Cool Tip #043: Six (6) Ways to Beat Stress While Working Abroad


As we’ve said countless times, being an OFW is hard (and can be fulfilling!). Among others, it takes a lot of hard work, perseverance, and, at times, pagtitiis. As OFWs carry out their work abroad, one thing that almost always cannot be avoided is stress. Stress is everywhere. OFWs in particular are subject to a lot of stressors: the pressure to earn and to work excessively in order to earn, homesickness, the feeling of being separated from one’s loved ones, being in a foreign environment, horrible workmates or employers (for some)… the list goes on and on. Stress is obviously not healthy, so what should you as an OFW do to relieve yourself of this stress? Here are some ways:

  1. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t be stressed by the little things in life. Missed a bus? There’s a next one anyway. Forgot your packed lunch at home? I can always buy a cheap one at the canteen. Most of the time, people get stressed because they overthink everything. Little things are not worthy of your stress. So do yourself a favor and don’t sweat the small stuff.
  2. Change your perspective. At times, it’s all in the head. If there’s something that stresses you out, try looking at it differently so that it doesn’t anymore. For example, if you’re stressed out that your boss is piling all this work on you and not your co-workers, think that perhaps your boss knows you’re the only one you can handle/do that kind of work. That way, your boss actually appears to value you more as opposed to just wanting to destroy your life. In any case, always think positive! You’ll be happier that way.
  3. Take a time out. Whenever you think you’ve had too much stress, do this immediately: take a break. It can be as simple as a 15-minute coffee break or a short walk outside. Anything to give you a breath of fresh air, to clear your mind of all these toxic things and reset your senses. If possible, you can even take a longer break like a day or week off during which time you should do something enjoyable. You can even take a longer break and visit your loved ones back in the Philippines—now that’s a good way to de-stress!
  4. Do something regularly besides work. Take on a crafting project at home, attend classes to learn a language, set up your own desktop computer, join a sports club, work out at the gym, go out malling with your OFW barkada, create a following on Facebook through Facebook Live (which a lot of OFWs are doing nowadays), etc. Engage yourself in fun, non-work related activities to get rid of all that stress! The key here is to do it on a regular basis, e.g. daily, twice a week, thrice a week, every weekend, whatever as long as it’s regular. Doing such activities regularly gives you something to look forward to as the week goes by, which is an excellent way to shift your focus from all the stress at work.
  5. Talk with your loved ones. Nothing beats stress than a good ol’ talk with your loved ones back home. It’s always nice to talk with people you love and care about, and who love and care about you too. Remember that you always have the time to talk with your loved ones back home—no matter how busy your schedule is, there will always be that time to talk with them. Trust us. And with all the communication tools available at your disposal (see a listing of these tools here), calling your loved ones for a quick de-stressing is as easy as 1-2-3.
  6. Know what stresses you and, if possible, take action. If you want to take a more active stance towards stopping the source of your stress, then go for it. But first, you must be able to know what (or who) it is specifically that stresses you out. Identifying the problem is the first step. Once you’ve done that, you can now take steps to solve the problem. Can you approach the problem head-on? If there’s a problem at work, can you just talk to your supervisor about it? Can you develop ways to improve your situation? Is this stressor something that can only be avoided? Each stressor is different, and so whatever approach you take will depend on the stressor itself and on your personal preferences on how to act on it. You can even take some advice from your family and friends on these matters—just ask!

So in the end, whether you let stress consume you or not is all up to you. There are many ways to de-stress, more than what we can list up for you in this cool tip. Find those ways which suit you, and stick to them. Yes, being an OFW is hard but that doesn’t mean you have to make it stressful! 🙂