If your relocation to another city has been successful, then you must know how good it feels to finally sit down in your new home right after the moving truck has left and congratulate yourself on a job well done. You can’t help but feel great satisfaction about the flawless way you organized the entire move by creating a customized moving calendar and strictly sticking to it until the very end. And what about the smart tactics of finding, researching and hiring the best moving company out there? On top of that, you took advantage of some great cost saving techniques to bring down considerably the estimated relocation price. Yes, you have every reason to be proud of yourself!
And yet, the time for opening that special bottle of champagne has not come yet. Many moving experts believe that the hardest part of a move comes after the moving day is over, and they don’t just mean the never-ending unpacking or the great number of important post relocation tasks that you will have to take care of one by one. It is believed that the toughest stage of a move is the tricky period of dealing with a post-move phenomenon known as relocation depression.
How can relocation cause depression?
You still carry the moving inertia during the first few days after moving into your new home. In the beginning, the excitement of living in a brand new city and the thought of making new good friends will be filling you up and won’t leave much room for any negative emotions. Combine that vacation-like thrill with the pressing post-move tasks you’ll be forced to deal with right away and you get the perfect remedy against any depressing thoughts after your cross country move.
Feeling as blue as a gargoyle after the move?
However, once the adrenaline-filled moving day hecticness is behind your back, the new home excitement wears off and your mind realizes that this “vacation” will last for years to come, you may start to feel one of the strongest side effects of moving – depression.
The depression due to relocation is not something that can be touched, or smelled, or seen, but it surely is a powerful force to be reckoned with. This unwelcoming physiological state comes as a direct result from leaving your old life behind – a life where you enjoyed the highly familiar and comforting daily routine, the unforgettable moments with good and loyal friends, the unquestionable support of your family and maybe even a greatly satisfying job you loved. In other words, the post relocation depression is your mourning period of the life you no longer have and could never bring back.
Relocation Depression Symptoms
People react differently to residential relocation and some handle sudden changes much better than others. Some people breeze through the post-move period by diving headfirst into the new environment and don’t seem to be affected much by the change of scenery. There are also individuals who tend to have more serious troubles adapting to the unfamiliar settings and need more time to properly settle in, but they don’t really realize they have become victims of that post-move phenomenon and manage to find their own battling techniques to deal with relocation depression, usually by facing and tackling each attacking issue one at a time. Regrettably, there are also those who get hit by severe relocation depression, struggle to regain their normal inner rhythm and who can’t seem to rediscover the purpose that used to bring meaning to their lives.
Excessive sleep is one of the most typical symptoms of relocation depression.
Here are some of the more typical symptoms of relocation depression that you need to watch out for once the dust of unpacked moving boxes settles down in your new house.
- Excessive sleep. One of the most common depression symptoms is to find out that you sleep much more than you normally do. If approximately 8 hours were enough to fully recharge your batteries, then the sudden 12 or more hours of sleep is usually a good indicator than something is not quite right.
- Uncharacteristic tiredness. Waking up tired and devoid of energy even after a good night’s sleep, and then starting about your day in a painfully sluggish way as if you were moving underwater could be a sign you’ve fallen victim of relocation depression.
- Unwillingness to leave the house. Are you spending most of your time inside your home and feel strong reluctance or even fear to step beyond your doorstep? Do you automatically reject any invitations or suggestions to go out and do something outside the confines of your house or apartment? If yes, you may be down with relocation depression.
- Lack of desire to socialize. The mere thought of meeting and interacting with new people sounds very unappealing and even frightening, and you prefer to spend your days on your own.
- Tangible apathy. You exhibit a notable lack of interest in doing anything special, except maybe sleep and watch TV all day.
It’s hard to know whether the symptoms you’re exhibiting are the result of the post relocation separation anxiety or not – it’s possible that you don’t feel your former self for some other medical reasons. One way to know for sure that you’re under the influence of this highly undesirable side effect of relocation is if you feel energized and ready to take the world head-on only when you talk with your old friends or when you plan a visit to your old home in your old city.
Read on to find out how to deal with relocation depression.
How To Overcome Relocation Depression?
