In this blog post, we will understand more about relocation depression, symptoms to look out for, whether moving can be traumatic, and how to manage relocation depression.
Relocation depression, true to its name, is the overwhelming sensation and prolonged periods of depressed mood resulting from moving. This feeling stays for a period lasting from months to even years. Such a move is characterized as being away from home, whether locally or across miles.
Relocation depression, also known as transitional trauma or transfer trauma, is an actual phenomenon. These conditions cause depression in some people as a result of relocating.
Relocation depression manifests in several ways and could last for a period, sometimes even for years after moving. Despite being excited about the prospect of moving to a new place, it could be overwhelming.
When you move from your home, you are beginning a new chapter in life. Indeed there are some people who get excited about moving. For some people, however, relocation can be depressing. They are moving forward from much familiarity and memories they have built over a while. For most people, goodbyes are an inevitable part of life, which could make it even more challenging.
There are several symptoms for which to be on the lookout. If some of these are present for two weeks or more, seek professional help. The symptoms may be:
Fatigue and Lack of Energy
You cannot get out of bed, and even if you do, you lack energy throughout the day. Despite being tired, you have difficulty falling asleep at night. The quality of sleep is terrible, with either excessive sleeping or too little sleep.
Back in your old place, you had an established routine and other things to keep you occupied, such as work, friends, family, and hobbies. Although you may have a job, you do not have your loved ones around you with whom to pursue your interests. Therefore, you may lose interest in doing things that were previously loved and enjoyed by you.
Lack of interest in anything at all could be a depressive symptom. Additionally, there may be trouble with concentration. You may space out more than usual, and nothing gets or sustains your attention.
Reluctance to Leave the House
This new place might be your safe place, out of which you would not want to get out. You could be binge-watching television shows or movies or could be mindlessly scrolling through your phone the entire day. Although social media allows one to keep in touch with friends, it is a double-edged sword in that it disallows people to socialize physically.
Can Moving be traumatic?
Yes, moving can be traumatic. People often think trauma could be induced only by such incidents as abuse, violence, and accidents. They opine that relocation cannot feel traumatic. That is not the case. There is a condition known as “transitional trauma,” which results from changes in the environment. It is also known as relocation depression.
Moving from an intensely familiar place, although exciting, could take a toll on your emotional wellbeing. This effect is a result of leaving a close system and memories built over some time. The transition and difficulty adjusting to the new place could be nothing short of traumatic sometimes.
It is not uncommon for people to feel profound sadness after moving to a new place. Many people have challenges getting accommodate into a new surroundings. It is often because of fear of uncertainty or not knowing what lies ahead of them. This fear affects their mental health. In addition to being away from people you love, there may be unpreparedness to meet new people.
How to Manage Relocation Depression
There are a few ways to manage relocation depression. These include:
Organization and Preparedness
Even if you are not generally an organized person, it does not mean you are incapable of planning and preparing yourself. Life in general, apart from procrastination, could get in the way of our organization and planning, which could lead to panic at the last minute.
However, try to plan way ahead in time and attempt to adhere to the plan. Moreover, read up on the places or clubs you could go to, classes you can be a part of, and look at pictures of the new site to get at least a vague idea of what to expect.
Try to recreate familiarity. This creation could be the entire decor, just a corner, or even place a few things from your old place. It could help bring some amount of comfort and safety in your new place, especially when you are feeling down. Picture frames of loved ones from home could also aid in this.
It could be daunting to be in a new place. Therefore, being around familiar things, such as fragrances that remind you of home, photos, decor, and even pillows, could help you feel more settled.
Re-establish Your Routine
A structured routine always helps. Do simple activities, like ringing your family members, every day at the same time. Try to get back into your old routine, such as yoga, taking classes, going for walks, or baking.
Connect with People from Home
Generally, it is the loneliness that affects people the most when they move away. One way that could help battle this is by connecting with people from home regularly. Gently remind yourself from time to time that you have loved ones back home. With technological advancements, it is easier to stay in touch.
Invite people to your new house. Doing this could help you realize your transition and make you feel like you have not lost contact with your home just because you relocated.
Be a Tourist
Go around the new place as a tourist. Doing this could bring a fresh perspective, and you may have fun in the process. It is also an excellent way to get familiarized with the place.
Understandably, you may not be comfortable going through the entire process of friendship (stranger, acquaintance, friends, close friends, and so on). However, try to look at it like dating; you have to go through the whole process to find somebody with whom you want to be.
Taking classes, attending events, volunteering someplace local, or even joining facebook groups can help you get a feel of and in touch with the new place. It will also help you socialize and make new friends, which could help with feelings of loneliness or isolation. It could even alleviate some of the overwhelmingness of the move.
Eat Nutritious Food
The food you eat has a significant impact on how you feel. Certain foods aid in the healing process of depression. It typically includes lots of good carbohydrates such as whole fruits and vegetables, protein-packed foods, and healthy fats. Further, cut back on or avoid alcohol consumption as it is a depressant, which could make matters worse.
In this blog post, we understood more about relocation depression and its symptoms. We also gained insight into how it can be traumatic as well as the management of it.
Keep in mind that most individuals feel sad upon moving, which takes a toll on their psychological health. Moreover, the symptoms and suggestions listed are for a general understanding. It is essential to consult a mental health professional and get timely intervention if deemed necessary.
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
Frequently Asked Questions: Relocation Depression
How long before adjusting after moving to a new place?
Adjustment differs from person to person. Some may settle in immediately after moving in, with no qualms whatsoever. Some others may take much longer to accommodate. Therefore, allow yourself some time to get adjusted to a new place.
When will a new place start to feel like home?
It takes four months for a new place to feel like home, according to the British Buyer Barometer survey by Tepilo. For 1 in 10 people in this study, their house immediately felt like home.
How to deal with going to a new place?
A few things you can do to deal with going to a new place include:
Make new friends, try to participate in social events;
Move with somebody else;
Build and make use of a support system;
Read up about the new city or area;
Establish a structured routine;
Take a positive approach; and
Why do people get emotional while moving?
Moving elicits a myriad of emotions. As our homes are related to our physical and mental well-being, moving from there evokes feelings of melancholy, remorse, irritability, and even rage. Therefore, it is natural and common to feel emotional while moving.
Is there a reason adapting to a new culture is challenging?
Yes, adapting to a new culture is challenging because people tend to withdraw from people if they perceive them as inhospitable. They also tend to believe that the only way they can be at peace again is to move back to their home.
Does moving make people happy?
No, moving does not make people happy. This feeling happens more so when people matter to them more than the physical environment. Research has found that people who describe their society or community to be closely knit are the ones who are happiest.
This finding comes from being able to depend on their social system in times of distress. It indeed does not imply you should not step out of your comfort zone.
How can I turn my new house into a home?
There are several things to do to help make your house feel like home:
Recreate spaces from your old house;
Get your favorite things out;
Cook food at your house instead of ordering in;
Continue with your old routine; and
Get nice fragrances.
What we recommend for depression
If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.