The Stress Factors of Expat Living in Singapore VS London

I see life and our overall wellbeing as a complex jigsaw puzzle and ‘stressed pieces’ don’t fit together. The key to ‘life’s puzzle’ is to find and fix our Emotional, Physical and Environmental stresses so our pieces can connect again. That’s why I say life is a journey filled with happiness when all our jigsaw pieces work together – The ‘Big 3’ Stress Solutions Puzzle...


Which city you chose to be an Expat in can have a massive impact on your emotional wellbeing...

When you move aboard are you aware of the stresses that it can entail? Here are some good things know before you go!

When it comes to Expat life I’ve been shocked by the assumptions some people make based on nothing they’ve ever experienced before. Being told by many people being an expat in Singapore is being an expat for beginners? Really? I’ve been told outright to be a true Expat means you have to live in New York or London! Seriously? Yes, that’s what has been said to me on a few occasions.

But what is life really like living between these two big cities? Well, the truth is its chalk and cheese! They are on such different levels you can’t begin to imagine. My stress levels have varied a great deal between these two cities and here’s the rundown on why!


Friends and Social Life

In both cities, it’s easy to have a social life the vast differences between the two is the people you are hanging out with.

In Singapore, there are a lot of Expats which are competitive and like to flaunt their packages especially when they’ve been drinking!

In London, I’ve not seen/heard money/packages being raised here. We all go out and have a great time because there are so many great places to drink and eat in London, the list is endless and this city is filled with very polite and lovely people!

I find my emotional stress much less living in London for this reason!


Cost of Living

Because both cities are expensive I think to cost of living is almost on par with each other. Sure, it’s cheaper for certain things in Singapore like taxis and the trains but alcohol costs a fortune! In London, the alcohol costs less but taxis are expensive and so is the tube.  I don’t find there is any real difference between the two when you weight up the cost of food, transport, power, going out, drinking alcohol, and all other things it all balances out at the end of the day. The only major difference is schooling because in Singapore you have to go to International School which start at around $25k SGD per year!

I would get stressed living in Singapore with the cost of living, so expensive to drink and eat out or buy organic food. London is cheaper and the quality doesn’t even compare, London gets amazingly great food quality! I find my physical stress reduced because I can nourish my body with super healthy food that doesn’t cost the earth! That being said, my physical stress does take a pounding with all the alcohol drinking! Ha ha ha

Overall, I do think I’m less stressed about the cost of living in London because I get such great quality food which makes a massive difference to my stress levels. Happy healthy body equals a happy healthy mind!


Getting Around

London owning a car is affordable, to say the least when you are comparing it to Singapore. Singapore, you have to sell your first-born child to afford one! The public transport in Singapore is excellent, the MRT (train system) is cheap, new and runs all the time. In London, the Tube is old and expensive and doesn’t always run on time!

I find getting around both cities to be a little stressful at times!


Money and Savings

To put it in simple terms, if you want to save money but have ‘less’ of an experience of the quality of life and fun then Singapore is where to go, you can save lots of money in Singapore because of the amazing tax rate. If you want to have an awesome time, meet great people, have a crazy busy social life and live in a big city then London is defiantly the way to go, however, you will not save money here!

I was happy to see the bank account keep some money when living in Singapore, which doesn’t happen living in London!



In Singapore it’s hot all year round and humid as well, you will not experience all season, just hot! You’ll live in lightweight clothes and open-toed shoes and even then you’re still going to sweat! London, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. You’ll need lots of warm clothes but at least there is central heating! The one downside to London is lack of sunshine, which can be an issue for some.

Weather plays a major role on my emotional stress, I need sunshine therefore in London at times I can struggle. That being said I’m stressed both physically and emotionally because I get sick from breathing in all the mould due to the humidity in Singapore.



Singapore is safer than London on many different fronts. Singapore is one of the safest countries in the world. You don’t have to worry about being robbed, attacked, or anything like that in Singapore.

I do worry about attacks sometimes in London, I was at Borough Market the day of the attack, drinking at The Wheatsheaf! So yes these things to play on my mind from time to time...  


Food and Dining out

London has some of the best quality food in the world! The freshness of the produce is amazing and there is an endless supply of cuisine on offer, whatever your heart desires you’ll find it in London. In Singapore there are limited choices, the freshness isn’t there and there is a lot of MSG in everything when you’re eating out.

I get annoyed eating out in Singapore therefore over the course of time that causes stress because I just want to go out and enjoy myself without it being difficult!


So what does the ‘Big 3’ Stress Solutions Puzzle look like when it comes to The Stress Factors of Expat Living in Singapore VS London? 


Truth be told for me living in London has been far better from an emotional stress perspective because I really enjoy living in London! Aside from the cold, grey days, there’s so much upside to living here! I like the fact people are friendly and there’s no competition regarding who makes the most money, who spends more on an apartment, what your job title is etc etc etc.

Singapore was an emotionally stressful place for me on many levels ranging from health to friends, quality of food, and the ease of day to day living, all of which when piled on top of each other can weigh you down.

In London, I wasn’t missing friends and family like I did in Singapore. Maybe London was more fulfilling on an emotional level.

Remember my motto for positive change is ‘Little Puzzle Pieces Create a Big Picture’… Living an Expat life is one of the best things you can do. Irrespective of what you might think, you will learn more about yourself then you realise moving aboard. It might sound a little tripe but it’s true, you will not discover this much about yourself unless you do!

Until next time be thoughtful, be mindful, be present. This is Character 32 doing her best to help you!


You might also like