While living in Singapore has countless advantages, making the move as an expat – and often becoming the dependant – can bring with it plenty of vulnerabilities, feelings of unfamiliarity, stress and anxiety. Here, our friends at Pacific Prime Singapore share helpful tips for overcoming trailing spouse depression in Singapore and making the most of your new chapter as an expat – yes, even if you’re a Dependant’s Pass holder with a Letter of Consent.
#1 Don’t let the “dependant” label define you
As the “trailing spouse”, chances are you a Dependant’s Pass holder. Being labelled as a “dependant” on your visa can make you feel like you’re wholly reliant on your working spouse. This can lead to feelings of regret, inferiority and also impact your self-esteem. As such, it’s important to remind yourself that labels are often associated with negative stereotypes and can be incredibly harmful. Don’t let yourself be defined by the terms “dependant” or “trailing spouse”. You have the power to decide who you are, what your sense of worth is, and the kind of life you want to lead.
#2 Pursue a hobby, passion or ambition
Being a Dependant’s Pass holder previously meant that you could easily work by obtaining a Letter of Consent (LOC). However, the recent change of rules means that’s no longer an option even with an LOC. For many people, not being able to work can lead to a loss of purpose and sense of identity. Therefore, it’s uncommon for trailing spouses who don’t qualify for work passes (either an S Pass or an Employment Pass) to fall into a depression in Singapore.
But, just because you aren’t able to work doesn’t mean your life has to lack purpose. Use your time as a trailing spouse wisely and pursue a hobby or passion project you never had the time for. While the number of things you can do is endless, some ideas include learning a new language, refining your baking skills and starting a blog; you don’t need a Letter of Consent for that! Alternatively, you could also take the opportunity to study further and even volunteer. These new skills and experiences will be useful for when you do return to the workforce.
#3 Build your own support network
One of the best ways to overcome (and even prevent) trailing spouse depression in Singapore is to have a support network to rely on. Humans are social creatures, after all – and a cup of coffee with a friend may be just what it takes to rid you of loneliness as a trailing spouse.
Join interest groups or expat groups to meet people and socialise. Social media is also a good way to find people of common interests or backgrounds. If you’re religious, it’s also worth checking out the local churches or temples for communities to be a part of.
#4 Communicate openly with your spouse
Good relationships are built on open communication, as well as mutual trust and respect. So, whatever you’re feeling (no matter how small or insignificant it may seem), don’t let it fester, build up and overwhelm you, your spouse or your relationship.
Are you feeling empty on the inside? Do you miss being in an office environment or having work colleagues? What about wanting to earn and have financial independence? Share these concerns with your spouse, work through feelings together and make sure you’re both on the same page.
#5 Take care of yourself
It goes without saying that health is holistic. If you’re not feeling your best self physically, it’s going to impact how you feel mentally and vice versa. So, it’s important to make the conscious effort to take care of yourself. This means sleeping enough, eating healthily, exercising regularly, and minimising smoking and drinking. It also means engaging in self-care rituals from time to time. Whether it’s meditation, journaling or even being out in nature, finding ways to unwind and inject a dose of positivity into your life is vital.
As an expat-focused, global health insurance brokerage, Pacific Prime Singapore can help you take charge of your health and wellbeing. They compare expat health insurance plans from leading insurers and match you to the right plan for your needs and budget. They also provide a number of support services throughout your insurance journey.
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