Moving is near the top of the list of life stressors. Because most of us crave stability and routine, a big move can throw your entire life out of balance. The first thing you can do to make the stress ease up is to accept that the first few months in a new place are going to be stressful. Don’t expect to be comfortable and happy right from the start. You’ll go through a wave of emotions these first months: you might feel lonely until you develop new friendships or regret as you wonder if you made the right choice or just plain exhausted as you navigate setting up a new home. Let yourself feel whatever comes up, accepting that it’s part of the process. You’ll find that you move through the difficult feelings much more quickly.
Here are 5 tips on making your move a little easier:
- Focus on self care. The more stressed you are, the more difficult it can be to eat healthy, find time for prayer or meditation, and take time for yourself. But it’s vitally important that you do exactly that. You need to carve out a little time to pamper yourself every day. Nutritious, regular meals need to be at the top of the self care list followed by a set sleep schedule and daily down time. Don’t neglect your basic needs no matter how busy you are unpacking or learning your way around your new community.
- Reach out. It takes awhile to make new friends so this is the perfect time to remember your old ones. Check in on Facebook, send a quick text or email, or make a phone call to an old friend. Do this regularly so that you’re getting your need for social contact filled at least minimally.
- Make new friends. Yes, I know you’re still getting settled but start early to make contact within your community. Join a church or temple, find a volunteer position, join a meetup.com group or get involved in a sports league. Don’t wait until you’re all settled. If one group or organization isn’t a good fit, try another. Even if your attempt doesn’t yield a friend it will keep you occupied. Make it a habit to schedule at least one activity each week that puts you into a social situation. It may take a bit until your efforts pay off but they will.
- Set up routines. Routines give us structure and help us feel settled so consider which ones might work best for you. Maybe you’ll choose morning coffee at your neighborhood coffee house, a walk around a local park each day at the same time or a weekly massage and lunch out on the same day. Shopping in the same grocery store or picking up a weekly loaf of bread at the neighborhood bakery every week help us feel connected and meeting people. This is especially important if going to an office isn’t part of your day. Find one or two routines as quickly as possible–you can always adjust them later as you find better options. The coffee house you settle on in week one may not be the one you eventually make your go to spot but it’s important not to let perfection get in the way of giving your days a little structure.
- Give it time. It’s going to take longer than you’d like to feel at home so be patient. If you don’t expect everything to fall into place immediately, you’ll be a little less likely to be hard on yourself. Acknowledge what’s working and use this time to explore and before you know it, you will feel like a part of the community.