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How To Cope: Moving to a New City

May 27th, 2022


Most of us have moved at least once in our lifetime. Some moved during childhood to a different city, state, or just a different house in the same city.

It can be exciting but still takes a lot to get used to. Moving somewhere with our families makes it a lot easier. You are not alone and family is what makes us comfortable.

It’s easier to cope with a new city when you have someone else experiencing the same emotion as you. Sure moving can be very exciting; one gets to experience new things, decorate a new house/apartment, and even make new memories. Making the decision to move to a new city alone can be, well...difficult.

The Psychology of Moving

The Psychology of Moving

There are so many things that go into moving like:

  • Packing
  • Transportation to a new location
  • Finding housing
  • Finding a job
  • Meet new people and make new friends
  • Finding a new normal
  • Unpacking
  • Getting familiar with the new area

Just writing these points makes me exhausted! We can’t help but try to plan and control what will happen, especially when we are dealing with anxiety. The lack of control is enough to just make someone crazy and scared. It's part of why moving is so exhausting because your brain is working at 100 mph to remain calm and in control.

Ask yourself, when are the moments you have a meltdown during a move? It’s probably when something goes wrong that is out of your control. As humans, we like to be prepared even for the unexpected, so we plan.

It all takes so much brainpower that the process of moving from beginning to end is exhausting. You’re not only physically draining your body but you’re draining your brain.

What is Relocation Depression?

What is Relocation Depression?

Okay, so now we're all moved into our new home/apartment in this new city. The first few days might be met with excitement. You get to explore, figure out where the grocery stores are, gyms, shopping malls, restaurants, etc.

Then you start to slow down and may feel sad. It may happen before the move, the first day in the new city, or a few days, or even weeks after; everyone is different.

You’re in this brand new place, why are we depressed? Well, simple. We are not in our comfort zone anymore. What exactly is a comfort zone? It’s any place, food, or situation that makes one feel safe and at ease. Comfort zones take time to build.

Coping with Relocation Depression

A few coping ideas that can help with relocation depression:

  1. Facetiming with friends or family
  2. Decorate your new home quick (surrounding yourself with familiar objects)
  3. Explore new areas
  4. Research about the area before moving (can help get you excited)
  5. Find people or groups on social media in your area (can help make friends)
  6. Make a therapy appointment
  7. Create a mindset that this is your next big adventure

Dealing with Homesickness

As mentioned in one of the points above, the best way to deal with homesickness is by keeping in touch with friends and family consistently. Thank goodness for Facetime or Zoom, right?

A few ways that helped me when I moved states, was comfort food or favorite movies. We all have those foods that make us feel warm and happy inside. Make those in your new apartment, you get comfort food and your place smells like home.

Do anything that will bring you back to a happy time, like watching Disney movies. This is a personal favorite of mine. It brings me back to childhood, a time that was safe and not so complex. When you feel out of place and not comfortable it’s important to surround yourself with these happy memories.

Pieces of Advice When Moving To A New City

Pieces of Advice When Moving To A New City

I have moved to different states quite a few times and let me tell you, there is nothing easy about it. The key for me was family and friends. Do not be afraid to express your emotions about moving.

It’s okay to be scared and nervous, it's completely normal. I have heard many people feel that they cannot be negative about it because they chose to move. Life is not black and white so why should moving be.

Another big piece of advice is unpacking. There is nothing more lonely, in my opinion than an empty feeling home or apartment. It may be a lot of work but if possible take a few days off of work and get the unpacking out of the way.

Surrounding yourself with memories and familiar objects can make a whole difference. Even something as simple as making your bed complete with your favorite comforter. It may be small but it can make a huge impact. Unpacking will also make it feel less alone.

The last piece of advice would be to make an appointment with a therapist. If you are seeking therapy, it would probably be best to even research one before the move and schedule an appointment then. This way you are all prepared and you won’t have to take time researching or even wait weeks for an appointment.

All in all, moving is never easy whether it is with family or yourself. There are ways that can help make the transition easier. It won’t make the experience amazing but it can help get you through it and transition faster so you can begin your new journey.

Written By: Alexandra Shuman, LSW

Clarity Clinic

At Clarity Clinic, we have highly trained staff who specialize in therapy and psychiatry services. To learn more about how we can support your mental health, call Clarity Clinic on (312) 815-9660 or schedule an appointment today.

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