I am not going to lie. Doing a PhD in a foreign country is stressful. Stressful enough that I didn't feel like I could even write about it until it was a little under control. Contrary to popular belief there are foreign customs and a different language here. I understand that maybe next to Canada, the U.K. is probably the most similar culturally wise but that is part of the problem. It's not so different that I can switch between worlds, so the false confidence that I know what to expect keeps getting derailed constantly and every time it does my stress level goes up.
Then there is the normal stress that I was expecting which is the uncertainty of a PhD. Of course long hours, daily commute, and no money are normal for a PhD so these are actually cause of the least stress.
The biggest cause of stress that caught me out of left field is being cut off from family and friends. I foresaw being lonely a problem so I made sure to build up a large group of people to hang out with here so that is a non-issue. It was that as soon as I was out of the picture in the U.S. some friends just cut me out completely like I no longer existed so dealing with that has added much non-needed stress.
I used to think that all I needed to do to keep my body healthy was to exercise regularly, take my vitamins, and eat right. Up until now that has worked great. Now I see if I don't monitor my stress level it will shut my system down just as fast as any sickness. Monitoring one more thing to keep it in check has, you guessed it, added to my stress level.