Relocation Depression: How to Adjust After a Big Move

Moving to a new city is exciting. But while it opens up new opportunities, it can also bring feelings of sadness, loneliness, and anxiety for some people. Relocation depression is a common affliction, caused by the absence of friends and family, and fear brought on by unfamiliar surroundings. The stress of moving can exacerbate the condition, especially if you’re relocating in order to start a new job.

Often dismissed as homesickness, relocation depression can be quite debilitating. In worst case scenarios, it prevents people from forming new social networks and creating a rewarding life in their new home. Overcoming the condition takes time, but isn’t difficult for most. Psychologists have found a few simple strategies that will help you adjust to your new environment and work through the distress and isolation that sometimes accompanies a move.

Symptoms of Relocation Depression

Though often used interchangeably, sadness and depression are not the same. Both are painful, but while sadness is temporary, depression can last for weeks or months. Symptoms range in severity, but typically include:

  • Anxiety
  • Aggression
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Oversleeping
  • Headaches
  • Stomach Aches
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Forgetfulness

People suffering from depression often lose interest in hobbies and interests, and have difficulty completing daily tasks. Their personal hygiene may deteriorate as well. Rather than going out, they become withdrawn and isolated inside their homes. In extreme cases, they may even contemplate suicide or other forms of self-harm.

Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts should seek professional support right away. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text 988 for immediate help.

Coping with Relocation Depression

Fortunately, most cases of relocation depression do not require medical intervention. This does not make the condition any less upsetting, just less dangerous. Anyone experiencing a depressive episode ought to consider talking to a trained therapist, who can help them address their feelings and adjust to their new circumstances. In the meantime, there are a few ways to combat negative emotions and return to a healthier mindset on your own.

  • Establish a New Routine. Routines provide a sense of stability and certainty. Keep yourself grounded by picking out a neighborhood gym, local coffee shop, or nearby park where you can go and relax. Drive the same route to work and shop at the same grocery store. Returning to the same places day after day will help you form a connection to your new home.
  • Talk to Your Loved Ones. Call or Facetime with family and friends at least once a week. Checking in with people you care about reduces feelings of loneliness.
  • Become Active in Your Community. Join a club, church, sports league, or volunteer organization. Participating in group activities is the best way to meet new people and make new friends.
  • Become a Tourist. It’s hard to feel comfortable in a place you’re not familiar with, so get out and explore! Visit the major landmarks in your new city. The more you know about it, the less intimidating it will seem.

In addition, exercise, eating healthy, and sleeping 7-8 hours a night have been shown to improve your mood. Remember that there is always an adjustment phase after you move to a new town. Relocation depression is common, but if you're aware of the symptoms and take steps to remedy them, the condition normally resolves within a few months.

Combatting Stress During a Move

Stress makes it harder to transition to a new environment, which is why North American does its best to resolve difficulties at every stage of your relocation. We’re a full service moving company, with the skills, resources, and experience to tackle any problem or concern you might have, from packing to shipping to storage and final delivery. Our agents provide peace of mind from beginning to end - so you can focus on building your new life in your new home. Contact us today for a free quote.