A Moving Experience: Dealing with the Relocation Blues

Moving to a new town or city is way up there on the stress scale. After the stress of moving out of one house, traveling, and moving into a new place, most people vacillate between excitement and despair. You know you should be excited and positive about this new life you’re beginning, and there are days when you feel good about it. But you also have plenty of times when you find yourself wondering if this move was such a great idea.

It’s normal to have mixed feelings. Leaving a familiar life behind produces a sense of loss, even if you wanted to move to the new town or city. Think of all the changes you are facing, all at once—you may be sleeping in a different bed, going to a different grocery store, taking your laundry to a different cleaner, finding a new doctor and dentist, maybe getting used to different weather and different accents, finding new friends (not to mention doing a different job). All of these changes are very stressful. And since you and your family members are human, you’re bound to react to it. Don’t be surprised if you or someone in your family comes down with a case of the Relocation Blues. Look for symptoms like these:
• Feeling sad
• Eating too much or too little
• Feeling irritable
• Drinking too much alcohol
• Feeling tired
• Sleeping too much or too little


It is important to remember that the Relocation Blues is a process, not a single event.


Adjusting to life in a new place affects everyone differently. Some families notice more frequent arguments. Others say the experience eventually results in more closeness. It is important to remember that the Relocation Blues is a process, not a single event—it goes on for a year or two until everyone is settled in the new life. The symptoms may hit each family member at a different time, so just when you think you’re going to be okay, another person in the family seems to have a meltdown. What can you do about it? Let’s look at some ways to get through the tough times.

Here are 10 ways that you and your family can make it through your experience of moving with a minimum of emotional pain:
1. Talk about what you are feeling. This is always better than keeping it inside.
2. Parents, give your kids permission to talk about what they are experiencing. Encourage them to tell you both the bad and the good things.
3. Stay in touch with your friends from your former town. Call often and talk to trusted friends about your honest feelings.
4. Write about your feelings in a private journal. Encourage each family member to keep one.
5. Make a list of the benefits of the move to the new town or city. When you are feeling sad, remind yourself of the reasons you moved here.
6. If you have bought a new home and are living in temporary quarters while you wait for settlement, put a picture of your new place on the refrigerator to remind yourself that your life will soon feel normal again.
7. If you are the “trailing spouse,” you may have a hard time with loneliness. It is important to look for ways to be around other people and avoid spending hours alone each day. Join a group of people with similar interests. Volunteer to help at school if you have school-age children. Get a job, if possible. Even if it isn’t exactly the right thing for you on a long-term basis, it will introduce you to new people in your community and it will keep your mind occupied.
8. If you are one whose career brought the family to the new community, expect your fellow family members to ride an emotional roller coaster. It’s normal to feel a mixture of guilt and resentment about this. The best thing you can do is take the time to talk about it.
9. If you are feeling angry, find constructive ways to express it, such as through exercise, physical activity, and writing in your journal.
10. Remind yourself that the Relocation Blues is a temporary condition. This will pass and you will feel like yourself again.


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