Mindful Expat Episode 29: From Surviving to Thriving Abroad! (With Guest: Louise Wiles)

Today’s Mindful Expat Guest is Louise Wiles!

Louise is an expat coach who works with international assignees, expat partners, and international organizations to help expats and their families not only survive but thrive in their lives abroad!

Louise is originally from the UK, but she has spent much of the last 18 years living in Spain and Portugal. Three years ago, she repatriated back to England with her husband and 2 daughters.

When Louise first moved abroad for her husband’s career, she left behind a corporate career of her own, so she is intimately familiar with the challenges that dual career couples face when deciding to move abroad and navigating their expat experience. Along with her (former) business partner, Evelyn Simpson, both trained coaches, she began a business called Thriving Abroad, to help expat partners and expat assignees navigate these challenges and create a life they love.

Louise also has her own podcast, also called Thriving Abroad, where she interviews guests and covers topics related to helping expats face personal and professional challenges in their lives abroad, and I highly encourage you to check it out.

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• About Louise’s experience of navigating multiple overseas moves and her professional journey of creating her coaching business, supporting expats and expat partners.
• The importance of our expectations and really thinking through our decision to move abroad ahead of time.
• Some tips for people already living abroad who feel like they’re in survival mode to help make the shift from just surviving to actually thriving in their lives overseas!  Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 28: Reflections on Foreignness

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• My reflections on foreignness during my travels in South Korea.
• Some of the pros and cons of being an obvious foreigner vs. a hidden foreigner (or “hidden immigrant”).
• Some of the benefits of living abroad and experiencing being “the other” first-hand — and how this experience can make us reflect differently on our own cultures as well as become more compassionate to other people’s experiences.
• How all of this relates to my idea for starting this podcast in the first place. Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 26: Bonne Rentrée! Turning Over a New Leaf This Fall

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• I’ll introduce you to the concept of the “rentrée” in France (basically back-to-school but for adults and kids alike!).
• We’ll discuss how this time of year can be an opportunity to take stock of what we have accomplished and learned in the past year and set our intentions for the year to come.
• I will provide you with some tips for how to begin to build habits in the service of your goals so that you can continue to make progress throughout the year on the things that are most important to you.  Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 24: The Source of Your Joy

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• I’ll share with you some updates about the podcast and invite you to take a short survey I’ve designed to help me know what you’d like to hear more about in Season 2 of the podcast.
• We’ll discuss a quote from Thich Nhat Hahn that says, “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
• I’ll share with you some fascinating research that shows that this quote is literally true, and we’ll also discuss some ways you can work to subtly shift your perspective to feel more joy in your life. Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 23: Let’s Talk About Sex! Starting the Conversation about Sexual Intimacy for Expat Partners (With Guest: Dr. Nazanin Moali)

Today’s Mindful Expat Guest is Dr. Nazanin Moali!

Dr. Moali is a licensed clinical psychologist in the state of California in the United States. She is not only a practicing psychologist, but also a consultant, researcher, sex educator, and fellow podcaster! She has two wonderful podcasts – one in English and one in Farsi – both called Sexology, where she shares research, insights, and interviews with experts in the field of sexuality to help people better understand their own sexuality and enhance their sexual intimacy and satisfaction.

Dr. Moali was born in Iran, and moved to the United States with her family at the age of 17. From a young age, she traveled extensively and has long been fascinated with different cultures – which led her to pursue a multicultural counseling emphasis in her clinical training and to write her dissertation on post-traumatic growth following immigration. (Which is not our topic for today’s podcast, but I’m thinking we may need to see if she’d be willing to come back at some point in the future to talk about this important topic!)

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• How stress — including the stress of adapting to a new culture — can show up in the bedroom (with useful information about how to understand what’s going on physiologically in our bodies when we’re under stress), and what to do about it.
• How adapting to a new culture can impact our confidence and sense of identity, and how these challenges can impact our sexuality.
• How to talk about your sexual relationship with your partner — outside the bedroom!
• How to navigate different (or changing) levels of sexual desire in a relationship.
• How to remain connected and enhance intimacy even during times where one or both partners may be traveling frequently for work. Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 22: Supporting Expat Kids Through Relocation

Today’s Mindful Expat Guest is Kate Berger, MSc!

Kate is a child and adolescent psychologist based in Amsterdam. Her private practice is called the Expat Kids Club, and — as the name would suggest — she specializes in working with expat and Third Culture Kids and their families. She is originally from New York, completed her bachelors degree from George Washington University in Washington, DC, and then moved to the Netherlands to continue her studies at Leiden University, where she received her masters degree in child and adolescent psychology. Kate’s own experience of living abroad has shaped her interest in working with young people in this intercultural space. Kate not only works with expat kids and their families in Amsterdam, but she also does consulting and outreach worldwide on issues relevant to the community of expat families.

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• Some of the common struggles that Kate sees expat kids struggling with in her practice.
• How the stress of relocation impacts kids’ emotion regulation skills and ability to plan and make decisions (and a bit of brain science behind this).
• What parents can expect as their kids adapt to a new culture and how to know when it’s time to seek outside help.
• How parents can help prepare their kids for an overseas move by creating an emotional language and modeling their own ability to reflect on and articulate their emotions.
• Some of the real gifts that an expat life can offer kids and some of the strengths that expat kids tend to develop through their experiences. Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 20: Shedding Some Light on Expat Depression

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• We’ll discuss what depression is, some factors that contribute to it, and why I think this is a particularly important issue for people living abroad.
• We’ll discuss some of the ways depression can be effectively treated and how you can connect with therapists in your area or online.
• We’ll discuss some alternatives to therapy and medication, such as exercise and mindfulness practice (surprise, surprise!), that can help with depression and be used alongside other treatment methods.
• We’ll talk about some of the common barriers to getting help while living overseas and how we can overcome these barriers.
• I’ll provide some additional resources for anyone struggling with depression or thoughts of self-harm or suicide (see below for links to these resources). Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 19: What Are You Waiting For?

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• I ask you to reflect on whether you’re waiting on something to really start living and encourage you to think about how this may present a barrier to living in the present moment.
• We discuss how to allow yourself to start really living right now, even as you may also be working toward your goals or trying to overcome obstacles.
• We discuss how gratitude practice can play a central role in being more fully present in our daily lives. Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 18: Learning from Our Emotions (Part II): Learning to Listen to Yourself

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• A continuation of our last discussion about how our emotions can actually give us useful messages about our needs — if only we can learn how to listen and decode the messages they’re sending us!
• Some of the reasons why many people have learned to distrust their emotional signals — and how we can begin to practice listening to them again.
• An exercise for you to practice listening to your own inner voice and begin to tune in to your own needs more effectively. Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 16: A Taste of Mindfulness: Finding the Present Moment Through Our Five Senses

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• About the importance of practicing mindfulness in everyday situations or through “formal practice” so that we have the skills when we really need them (when we’re stressed out, overwhelmed, or otherwise in distress).
• How to use mindful eating as an everyday mindfulness practice (with a guided exercise to get you started!).  Read More