moved to a tropical climate from a temperate one, you're dealing with the heat which is very draining on your body. Take naps. Go to bed early whenever you can.

 

2) Drink plenty of water. Especially if you're in a hot climate. Drink, drink, drink! The average recommendation of 64oz a day may not be enough for an active lifestyle in a tropical country. Set a timer to remind you to drink a glass of water every couple hours, or do whatever it takes to make sure that you're staying hydrated.

 

3) Take a good multivitamin. Your diet is most likely not as varied and "enriched" as it was in America, and you need to make sure your body is getting the micro-nutrients you need. I really recommend one of those green smelly kinds made from whole foods, rather than the cheap ones you can get at Walmart. :-)

 

4) Eat a good diet. At first, give yourself some grace on this one, as you're learning to cook with strange foods and limited variety. But have a long-term goal of eating as healthy as you can with what you have available. I hope to write an article specifically on this topic soon.

 

5) Avoid what stress you can. Obviously moving to a foreign country is hugely stressful. There is no way around that. Stress takes a measurable toll on your body, and people who have high stress levels are much more likely to get sick. So take this into account, and take special care of yourself through the first stressful months of life in your new country.

 

What am I missing? Do you have any tips to add?

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