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


Mindful Expat Episode 15: A Compassionate, Growth-Oriented Approach to Cultural Adjustment (With Guest: Sundae Schneider-Bean, MA)

Today’s Mindful Expat Guest is Sundae Schneider-Bean!

Sundae is an intercultural strategist and solution-oriented coach, and – as she says – she’s on a mission to help expats make the most of their lives abroad!

Sundae is originally from the United States, from the state of North Dakota. Even before meeting her Swiss husband and launching on a series of international moves with him, Sundae had a thirst for international adventure. In her early 20s, she traveled extensively throughout south-east Asia, where she met her husband in Vietnam – which then led her to move to Switzerland. After a number of years together there, they then moved to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, where they stayed until in 2016 when the political situation and lack of security in the region made it no longer safe to remain – at which point they relocated to South Africa, where they now live with their 2 children.

Sundae has her masters in Intercultural Communications and is a certified coach with the International Coaching Federation. Her experiences of living and working across cultures, being in an intercultural marriage, and raising bicultural TCK children makes her no stranger to the challenges – and opportunities – of expat life. As an intercultural strategies and coach, she works to help other expats navigate these challenges and learn to thrive in their lives abroad and make the most of their experiences.

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• Debunking some common myths about the cultural adjustment process and how believing these myths can be detrimental to our wellbeing and adjustment as we adapt to a new culture.
• How there is no one “right” way to move through the process of cultural adjustment and some of the factors (personal and contextual) that can impact what this process looks like.
• How our expectations can shape our experience — for example, by making us either more or less patient with ourselves as we move through the cultural adaptation process.
• How “culture shock” isn’t necessarily a bad thing and how we can use it as an opportunity to increase our own self-awareness.
• The importance of self-acceptance and self-compassion (rather than being harsh and critical toward ourselves) as we adjust to a new culture. 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