Do not despair if you fear that you may be struggling with separation anxiety, for there are a number of proven relocation depression strategies to help you find a way out of your current cul-de-sac and start enjoying your new life as you should have done by now. Some useful ideas can be found in this concise but informative article.
Don’t just hide in your home but go out and get to know your new city.
Try hard to make new friends
Making new friends may not be a walk in the park, especially if you don’t have it in you to befriend strangers almost seamlessly like some people do. And yet, it’s imperative that you do your best. It’s no secret that friends will give you exactly what you need to break free from your nostalgic post relocation sadness. Start small until you regain your confidence. For example, why don’t you go over to your new neighbors, say something like, “Hi. How are you?” and maybe even invite them to a humble housewarming party? Be friendly to your new colleagues at work and make an effort to go out more often and meet new people with a smile on your face.
Get to know your new city
Unfamiliar settings can easily bring about ungrounded fear and darker thoughts. The solution? Turn the unfamiliar surroundings into more familiar by exploring your neighborhood first and then your city. Be brave enough to step outside the illusionary safety of your new residence and you’ll see how fresh possibilities will open in front of you one by one. Take a walk in a beautiful city park, dare to go shopping in a crowded shopping district, visit historic city landmarks and locate important places (hospitals, post offices, police stations, etc.). The more you get to know your still strange city, the less strange and more appealing it may become in the end.
Introduce familiarity to your new home
One proven way to overcome relocation depression, which is partly due to your unwillingness to accept abrupt change, is to surround yourself with familiar items and place them in familiar fashion so that you make your new place feel more like your old residence. Arrange the furniture pieces exactly the way they were before the move and install the same furnishings throughout the living space in order to get that well-known and enjoyable warm feeling of home-ness that you’ve been robbed of. Some people will probably not understand your nostalgic home interior recreation and that’s okay. After all, you’re the only one who knows the secret and highly complicated household arrangement pattern that has the power to restore your inner harmony and peace of mind.
Keep meaningful relationships alive
Reliving the joys of your childhood may be just what you need to settle in your new city more quickly.
Making new friends is probably the most effective technique out there to fight depression due to relocation. And while your new life is taking you forward, do not forget to look back and keep in touch with your old pals. Nowadays, it takes nothing more than a mouse click or a single finger tap to talk and even see an old friend, so distance is a poor excuse to let great relationships slip between the cracks of your new reality.
If you do happen to find yourself a bit overwhelmed by your new life, keep repeating to yourself that sometimes backward is the only way forward.
Do something crazy
If you can’t seem to find a way out of your depressed state of mind, consider breaking your set daily rhythm and your inner pattern by doing something you wouldn’t do under normal circumstances. Simply put, do something crazy (reasonably crazy, of course) like joining a chess club or signing up for yoga or dance classes or learning how to play a musical instrument. Find yourself new hobbies and interests to clear your head out of any sad thoughts and help you meet new interesting people seamlessly.
Give yourself more time
And most importantly, don’t be too hard on yourself. You have just survived a stressful and testing move which, even without you realizing it, may have turned your world upside down, broken your daily routine to pieces and wreaked havoc on your internal biological clock.
Be patient. Your pre-move and post-move lives are closely interconnected and it will take some time before your life essence balances itself out.
Are you familiar with the concept of communicating vessels? Your new post-move life and your old pre-move life are the interconnected vessels, and you’re playing the role of the medium between these two entities. Now, similar to the homogeneous liquid inside interconnected containers which requires time to balance itself out to the same level inside the vessels, you also need time to acclimatize properly to the unfamiliar surroundings and advance slowly but steadily through the adaptation period. You need more time, so give yourself more time. One little step at a time, just like a baby learning how to walk for the very first time. Right?
The relocation depression strategies described above will help you find the right path much faster but the best way to fight the post-move side effect is to avoid relocation depression altogether. The moment you set foot in your new home, believe in your inner strength to handle change, use your strong will to avoid the cleverly set depressing traps, and counterattack the unexpected enemy with the healing power of positive thinking.
Yes, occupy your mind with positive thoughts and soon you’ll be ready to have your relocation depression for breakfast. Bon appétit!