If you are deciding on an expat life in the world’s most popular island destination, whether on a sabbatical or early retirement, you will need to keep your mental and physical health in check by following some sensible lifestyle choices.
Drink and eat sensibly
Relocating to Bali doesn’t mean an endless summer of bliss so careful with eating and drinking as if you were on a carefree vacation. It’s a fact. Many newcomers to Bali get beguiled into an easeful way of life especially with endless billboards advertising one buffet deal after the other along with copious nights spots promoting those commonplace red and black Bintang signs. Health-e suggests pulling in the reigns of excessiveness to eat and drink responsibly.
And here’s the good news: with so many top restaurants on the island there is a growing need for quality ingredients. That same produce and seafood, even organic pork and beef, can be prepared right in your kitchen. And learn how to appreciate Indonesian food, one of Asia’s more underrated cuisines that is increasingly finding its place in the culinary world.
Get a dog
Depending on how long you plan on living in Bali, the island is an ideal place for a pet pooch and you’ll feel healthy for it, too. In the Harvard Health Blog, Executive Editor Daniel DeNoon writes: “My twice-daily walks with my border collie, Clair DeNoon, are the highlights of my day and a new report from the American Heart Association will put an extra spring in my steps as having a canine companion may help lower my risk of heart disease.”
Studies linking pet ownership to better physical and mental health have been popping up for decades. The findings were usually encouraging to pet owners, but none of these studies offered conclusive proof. Although that’s still lacking, a panel of experts from the American Heart Association (AHA) has weighed all the available evidence. The verdict: Having a pet — a dog in particular — likely lowers the risk of heart disease. One further benefit: your social life may get a boost as fellow dog owners along the beaches and esplanades are typically quick to say hello to compare breeds!
Learn Bahasa Indonesia
Healthy bodies are one thing and sharp minds are another and no better way to keep your edge than with a second or even third language. Physiological studies have found that picking up another language is a great asset to the cognitive process. The brains of bilingual people operate differently than single language speakers, and these differences offer several mental benefits. Besides which, you need to tell your Indonesian cook what your food preferences are! And there are plenty of quality teachers who will schedule your Bahasa lessons at your home each week.
There’s something gratifying about volunteering and there are many avenues for your contribution in Bali. But let’s start with your health. Studies have shown that volunteering helps people who donate their time feel more socially connected, thus warding off loneliness and depression. A growing body of evidence suggests that people who give their time to others might also be rewarded with better physical health — including lower blood pressure and a longer lifespan.
Decide on One Doctor
At BIMC we can recommend the right doctor for you based on health and age and past medical history. A recent study points out that patients are more likely to raise a health problem with a doctor they’ve seen over time and have built-up a relationship with. Seeing the same GP is thought to be important in ensuring quality of patient care, as the doctor will have better knowledge of the patient’s history, medications, and health-related behaviors and attitudes.