Mindful Expat Episode 32: Thanksgiving & Gratitude (Even If You’re Not Feeling So Grateful at the Moment)

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• The benefits of practicing gratitude (to our emotional, psychological, and physical health!).
• What it even means to “practice” gratitude. (And how doing so can help you experience more spontaneous gratitude as well!)
• A short gratitude practice that you can incorporate into your daily routine that is supported by a bunch of research. Read More

Mindful Expat Episode 31: Learning to Trust Yourself Through Pregnancy & Birth Abroad

Today’s Mindful Expat Guest is Karen Wilmot!

Karen was born and grew up in South Africa. Growing up with a mother who was a midwife, Karen was exposed from an early age to inspiring stories of women giving birth. She followed in her mother’s footsteps and became a midwife herself. Karen’s love of travel led her to live in many different countries – including Saudi Arabia, Mauritius, and Mexico. For the past 13 years, she has been living in Oman, where she established the first private community services there supporting expat women during pregnancy and birth. More recently, Karen was inspired to take her work online to reach women around the world in search of support and guidance as they navigate the birth process while living abroad. She started the Virtual Midwife, an interactive online platform where she provides personalized care, information, and support for expat women around the world, many of whom who have limited or no access to quality prenatal advice and care. An advocate for a holistic approach to birth, Karen incorporates mindfulness, yoga, and other methods for working with the mind and the body to promote health and wellbeing for the women she works with.

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• Some of the cultural differences that women and families may encounter when navigating pregnancy and birth in a foreign medical system.
• The importance of being informed about the medical system in your host country and knowing the right questions to ask to make sure you get your needs met.
• The importance of mindset and expectations in our experiences of pregnancy and birth (whether in a foreign country or not).
• How to recognize the factors that are within your control and accept those things that may be outside of your control as you navigate pregnancy and birth in a foreign country.
• The importance of self-awareness and mindfulness (the ability to remain truly present) in pregnancy and birth.

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 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

Mindful Expat Episode 14: Self-Compassion, the Two Arrows, & Learning to Surf

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• How you can create a pause between your initial experience of an emotion and your reaction to it, and how doing so will allow you to cultivate more self-compassion and feel less out of control in your life.
• About the differences between pain and suffering — and how our responses to our own internal experiences determine the extent to which we suffer.
• The Buddhist metaphor of the two arrows, which illustrates this difference between pain and suffering.
• How all of this might apply to the experience of struggling with adaptation to a new country/culture. Read More