Moving is, more often than not, stressful for everyone involved. The hectic moving process, the tedious tasks and the added tension and responsibility really takes a toll on you. But for some people, things move beyond stress. Due to factors like loneliness and loss of control, they find it hard to adjust to their new environment and start to feel depressed. This particular brand of depression brought on by moving is called relocation depression.
Relocation depression doesn’t affect everyone, but it is still quite common, especially among people moving for the first time or moving to a different country altogether. So, let’s take a look at why you could feel depressed after relocating and what you can do to combat this depression.
What causes relocation depression?
There are several factors that contribute to relocation depression. Some of the major ones are:
Loneliness and isolation
When you move to a different city or neighborhood, you lose the support system of friends and loved ones, you built in your last home. You miss your friends and family and that causes you to feel depressed.
Feeling not in control
Moving is stressful. You have to handle a lot of added responsibilities and stay on top of the whole hectic process. Even after moving, you have to take care of a lot of additional things, related to the move, often without any kind of support. This can make you feel overwhelmed and lead to depression.
Having trouble adjusting
Sometimes, when you move to a different city or country, with a different culture, you often have a hard time adjusting. As a result, you feel isolated which leads to depression.
If you are a trailing spouse, i.e. if you’re moving because your spouse got a new job in a new city, you are more likely to feel depressed. A lot of times this move involves giving up your own job and support system. This might make you feel unfulfilled, and can sometimes even lead to identity crisis.
How to overcome relocation depression?
While relocation depression is not as crippling as other clinical depressions, it can have a serious impact on your health and your life. Here are a few tips to combat relocation depression:
Plan Ahead/Take Charge
A big reason for depression is feeling uprooted, overwhelmed and out of your element. So, instead of wallowing in these feelings, take charge of your life. Make a list of things you need to do and tackle those duties, one step at a time. Doing something and getting positive results will give you a sense of accomplishment and boost your self esteem.
If you’re a trailing spouse, make an action plan for your life in this new place. Do something that gives you a sense of purpose. Join communities, find a job, volunteer and build a network of support system. Create a life which is distinct from that of your spouse.
Once you’ve moved to a new location, you’ll find yourself drowning in the logistics of the move and building a new life in a new place. It is hectic and you can often feel overwhelmed, even frightened. Instead of giving into this feeling, learn to manage your work load. Make a list, prioritize and always tackle things, one step at a time.
Keep in Touch with Loved Ones
One of the main causes of depression after moving is the loss of your social support system. Since you’re new in the area, you haven’t had a chance to make new friends. You feel alone when you need support the most. So, try and keep up with your old friends and loved ones as much as possible. Due to the advancement in technology, this isn’t really hard. Call them up, video chat with them, or simply email and keep in touch. Talking with them, through your difficult time, will be tremendously helpful and make you feel lighter.
When you move to a new place, everything can seem foreign, including your own home. So, bring along some photos, knickknacks and other mementos from your old home to your new one. Surrounding yourself with familiar things will help you feel comfortable and more at home, as you settle into your new place.
Join a Community Activity
Settling into your new home and neighborhood really helps you psychologically and reduces relocation depression. Do what you can to assimilate yourself into your new neighborhood. Join the neighborhood club or a local group. Take classes on something you’re interested in and try and make friends there. It will keep you busy and help you develop a new social network.
Make New Friends
One of the best ways to get over your loneliness and feeling of losing your old friends is to make new ones. As we discussed in the previous paragraph, socialize and find people you have things in common with. You can either do this by joining local groups and communities or you can also go online and use websites like meetup.com to meet new people with similar interests. (This blog might be helpful)
Get Physical Exercise
Physical exercise is a great stress buster. So, if you start feeling down, go for a run, play, dance, or hit the gym. Do whatever you need to do to let off some steam. It will keep your stress levels down and it is also good for your general health.
Take a Break
Moving is a stressful job and at times you might feel so overwhelmed you just want to get away for a while. If that is the case, do it. Take a break and do something that you like to calm your mind; whether it’s taking a nap, listening to music, playing a game or simply crying over a tub of ice-cream. Just do what you have to do to make yourself feel better. And once you do that, come back to reality and deal with your real world problems.
These tips should help you cope with any relocation depression. But remember, if the depression is persistent, go see psychiatrist or someone who can help you professionally.
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, let us know in the comments below: