How to Maintain Mental Health as a Digital Nomad
Mindfulness techniques, digital nomad therapists and other coping mechanisms for maintaining mental health during long term travel.
The location-independent lifestyle is one of the most exciting developments that’s come out of advancing technology. Whether you’re new to digital nomadism or have worked wherever you wish for years, the isolation that comes with remote working can effect you - here are some daily practices to make sure you're looking after your mental health as much as your physical self.
Connect with Like-minded People
Digital nomadism is a relatively new phenomenon. So, you’re likely to find that few permanent residents at each location really understand the way you choose to live. Although it’s fascinating to get to know people in the local area where you are, it’s also important to have connections with people who get what you’re doing.
Try connecting with other digital nomads through social media. There, you can develop and maintain long-term relationships. You also need in-person social contact to maintain good mental health. Find out where the other digital nomads are and make a point to go there. You might find them working at coffeehouses, cafes, or libraries. In many places, you can find workspaces specifically set up for traveling remote workers. Check out our recent blog post for more tips on finding your nomadic community online and offline - we link to some of the best digital nomad Facebook groups and events.
Gather Movable Resources
When you live in one place all the time, you can usually rely on the same mental health resources year after year. As a digital nomad, those location-dependent resources do you no good. Instead, you need the same help in one place as you have in another.
Depending on therapists you find when you get to each new location can be problematic, because many countries or cities have shortages of mental health counselors. You could wait so long for an appointment that by the time you get in, you’re ready to move again.
An online therapy site like Better Help offers an easy way to connect with a therapist at your current location as well as each new one. Not only do you have help when you need it, but you can also continue your counseling relationship throughout your travels.
Learn Relaxation Techniques
The one thing you always bring with you wherever you go is your own knowledge. That’s a great reason to learn techniques for improving your mental health on the go. Relaxation techniques are easy to learn, although most take time to master.
Some of the techniques you can learn are deep breathing, systematic muscle relaxation, and mindfulness meditation. You can also download guided meditations that use imagery to help you calm your mind and emotions. Whatever relaxation technique you choose, stick with it - meditation awareness training has been shown to help those who are 'workaholics', and mindfulness techniques are shown to reduce stress-related symptoms.
Finding stability in the midst of change is easy, but you have to approach your mental health needs differently than people who live in one place. Relying on stationary resources may not be an option so, look for online mental health resources. Find understanding and acceptance in the digital nomad community online and offline. Develop your own mental health skills like relaxation techniques. When you do, there’s no reason at all that you can’t be as mentally healthy as your location-resistant counterparts.
Looking for more? Read our digital nomad guide: it's full of tips for finding your community, the best places to stay and how to find work as a digital nomad too.